The Maharashtra unit of the Congress on Thursday suspended 16 rebels, including a minister and a Member of Legislative Assembly, for six years from the party, for contesting against official candidates in the assembly elections.
State Finance Minister Sunil Deshmukh, who is contesting against Rajendra Shekhawat, son of President Pratibha Patil from Amravati, and sitting MLA Rajiv Rajale, who is in fray as a rebel from Shegaon in Ahmednagart district, were among the 16 rebels suspended, party sources said.
Deshmukh had already announced that he had sent his resignation as primary member of the party to state unit chief Manikrao Thakre. All India Congress Committee General Secretary Digvijay Singh claimed that voters would not support regional groups and Independents, and the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party would get a decisive mandate to form the next government.
When asked about a large number of NCP rebels in fray, Singh said rebellion happens whenever there is resentment. To a question on NCP rebels contesting against Congress candidates, Singh said the situation is different in each constituency and it was not possible to generalise it.
He pointed out that some Congress rebels were also contesting against NCP nominees.
NCP leader Govindrao Adik said both parties have prepared a strategy to ensure that not a single rebel wins.