Ratnagiri (Maharashtra), April 14: Rebel NCP district workers led by legislator Deepak Kesarkar Monday decided to vote for the Shiv Sena and defeat Congress candidate Nilesh Rane from the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha constituency in Konkan region.
Kesarkar made the announcement in Sawantwadi at a meeting of over 1,500 party workers, a day after he quit as the Nationalist Congress Party legislator and was served a show-cause notice by the party.
“Vote for the Shiv Sena and give a shock to (Nilesh) Rane. Let us defeat Rane and destroy their terror tactics,” Kesarkar thundered to loud applause.
“Nilesh Rane will have to pay for this with his defeat. Nobody has given them the right to indulge in goondaism, assault and insult of political activists,” he said, crowning off his three-week rebellion which NCP chief Sharad Pawar and others failed to curb.
Kesarkar claimed that he was offered a ministerial berth but he rejected it. “I don’t want power or ministerial berth at the expense of my party workers.”
Addressing a rally in the same district Monday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray welcomed Kesarkar’s statement of support.
On Sunday, in act of unprecedented indiscipline, a majority of the rebel activists boycotted NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s election rally in Sindhudurg for Rane, elder son of his former rival and Congress Industry Minister Narayan Rane.
The rebels accorded a lukewarm welcome to Pawar when he arrived here to address a party meeting and a public rally.
An irked Pawar reportedly gave an earful to Kesarkar following which he resigned as legislator.
The NCP leadership then sacked district party chief Bala Bhise and replaced him with a senior leader, Victor Dantes, and served a showcause notice to Kesarkar.
Since the start of the current election season, barring minor skirmishes, the Congress and NCP have been unitedly campaigning for their respective candidates all over the state and elsewhere.