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Dissent brews in Maharashtra Congress over tickets

Many senior leaders have expressed resentment over allocation of tickets to ‘outsiders’.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 28, 2019 00:19 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
lok sabha elections,lok sabha,maharashtra
Discontentment is brewing in the Congress in Maharashtra over distribution of tickets for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.(ANI)

Discontentment is brewing in the Congress in Maharashtra over distribution of tickets for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Many senior leaders are upset and have openly expressed their resentment over allocation of tickets to “outsiders” who joined the Congress after being denied nomination by other parties, a functionary said speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Some leaders, including leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil’s son Sujay Vikhe-Patil and former Union minister AR Antulay’s son Naved, have quit the Congress in the past few weeks and joined other parties.

Similarly, former Maharashtra chief minister Vasantdada Patil’s grandson and ex-Union minister Pratik Patil has also resigned from the Congress but is yet to join any party.

He had strongly opposed sharing the Sangli seat with the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, founded by farmer leader Raju Shetti. While Sujay Vikhe-Patil joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) refused to leave the Ahmednagar seat for Congress, Naved took the Shiv Sena membership Wednesday.

Also, former Union minister VN Gadgil’s son Anant Gadgil is upset over what he called “arbitrary style of functioning” of the state leadership and being sidelined in the party. Although he was a national spokesperson, Anant is hardly seen speaking to the media in Maharashtra.

The internal strife escalated after the party nominated Navinchandra Bandivadekar, who was allegedly associated with the right-wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha, from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha constituency.

Bandivadekar had allegedly participated in rallies last year protesting the arrest of Vaibhav Raut, a member of the Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti. Raut was arrested in August last year for allegedly assembling explosives at his residence in Nalasopara in north Mumbai.

While the move has angered a section in the state unit, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the party had conducted a thorough probe into the matter but found all the allegations unsubstantiated. “There is no evidence against him. He has never participated in any such programme or shared the stage with Sanatan Sanstha functionaries. Perhaps there was some misunderstanding which has now been sorted out,”he said.

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 00:19 IST