Independent MPs meet Sonia
Mumbai: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) suffered a setback when chief minister Ashok Chavan took rebel NCP MP Sadashivrao Mandalik from Kolhapur to 10 Janpath to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Mandalik was accompanied by MPCC president Manikrao Thakare and MRCC president Kripashankar Singh. According to party sources, Mandlik has extended support to the Congress-led UPA government. During the election campaign, Mandalik had launched a scathing attack on NCP chief Sharad Pawar for denying him a ticket even though he was a sitting MP.
Chavan also took another independent MP, Baliram Jadhav, from Palghar to meet Sonia Gandhi. After the meeting, Jadhav also expressed support to the UPA government. He was backed by Hitendra Thakur, an independent MLA from Vasai.
The MPCC is eager to get support from independent MPs for UPA as it would help the party in the upcoming assembly elections in keeping the rebels on its side.
Another independent MP, Raju Shetty, who heads a farmers’ organisation in western Maharashtra, is yet to extend support as he has been agitating against the state government policies and sugar barons.
Chavan led a delegation of newly-elected MPs from Maharashtra to meet Sonia on Tuesday. They expressed their gratitude to her for campaigning for them during the poll. All of them called on party general secretary Rahul Gandhi at AICC headquarters to discuss the political situation in the state and what helped the party during the elections.
RPI leader Ramdas Athavale, who was defeated in the reserved Shirdi constituency in Ahmednagar, will visit Sonia on Thursday. He will be accompanied by MPCC office bearer Kanhaiyalal Gidwani who helped in forming the pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the RPI. The Congress is not keen to disturb the dalit support base in view of the assembly elections scheduled in September 2009.