With the Maharashtra Assembly
polls less than a year away, the ruling BJP is making every
effort to continue its winning spree in the local bodies and
aims to pocket the Dhule and Ahmednagar municipal
corporations, where elections will be held on December 9.
The result of Ahmednagar civic body would be crucial
for the Congress and play a decisive role in the political
future its leaders, including Leader of Opposition in the
Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, former minister Balasaheb
Thorat and state Youth Congress chief Satyajit Tambe.
There are total 27 municipal corporations in
Maharashtra. Out of the 25 civic bodies, where elections were
held in the last two years, the BJP has emerged as the single
largest party in over a dozen of them. A few months ago, it
swept the Sangli and Jalgaon municipal corporations amidst the
Maratha quota stir.
BJP spokesperson Keshav Updhayay said his party would
win Dhule and Ahmednagar civic bodies based on the performance
of the four years of the state government.
Talking to PTI, Dhule district Congress president
Shyam Saner said his party had joined hands with the NCP,
which rules the civic body.
"Congress and NCP are better placed to win since Shiv
Sena, BJP and local MLA Anil Gote are contesting the polls
independently," he said alleging massive use of money power
from the BJP, a charge denied by the ruling party.
Gote, who is the BJP MLA, has fielded candidates from
his local outfit Loksangram. He has accused the BJP of
including in its fold persons of criminal background.
In the 70 member Dhule civic body, 34 corporators are
Shiv Sena, while the rest are from local outfits and
independents. But the number of seats has now been increased
In Ahmednagar, 18 of the 68 member civic body belong
to the NCP, 11 Congress, nine BJP, 17 Shiv Sena, four MNS and
Both these prominent cities of North Maharashtra have
a combined voter population of nearly eight lakh. While Dhule
has 4.46 lakh voters, there are 3.46 lakh voters in
Political observers say that in Dhule, the BJP has
poached on 12 sitting NCP corporators and that has brought the
party to agree for seat-sharing talks with the Congress.
There was no dispute in the seat adjustments, because
local leaders of both the parties agreed to cooperate, the
"Senior Congress leader Rohidas Patil is aspiring for
a Lok Sabha ticket from Dhule. His son Kunal is a sitting
Congress legislator from Dhule rural, while NCP leader
Rajvardhan Kadambande is aspiring for assembly ticket from
"Since all have agreed to co-operate with each other
in the assembly and Lok Sabha polls, the two parties hope to
give the BJP a tough fight," a Congress leader said on the
condition of anonymity.
The Shiv Sena is fighting independently and there are
two groups within the BJP, observers pointed out.
"A section of the BJP resent the rise of state Water
Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, who is the party's
in-charge of North Maharashtra. Local BJP MLA Anil Gote has
fielded his own candidates for the civic polls," observers
In Ahmednagar, the BJP is likely to benefit from the
weak organisational structure of the Congress, observers said,
adding that Congress leaders Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil,
Balasaheb Thorat and Satyajit Tambe, hail from the district
and the results of the civic polls will determine their
A party leader from the district said these three
leaders hail from North Ahmednagar, which falls in the Shirdi
Lok Sabha constituency. While the Ahmednagar city is in
Ahmednagar South Lok Sabha constituency.
"Due to the encroachment of these leaders from the
seen the growth of leadership.
"In 2014, Satyajit Tambe was put up as a candidate
from Ahmednagar city assembly seat, where he lost miserably.
The seat was won by Sangram Jagtap of the NCP. Now, since the
seat is likely to go to the NCP for 2019 assembly polls, Tambe
is not inclined to lead Ahmednagar and is now eyeing Nashik
Lok Sabha seat," the party leader said.
Vikhe Patil's son Sujay is keen to contest Ahmednagar
Lok Sabha constituency, which is in the NCP quota.
"Sujay is on record to state that he will contest the
Lok Sabha polls from Ahmednagar on any party ticket or as an
independent," observers said.
But NCP chief Sharad Pawar is unlikely to give the
seat to Vikhe-Patil.
According to the political observers, it would be
interesting to see how the political drama unfolds in the days
party can retain its tally of 11 seats in the civic body.
Congress sources say the party leaders performance in
the district is being watched by AICC general secretary
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)