Despite lacking the numbers, the BJP, supported by NCP corporators, won the election for Mayor in the Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation in Maharashtra, leaving the ally Shiv Sena licking its wounds.
Despite lacking the numbers, the BJP, supported by NCP corporators, won the election for Mayor in the Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation in Maharashtra, leaving the ally Shiv Sena licking its wounds. The Shiv Sena had won the highest number of seats in the recent civic election but did not have a majority. Amid high drama, the BJP, the Sena’s senior alliance partner in the state, managed to install its candidate Babasaheb Wakale as Mayor. All the newly-elected 18 corporators of the NCP voted for the BJP by defying the party diktat. The BJP has only 14 members in the 68-member civic body against Shiv Sena’s 24. But the BJP candidate polled 37 votes in the mayoral election.
Apart from NCP corporators, four members of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and an independent corporator too voted for Wakale. Left red-faced, the NCP issued a show-cause notice to its corporators. State NCP chief Jayant Patil claimed that clear instructions had been given to the corporators not to vote for either the BJP or the Sena. “We are considering taking disciplinary action against them,” Patil said. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the party had contested the December 10 election to the civic body in alliance with like-minded parties.
“The party corporators had been warned against voting in favour of either BJP or Sena in the election for mayor,” Malik said. High drama was witnessed during the polling when controversial independent corporator Shripad Chhindam rose to raise his hand in support of the Sena candidate. It enraged Sena corporators who pushed and shoved him inside the house. Chhindam later aired a purported taped conversation between him and a senior Sena corporator who he claimed had sought Chhindam’s support for the election for mayor’s post.
Chhindam, a BJP corporator in the earlier house, was sacked from the saffron party after he made a controversial remark about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Friday’s development could be embarrassing for the NCP as the Sharad Pawar-led party is in talks with the Congress and other like-minded parties for an anti-BJP alliance for the the Lok Sabha polls. A BJP minister said while requesting anonymity that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had called Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray offering an alliance in the Ahmednagar corporation. “However, NCP legislator Sangram Jagtap and BJP legislator Shivaji Kardile are accused in the murder of Sanjay Kotkar, Sena’s former city vice-president, and party worker Vasant Thube. Therefore Thackeray rejected our proposal,” the BJP leader said. Commenting on the development, Sena leader Anil Rathod said, “People had voted for the Sena. However, to protect the murderers of our party-men, the NCP and BJP came together.”