MUMBAI: A day after disgruntled BJP MP Nana Patole met senior party leader and a critic of the central government, Yashwant Sinha, at the Nagpur airport, Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan today said he would welcome him into the party.
He also claimed that the leaders in the saffron party did not have a platform to air their views.
Patole, who represents the Bhandara-Gondia seat in eastern Maharashtra in Parliament, had criticised the Centre over its policies and reportedly said Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not like to be questioned. The MP had subsequently denied the remarks attributed to him.
He had also slammed the Maharashtra government over its handling of issues pertaining to the farmers and for the "tardy" implementation of the farm loan waiver scheme.
Sinha had recently opened a front against the central government and criticised it over the handling of the economy and other issues.
The former Union finance minister had attended an event, organised by a farmers' NGO, at Akola in the Vidarbha region yesterday.
"Nana Patole is my colleague. Both of us are MPs and we keep meeting each other in Parliament. We have regular interactions. But, the atmosphere in the BJP is such that the people in that party do not have a platform left to air their views," Chavan told reporters here.
Referring to Sinha, he said there was a lot of dissent within the BJP.
Replying to a query on Patole, the former Maharashtra chief minister said, "We will welcome him if he wishes to join the Congress." When contacted, Patole evaded a direct response to Chavan's comments.
"Those who do good work are always welcomed everywhere, but not those who do not have performance to back them. If Ashok Chavan welcomes the stand I have taken for the welfare of the people, I thank him," he told reporters.
The BJP leader said farmers' suicides were on the rise in Maharashtra, despite the state government rolling out the loan waiver scheme.
"The government is insensitive towards the problems of the farmers," he added.