The NCP today expelled Sanjay Khodke, husband of former party MLA Sulabha Khodke, for "indulging in anti-party activities and lowering women's dignity".
State NCP president Bhaskar Jadhav, in the expulsion order issued here, said Khodke was being sacked for violating the party discipline.
Jadhav also made a veiled reference to alleged anti-Navneet Kaur Rana campaign by stating that, "despite a backward class woman (Navneet Rana) being fielded by NCP from Amravati constituency, you indulged in comments and behaviour which demeaned the dignity of women." The remarks assume significance in the backdrop of speculation that "some elements within NCP" were behind the flood of morphed photos of the actress-turned NCP candidate, which were unleashed on social media platforms.
The Amravati constituency is witnessing an election campaign marred by mudslinging where Navneet Rana is at the centre of this unseemly slugfest. The former actress, who migrated here after marriage and is now an NCP candidate, recently accused her Shiv Sena rival and sitting MP Anand Adsul of using foul language and uncharitable remarks on her character in a TV show.
Adsul is a Mumbai-based Shiv Sena candidate who is using Vidarbha as his electoral workstation. The Amravati seat is reserved for SC category. The political drama unfolded with NCP deciding to field Navneet Kaur Rana, a model and starlet in Southern cinema. From the moment her nomination was announced, a popular cyber social media forum was flooded with her images, first from the low-grade films she had acted in and then apparently the morphed ones.
Social activist Jayant Wanjari, believed to be the supporter of Adsul, had moved court to challenge Navneet's caste credentials and sought action against Navneet and her father for obtaining a caste certificate on the basis of allegedly bogus documents.
Navneet retaliated by filing a complaint of molestation against Adsul with the local Gadge Nagpur police station. Navneet's husband Ravi Rana is an Independent MLA from Badnera in the district and is steering her campaign. Navneet is also finding no support from an influential section of NCP led by former MLA Sulabha Khodke and her husband Sanjay. The Khodkes are annoyed with Navneet's nomination as Rana had defeated Sulabha in the 2009 assembly elections from Badnera. The Khodkes have kept away from her campaign.
However, top NCP leaders, including deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, state president Bhaskar Jadhav and several NCP ministers have campaigned for Navneet.
Last week, NCP removed two aides of Sulabha Khodke and her husband and NCP secretary Sanjay Khodke from posts which they held in the Amravati Municipal Corporation and the local party unit. The move was seen as a clear warning to the Khodke couple to fall in line with the party's decision to give its Lok Sabha election ticket to Navneet.