The Congress finds itself in a familiar situation once again in the municipal elections with the chaos and infighting at its peak in Nagpur.
Now, 21 official candidates for the local body elections have lodged a joint complaint with party chief Sonia Gandhi, the PCC president, Prabha Rau and AICC in-charge Margaret Alva against the former PCC chief Ranjit Deshmukh for fielding rebel candidates for almost all the seats in West Nagpur area of the city.
Deshmukh was the Congress candidate from the West Nagpur in last Assembly polls in which he suffered a humiliating defeat.
The official Congress nominees alleged that Deshmukh had fielded rebel candidates to ensure the defeat of party candidates.
Deshmukh, who tried his level best to obtain maximum tickets for his loyalists in the poll, later formed a front of Congress rebels and fielded candidates against official party nominees from different wards in west Nagpur, they added.
Citing such cases, in the letter Indutai Pund of Borgaon, Rekha Kamble of Gorewada, Jyoti Pawar from Sadar, Purnatai Bhovte of Seminary Hills, Meena Barde of Jaffar Nagar ward and 16 others-- the official party candidates-- have pointed out that former PCC chief's act was against the party discipline and insisted immediate expulsion of Ranjit Deshmukh from the Congress for his alleged anti-party activities.
"The party will suffer a lot from his move, therefore he must be expelled from the party," they added.
These Congress candidates also claimed that they had worked hard for Deshmukh in 2004 Assembly elections when he contested as an official nominee of the party from west Nagpur and had lost. "Now he is working against us who had helped him during the period," they rued.
Meanwhile, Deshmukh candidly admitted that he has full sympathy with the rebel candidates, as they were the genuine party workers.
"I am not happy with the ticket distribution. The party had given tickets to those who worked against me in the last Assembly elections. How can I accept those candidates who had ensured my defeat in the Assembly elections?" he asked.
"Though I am not campaigning for anyone, my sympathy is with those rebels," Deshmukh made it clear.
Earlier, the party was in the news for distributing AB forms to more than one candidate in several wards that resulted rebel candidates in many wards in the elections. The party that failed to make a poll adjustment with the NCP, its principal ally and the RPI factions in the municipal elections in Nagpur will now face party rebels in almost all the wards in the elections.