Prez son, Congress rebel file papers amidst show of strength

Amravati: Cheered by their supporters, President Pratibha Patil's son Rajendra Shekhawat and Maharashtra Minister Sunil Deshmukh, who has been denied a Congress ticket, today filed their nominations here for the October 13 Assembly polls.

Shekhawat, making a debut in electoral politics, is contesting as Congress candidate after the party denied ticket to sitting Amravati MLA Deshmukh, prompting him to fight as an Independent candidate.

This cotton city in western Vidarbha witnessed the spectacle of huge crowds turning up for the candidates and taking different routes to reach tehsil office where the two filed papers before Assistant Returning Officer G C Bawane.

Shekhawat's procession started from city Congress office near Rajkamal Square, while that of Deshmukh from his campaign office at Iriwin Square.

Braving scorching heat, a large number of supporters of the two nominees turned up in a show of strength in run-up to the polling day.

Deshmukh, being backed by Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF), was accompanied by the workers of the newly launched alliance, and City Mayor Ashok Dongre of Congress.

As many as 20 of the 21 Congress Corporators of the Amravati Municipal Corporation have extended support to Deshmukh.

Tickets to kin of senior leaders nothing uncommon: Cong

Congress today said some party nominations to the kith and kin of senior leaders for the October 13 Maharashtra assembly polls was nothing uncommon.

"It is everywhere. Right from US to Bangladesh, there are many such instances," party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad said.

He was responding to a question whether it was a good trend to give tickets to kith and kin of senior party leaders.

Ahmad also said "just one to two per cent of the entire list has such nominations".

He, however, refused to comment on the party fielding President Pratibha Patil's son Rajendra Shekhawat from Amravati, ignoring sitting MLA and former minister Sunil Deshmukh.

"...Congress takes care that the interests of genuine party workers are not ignored," he said, adding "If any such a situation emerges anywhere where somebody failed to get a ticket due to some reason, the party compensates such workers suitably by giving him or her other responsibilities for the party."

Pointing out at similar cases in other parties, he referred to Jaswant Singh, now expelled from BJP, slain BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD leader Lalu Prasad.

Bureau Report