Mumbai, Jan 28 (PTI) Former BJP MP Nana Patole today said the Opposition parties should come together to protect democratic values and save the country from “dictatorship”. Also Read - Lockdown News: These States Impose Lockdown-Like Restrictions in March, Only Essential Services Allowed | Full List

Patole, who represents Bhandara-Gondia seat in east Maharashtra, rejoined the Congress early this month after falling out with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year. Also Read - Gujarat Local Body Election Results Updates: BJP Wins All 31 Seats, PM Thanks Voters, State Cong Chief Amit Chavda Quits

“The need of the hour is that the opposition parties should come together to uphold democratic values. Whatever happening in the country today shows that we are on the path to dictatorship,” Patole told PTI. Also Read - Gujarat Local Body Election 2021 Updates: Polling Underway, 7% Voter Turnout Till 9 AM in Taluka Panchayats

Patole said the unprecedented press conference of four senior-most Supreme Court judges earlier this month was a disturbing incident.

He hailed the “Save Constitution” march held by opposition leaders in Mumbai on January 26.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) Sharad Yadav (rebel JD-U leader), D Raja (CPI), Hardik Patel (Gujarat’s Patidar leader), Dinesh Trivedi (Trinamool Congress), Omar Abdullah (National Conference) and Sushilkumar Shinde (Congress) among others had attended the march in south Mumbai.

“The ‘Save Constitution’ march held on Republic Day was significant. People and opposition parties should come together to uphold democratic values,” he told PTI.

Patole was the first BJP MP to openly criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had claimed that the PM got angry with him “for raising problems faced by farmers”, during a meeting of MPs early last year.

“I represented my constituency and have the right to put forward grievances of people to the Prime Minister,” he said.

Patole claimed that many members of the BJP are “upset” over the prevailing situation, but not all can take a “daring step” like him.

Addressing a function in Shirdi, Patole said he was “warned” that he would have to face the same situation like Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) and Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD)–both in jail in money laundering and corruption cases–if he speaks against Modi as a Congress member.

When asked to clarify, Patole only said that what he meant was that “Bahujan” leaders are being selectively targetted. He didn’t elaborate on who “warned” him of consequences.

To a question if any BJP leader contacted him after he quit the party, the MP replied in negative.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.