Meena Menon

MUMBAI: Rebellion in Maharashtra is taking on dizzying proportions with last-minute switchovers by ticket aspirants for the October 13 Assembly elections.

The Shiv Sena MLA from Dadar here, Sada Sarvankar, miffed at being ignored by his party, on Thursday crossed over to the Congress, which has rewarded him with ticket to contest in Mahim.

Meanwhile, Congress Minister and Amravati MLA Sunil Deshmukh, who has been denied ticket to accommodate President Pratibha Patil’s son Rajendra Shekhawat in the constituency, has got support from new quarters. The Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF) has decided to back Mr. Deshmukh, who will file papers as Independent on Friday, last day for nominations.

Jayant Patil of the RLDF said Mr. Deshmukh had asked for its backing. Even though the Amravati seat was allotted to the Samajwadi Party (an RLDF constituent), it was decided to support Mr. Deshmukh.

In the Sena camp, Mr. Sarvankar’s exit seemed certain after executive president Uddhav Thackeray announced that Marathi television anchor Aadesh Bandekar would be the party candidate in Mahim.

Mr. Sarvankar’s Dadar seat has become part of the Mahim Assembly constituency after delimitation.

The Congress announced three more candidates. Dhule rural has gone to Rohidas Patil, Yavatmal to Nilesh Parvekar, and Kalamnuri to Rajiv Satav, apart from Mahim to Sarvankar.

Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre was trying to get ticket for his son Rahul in Yavatmal.

Joins MNS

While rebels are filing nominations all over the State, some candidates who have got ticket are also unhappy. Sadashiv Lokhande, BJP candidate from Chembur in Mumbai, has left the party and joined the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. The MNS has accommodated him in Kurla, a reserved seat. The BJP has now fielded Anil Thakur in the place of Mr. Lokhande.

Gawai joins Congress

Staff Reporter writes:

After causing a flutter by quitting the RLDF two days ago, Rajendra Gawai, leader of a faction of the Republican Party of India firmed up an alliance with the Congress.

Speaking to The Hindu on phone, Mr. Gawai attributed his decision to the “pressure from workers,” especially from Mumbai and Nashik.

Denying pressure from the Congress, Mr. Gawai said it was the Congress that had approached him.