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'It takes a Congressman to beat a Congressman'

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At 10pm on October 9, there was a sizeable crowd at a junction in Kolhapur City.

They were all there to listen to Vinay Kore (inset), leader of the recently founded Jan Surajya Shakti and chairman of the Warna Group of Co-operatives, who is expected to play an important role in government formation.

In 1999 Kore, grandson of Tatyasaheb Kore, a legend in the co-operative sector, contested the assembly election from Panhala in Kolhapur district and won.

He was then an independent and the NCP did not put up a candidate against him.

This time he is aiming higher. He has put up 19 candidates in western Maharashtra and Marathwada. And some of those candidates also happen to be rebels from the NCP or the Congress.

After addressing the rally, Kore told rediff.com: "The Sena-BJP has little chance in western Maharashtra. At the most they will get 12-14 seats. The [NCP-Congress] rebels should get around 20-22."

According to him there is no such thing as party politics in the region. "The politics here is group politics. Earlier, only the Congress used to form the government in the state. So its leaders used to rebel, win elections and rejoin the party. After the NCP was formed, the rebel problem got over because they got an authorised platform. Now the NCP and Congress have come together again and that is why this problem has cropped up."

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