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Fearing Sena-Like Exodus, Congress Undecided About Action Against Cross-Voters In Maharashtra

The Congress high command is in two minds about taking disciplinary action against its seven erring Maharashtra MLAs for defying a party whip in the recently held Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council polls, fearing an exodus like the one witnessed by the Shiv Sena over the past fortnight. Due to the cross-voting by several MLAs, including seven of the Congress, it became possible for the BJP to bag an extra seat in both elections despite its numerical minority. The hurt was aggravated when a dozen Congress MLAs, including former chief minister Ashok Chavan, failed to turn up for voting when the saffron government led by Sena rebel Eknath Shinde was facing a floor test in the lower house. The issue was raised by another former chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan, demanding stern disciplinary action against the defaulters. Subsequently, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole and a defeated party candidate, Chandrakant Handore, rushed to Delhi to appraise Rahul Gandhi. This was followed up by a meeting with Sonia Gandhi. However, they failed to get any specific direction from Delhi.  Already, there is discontent in the party because of its support for renaming Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar. Hence, Sonia and Rahul are said to be proceeding cautiously. It is expected that they will wait till July 11 when the Supreme Court hears petitions regarding the developments in Maharashtra.