The Congress-NCP led alliance is locked in a tough battle against the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena combine in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation, which is facing the anti-incumbency factor as well as allegations of misrule and corruption ahead of the civic polls in Maharashtra.
Two top city based leaders -- the local MP and general secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), Vilas Muttemwar and BJP National President Nitin Gadkari -- are virtually in a straight fight for the race.
Both sides have made it a prestige issue. Some political observers have even described the NMC elections purely as a Muttemwar Vs Gadkari contest on February 16.
The Congress-NCP-Republican Party of India-People's Republican Party combine have promised to achieve the dream of Muttemwar to develop the second capital on the lines of Singapore in their election manifesto, released by State chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
While the BJP took the opportunity to ridicule the Congress government during the release of their manifesto.
"It could not do much in making Mumbai as Shanghai, the Chinese commercial capital and have no right of talking of making Nagpur like Singapore," state BJP president Sudhir Mungantiwar said.
The Congress-NCP manifesto promises to improve transport facilities including proper services of JNNURM-funded Star buses, running of local buses on CNG to get rid of air pollution problems, introduction of underground Metro Rail to decongest the traffic on roads and plying of air-conditioned buses in the city.
It also promises to provide clean drinking water and effective implementation of garbage removal mechanism besides construction of about 3,000 public toilets.