Maha polls: Cong, NCP rebels flock BJP
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.
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 October 15 and counting of votes on October 19.