Nagpur: Denied tickets for Assembly polls, Cultural Affairs Minister Sanjay Deotale in the erstwhile Congress-led Maharashtra government, sitting Nagpur-South MLA Dinanath Padole of the Congress and Shiv Sena district chief Shekhar Sawarbandhe are leading the pack of rebels in Vidarbha region.
The recent breaking of ties between the Shiv Sena and BJP on one hand, and ruling partners Congress and NCP on the other, threw open vast opportunities for poll aspirants, who jumped into the fray even as parties rushed to finalise candidates in the eleventh hour.
A four-term MLA from Warora (Chandrapur), Deotale who is the nephew of late Dadasaheb Deotale, was denied ticket by the party over non-performance, and was replaced by his sister-in -law Asawari Deotale.
However, the dejected Deotale wasted no time and joined the BJP to earn a nomination. But this did not go down well with BJP ticket aspirant and RSS activist Anil Bujone, who thus lost out on an opportunity to contest.
Padole, a two-time Congress MLA from Nagpur-South is the second partyman who was snubbed. He was immediately grabbed by NCP which was frantically looking for suitable candidates from the seat. He is now pitted against five-time MLA and former Minister Satish Chatruvedi.
Sena's Sawarbandhe, who unsuccessfully contested from Nagpur-East on the party ticket in 2004, was denied a chance from Nagpur-South, which was alloted to the Sena in the previous alliance.
He claimed a ticket from the party even after the break-up. Kiran Pandav, who is the son of former Congress MLC Krishnarao Pandav, has been fielded instead.
However, an annoyed Sawarbandhe has gone ahead and filed papers from the Nagpur-South seat. If he stays in the ring, he may face action from the Sena, after the last date of withdrawal. Sitting Congress MLA Namdeo Usendi, who unsuccessfully fought Lok Sabha polls in April from Gadchiroli is the third prominent Congressman dumped by the party. He is now contesting as an independent from Gadchiroli (ST) constituency.
BJP also dumped its sitting MLA Khushal Bhopche from Tirora (Gondia) constituency and also three-time MLA Madhukar Kukde (Tumsar), who is now contesting as an NCP candidate.
In Nagpur city, prominent Sindhi community BJP leader Panju Totwani was picked by the Sena at the last minute, after it could not find a suitable candidate for Nagpur-South-West seat where sitting MLA and State BJP President Devendra Phadanvis is in the fray.