Congress leader Nana Patole was elected the Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly after the Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew its candidate Kisan Kathore.

The election to the post of Speaker comes a day after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray won the trust vote conducted by Pro tem Speaker Dilip Walse Patil. Thackeray was back by Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders. After 105 BJP legislators walked out of the 288-member Assembly in protest, 169 MLAs voted for Thackeray.

“I am happy that the son of a farmer has occupied this post,” Thackeray said after Patole was elected, PTI reported.

BJP Maharashtra unit chief Chandrakant Patil earlier on Sunday told ANI, “BJP had nominated Kisan Kathore for the post of Maharashtra Assembly Speaker, yesterday. But, after incumbents’ request, we have decided to withdraw Kathore’s candidature.”

NCP leader Chagan Bhujbal said, “Earlier, Opposition also filled form for the post of Assembly Speaker, but after request by other MLAs and to keep dignity of Assembly intact, they have taken back the name. Now, election of Speaker to happen unopposed,” ANI reported.

Patole is an Other Backward Caste, four-time legislator from Sakoli, Vidarbha. He was with the Congress before rebelling and switching over to the BJP for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, reported NDTV. However, he returned to the Congress in 2018, citing differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

His nomination to Speaker is seen as an attempt to reach out to farmer communities in Maharashtra, according to NDTV.