After numerous rounds of talks and exchanging of lists,the Congress and the NCP finally sacked six and 24 rebels respectively,but ended up leaving most of the prominent rebels untouched. There were 40 rebels from both sides in the fray,threatening to spoil the prospects of official nominees.
The action was taken after we took up the issue with the high command and our leaders spoke to NCP chief Sharad Pawar, a Congress leader said. There was an impression that the NCP was not taking action against its rebels,who were more in number, he added.
The NCP camp was apprehensive about the lack of action by the Congress and both sides waited for the other to take action first. The mutual suspicion continued for a week after September 29,the last day of withdrawals.
Besides,leaders from both sides were justifying the inaction on the ground that they would require the support of the rebels after the polls in event of a fragmented mandate and that an immediate action would drive the rebels to the Opposition camp.
However,sources said that senior Congress leaders mounted pressure on the NCP to take action against the rebels and accordingly,the NCP expelled 24 rebels for six years for anti-party activities. The Congress,in turn,expelled six rebels. The prominent rebels expelled were Devidas Pingale and Dilip Sopal (both NCP).
The Congress did not take action against Sunil Deshmukh,who is contesting against Presidents son Rajendra Shekhawat in Amravati,on ground that he had quit the party.