Cong, NCP talk tough to rebels
Alliance partners Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have told their rebel partymen to withdraw their nominations by Tuesday or face expulsion.mumbai Updated: Sep 29, 2009 00:57 IST
Alliance partners Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have told their rebel partymen to withdraw their nominations by Tuesday or face expulsion.
Senior Congress and NCP leaders met on Monday to devise a plan to tame rebels posing a danger to the alliance’s winning prospects.
“We’ve asked rebels to mend their ways or face expulsion,” Congress campaign chief and Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.
Party sources said disgruntled partymen were being offered memberships of Legislative Council or posts having ministerial status like the chairmanship of a government undertaking.
Prominent Congress rebels include Dr Sunil Deshmukh — against President’s son and Congressman Rajendra Shekhawat in Amravati — and Pushpasen Sawant against partyman Narayan Rane in Kudal.
State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre said efforts were on to convince Deshmukh. “Several senior leaders are in touch with him.” Deshmukh is being promised a seat in the Legislative Council.
Deshmukh, however, said he was firm on his decision to contest. “I have already started campaigning and I’m getting a huge response.”
Most of NCP’s influential rebels have revolted against Congress’ official candidates. The Congress fears the NCP will induct them as associate members if they win and use them to prove a majority while forming the government. Thakre said the Congress would not associate itself with any such winner.
NCP rebels who could damage Congress prospects include Digvijay Khanvilkar [in Kolhapur against Congress’ Satej Patil], Rajendra Bharane [in Indapur against Congress’ Harshvardhan Patil] and Bashir Patel [in Mumbadevi against Congress’ Amin Patel].