Congress, NCP rebels flock to BJP ahead of Maharashtra assembly polls

Mumbai: Congress and NCP rebels, including sitting MLAs and ministers who joined the BJP ahead of next month's Assembly elections in Maharashtra, figure in the list of the party candidates in more than a dozen constituencies.

Many rebels from Congress are joining BJP ahead of Maharashtra Assembly polls. Reuters

Many rebels from Congress are joining BJP ahead of Maharashtra Assembly polls. Reuters

These rebels are likely to queer the pitch for the official nominees of both the parties as most of them are contesting from their pocket boroughs.

Similarly, kin of Congressmen are also pitted by BJP against prominent Congress candidates including caretaker Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in Karad South constituency.

The battle in Karad, hometown of Chavan, has become an interesting one with the BJP fielding Congress rebel Atul Bhosale even as the sitting Congress MLA Vilas Undalkar Patil has raised a banner of revolt against the party for refusing his renomination from the seat. Bhosale is the son-in-law of Congress MLC Dilip Deshmukh.

Among the rebels is Minister of State Sanjay Sawkare of NCP who joined BJP a few days back and will contest on BJP ticket to seek re-election from Bhusawal seat.

Former cabinet minister and state NCP president Babanrao Pachpute, who was dropped from the ministry to induct Sawkare, has also joined BJP and is in the fray from Srigonda constituency.

Sitting Congress MLA from Sinnar in Nashik district, Manikrao Kokate is now BJP candidate. Similarly NCP legislator Kisan Kathore has switched sides and is contesting as BJP nominee from Murbad.

Amal Mahadik, son of Congress MLC Mahadev Mahadik, is crossing swords as a BJP nominee with the minister of state for Home, Satej Patil in Kolhapur South.

Former medical education minister Vijay Kumar Gavit, expelled from the NCP after his daughter Heena contested on BJP ticket in Lok Sabha elections, is the party candidate from his pocket borough Nandurbar.

Independent MLA Anil Gote, one of the accused in the Telgi fake stamp paper scam, is in the poll arena from Dhule city. He is supporting the Sena-BJP.

Former Congressman Sunil Deshmukh, who had rebelled against Congress in 2009 for being denied ticket from his home turf Amravati, is now BJP nominee against Congress' Rajendra Shekhawat, son of former President Pratibha Patil.

A single-phase polling will be held to elect the 288-member House on 15 October and counting of votes on 19 October.

Madhav Kinhalkar, who was with the NCP and had filed a case of paid news against former chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan in 2009, has switched his loyalty to BJP and is the party nominee from Bhokar in Nanded district.

NCP rebel Ajit Ghorpade will take on the party heavyweight and home minister RR Patil from Tasgaon-Kavthemahankal seat and former MLA Prithviraj Deshmukh will contest against Congress veteran Patangrao Kadam in Palus Kadegaon seat.

Shivajirao Naik, a three-time independent MLA who was earlier with Congress, has secured BJP ticket from his constituency of Shirala whereas Laxman Jagtap, independent MLA from Chinchwad in Pune who was previously supporting NCP, is now the BJP nominee.

Sameer Meghe, son of former Congress MP Datta Meghe, who was till recently the president of Youth Congress in Nagpur, is now the BJP candidate from Hingna.

Former NCP MLC Manda Mhatre is contesting against the party heavyweight Ganesh Naik in Belapur in Navi Mumbai.

Sitting Congress MLA from Panvel in Raigad district, Prashant Thakur, who was a member of Rahul Gandhi youth brigade, is now contesting on BJP ticket.

Bharti Lavhekar, formerly with NCP, is the BJP candidate from Versova in Mumbai.

Congress leader and cultural affairs minister Sanjay Deotale has filed his nomination as a BJP candidate from Warora seat in Chandrapur district in Vidarbha region. He had contested the Lok Sabha elections on Congress ticket but was denied the assembly nomination after the debacle.

Similarly, Rajan Teli, a close aide of Congress leader Narayan Rane, is contesting on BJP ticket from Sawantwadi seat in Konkan region. He shifted his camp to BJP recently after a brief stint in NCP.

Even Shiv Sena, the erstwhile partner of BJP, is suffering from defections.

Prominent among the rebels from the party are former Mumbai Mayor Shubha Raul who has joined the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and is contesting from the suburban Dahisar.

Similarly, Deputy leader of Shiv Sena, Anant Tare will contest against official nominee Eknath Shinde in Thane.

Minister of state for urban development and NCP's sitting MLA from Ratnagiri, Uday Samant who joined BJP yesterday is the party's candidate from that constituency.

PTI


Updated Date: Sep 28, 2014 11:14 AM

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