Congress hopeful of rebels withdrawing from poll fray in Maharashtra

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Mumbai, Sep 29 (ANI): With only a day left for withdrawal of nomination papers for the 13 October assembly elections in Maharashtra, the state-ruling Congress party hoped that rebels would withdraw from the poll fray.

An alliance of Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Republican Party of India (RPI) is taking on the opposition coalition of the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the State.

Three rebels from Congress and about two to three from the NCP were reportedly in the race. sitting legislator of Congress party from Amravati constituency and a minister Sunil Deshmukh, who is fighting against Rajendra Shekhawat, son of President Pratibha Patil, are being persuaded to withdraw.

"I hope that all such people (rebel candidates) will withdraw their nominations and will support the Congress party. They have confidence in the Congress and I hope being party activists they will withdraw their nominations," said Manik Rao Thakre, chief of Congress unit of Maharashtra state told reporters.

Thakre also expressed confidence that their coalition will form the next government on its own.The alliance of the Congress, the NCP and the RPI will easily form a government on its own. Post-parliamentary election atmosphere is in our favour. I hope we would not need anybody else's support," Thakre added.

The Congress and the NCP, which make the Democratic Front, have been ruling the state for the past 10 years. While they had last week arrived at an understanding to continue their alliance, the formal announcement came late.

In the 2004 assembly polls, the Congress contested 157 of the 288 seats and the NCP fought for 127 seats, leaving the rest to allies. The Congress won 69 seats while the NCP got 71.

In the April-May Lok Sabha elections, the Congress contested 25 of the 48 seats in the state and won 17, while the NCP won only eight of the 21 seats it contested. (ANI)

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