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PTI Mumbai
Updated: 07-12-2018 18:38 IST

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

from the NCP, 10 from Congress, three from BJP and 11 from

Shiv Sena, while the rest are from local outfits and

independents. But the number of seats has now been increased

to 74.

In Ahmednagar, 18 of the 68 member civic body belong

to the NCP, 11 Congress, nine BJP, 17 Shiv Sena, four MNS and

nine independents.

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

observers said.

"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

Dhule city.

"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

political future.

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

North, the Ahmednagar south Lok Sabha constituency has never

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

to come. The local Congress leaders in Ahmednagar doubt if the

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

Mallikarjun Kharge.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)