Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said those who left the party would lost their political relevance in the coming Assembly elections in Maharashtra.
Several NCP leaders including former ministers have crossed over to the ruling BJP or Shiv Sena ahead of the state elections.
Addressing a rally at Solapur in western Maharashtra, Mr Pawar said, "People of Solapur district are proud people. They put the politicians who surrender self-respect for power in their place. Those who deserted the party will become history."
Asking party workers not to worry about defectors, he said, "Let's encourage new faces and stop talking about those whose political careers have ended."
NCP MLA from Barshi in Solapur district, Dilip Sopal, recently joined the Shiv Sena.
"Power comes and goes. It is because of people's trust that I achieved the record of winning elections for 52 years. I am confident we will get success and make history," the NCP chief said.
The 78-year-old leader recalled that he started his political career in 1965 as a youth leader of Congress in- charge of Solapur.
"It is a district of workers and farmers. It believes in the ideology of Yashwantrao Chavan (the first chief minister of Maharashtra) and the idea of India as envisaged by our freedom fighters. Some politicians from this district, which has pride of place in history, have surrendered their self-respect. Show them their place," he said.
During the Samyukta Maharashtra movement (the movement for separate Maharashtra state), the Congress lost elections elsewhere in 1957 but won in Solapur, Mr Pawar, a former Congressman, pointed out.
"Therefore don't worry about what is happening elsewhere in the state and let's create history in Solapur," he said.
Former ministers such as Ganesh Naik, Madhukar Pichad, Sachin Ahir and Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale were among those who quit the NCP in the last few weeks.
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