Discontent continues to brew in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) despite warnings issued by the party’s top brass.
Sanjay Khodke, party’s general secretary in Maharashtra, was expelled Saturday for “defying the party’s diktat and working against party’s official candidate Navneet Ravi Rana in Amravati.”
The same day, NCP’s former legislator Bhimrao Londe and leader Sahebrao Darekar, both of whom hail from Beed, switched over to the BJP.
BJP leader and sitting Beed MP Gopinath Munde is involved in a three-cornered fight with NCP’s Suresh Dhas, currently minister of state for revenue in the Maharashtra government, and actor Nandu Madhav, who is the Aam Aadmi Party candidate.
Earlier, the party was forced to strip Dr Vijay Kumar Gavit of his ministerial posts and act against him after his daughter Heena was named as the BJP’s candidate from Nandurbar. Dr Gavit has since been campaigning for her daughter.
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State NCP president Bhaskar Jadhav said Khodke was being expelled for violating party discipline and indulging in anti-party activities despite repeated warnings. However, despite the expulsion, Khodke, his wife Sulabha, who is a former MLA , and their supporters have plans to campaign against the NCP candidate.
While Khodke said he would decide his next course of action following a meeting of supporters on March 31, sources said he had plans to announce support to Bahujan Samaj Party’s candidate Gunvant Deopare.
The expulsion order accuses Khodke of “indulging in comments and behaviour that the demeaning the dignity of women”. This comes in the backdrop of speculation that “certain elements within the NCP” were behind circulation of a series of morphed photos of the actress-turned-NCP candidate on social media platforms.
Khodke, however, denied the accusation. “They are now raising allegations for the sake of it. I have not indulged in any such activity,” he said.
Khodke, his wife and supporters have refused to campaign for Navneet Ravi Rana after her nomination was declared.
In a bid to get the couple to toe the line, the party had earlier stripped two of their aides from posts held in the Amravati Municipal Corporation and the local party unit.