The NCP on Tuesday suspended the two rebel candidates from Chinchwad – Laxman Jagtap and Vilas Nandgude. Both were contesting as independent candidates against Congress nominee Bhausaheb Bhoir. They are among the 23 rebel NCP candidates suspended from 19 constituencies in the state. On Monday,Congress had suspended nine rebel candidates in the state.
However,the name of sitting MLA Vilas Lande who had taken on NCPs own official candidate Mangala Kadam,did not figure in the list of those suspended.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Sanjay Dutt said the decision of suspending the candidates was taken after the joint meeting of senior leaders Digvijay Singh and Govindrao Adhik. With just five days remaining for the campaigning,stern action had to be taken against the rebels who were not convinced of campaigning against the official candidates. All rebels have been suspended from both the parties and this is the joint decision of the alliance, he said.
Bhoir welcomed the move. The suspension of NCP rebels is a big win for the Pimpri Chinchwad Congress Committee. It boosts the morale of the party workers who have been facing hostile treatment from their own alliance partner. The alliance should work together, said Bhoir.
Even as Laxman Jagtap was in a rally and was unavailable for comment,Nandgude said the party may suspend a member but then it also took him back if he wins the elections. I have a huge support in this area, he said,adding that people vote for the candidate and not just the party.
Both Jagtap and Nandgude were campaigning as independent candidates even after NCP leader Ajit Pawar had conducted a meeting with the rebel candidates from the area.
NCP spokesperson Ankush Kakde said all the rebel candidates in the area have been suspended and that it was a joint decision of the alliance. “This is a welcome decision and has increased the prospects of the Congress in the Chinchwad assembly seat,” said Pimpri Chinchwad Congress Committee spokesperson Babu Nair.
On Friday,Ajit Pawar had met Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi in an effort to ease the strained relationship between their respective followers in the region ahead of the elections.