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NCP rebels to take on Sharad Pawar

September 27, 2004 15:14 IST

A small group of Nationalist Congress Party rebels are set to challenge party founder and president Sharad Pawar in his home district of Pune by contesting against the official nominees in the October 13 assembly elections in Maharashtra.

The four rebels are Ganpatrao Phulwade (Junnar), Mauli Dabhade (Maval), Pandhari Pathare (Haveli) and Kumar Gosavi (Mulshi).

In Khed-Alandi, four-time sitting MLA Narayan Pawar is contesting as an independent after being denied a ticket by the NCP.

Sugar baron Ramesh Thorat, considered close to Pawar, filed papers as an independent from Daund after he apparently fell foul with the NCP chief.

Both are likely to be backed by the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance in the polls.

Whatever be the outcome of the polls, that they have sought to challenge Pawar, considered by many as the state's strongest political figure, has not gone unnoticed.

The NCP had contested all the 18 assembly constituencies in the district in 1999 and emerged victorious in seven seats. At that time, it had not entered into an alliance with the Congress.

This time, the two parties have a tie-up and the NCP is contesting only 13 seats in the district, including three in Pune where it had failed to make any mark in 1999.

The NCP-Congress alliance is contesting 17 of the 18 seats in the district while it is extending support to independent candidate (and Maharashtra Minister) Harshavardhan Patil in Indapur.

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