Diluting the sangh parivar’s strong stand on ‘minorityism’, BJP president Nitin Gadkari has succeeded in getting the two Muslim League corporators’ membership in the BJP-led front in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation.
However, despite their meetings with senior leaders, the front failed to rope in the BSP, which has 12 corporators in the 145-member house.
The new game plan of the front has not only ensured it remains in power in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) with 77 (including the BJP, RPI, Muslim League and independents; the Shiv Sena, with six corporators, supports the front) of the 145 seats in its kitty, the engineering will help Gadkari, who has announced his candidature from Nagpur in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014.
As part of the post-poll alliance, Ishrat Ansari and Aslam Khan of the Muslim League joined the Nagpur Vikas Aghadi (as the front is called), and for the first time in local body elections in Nagpur a Muslim woman - Jaitun Bi - won on the BJP ticket.
“I think it was only because of Gadkari’s good image among Muslim voters that helped the BJP in the civic elections this time,” BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis told Hindustan Times.
“The Muslim League corporators had extended their support to the BJP-led front in the last civic body also,” Fadnavis said. The Muslim vote can be a deciding factor in two assembly constituencies in the city - Nagpur-central and Nagpur-west. The BJP won both in the 2009 assembly elections.
NVA leader Anil Sole, a BJP member, said the Shiv Sena would support the front.
Shekhar Sawarbandhe, the city chief of the Sena, said his party would extend support the BJP-led front and also share power in the civic body. “We maintained our separate identity in the last civic body also,” he added. On Wednesday, Sole met divisional commissioner Gopal Reddy and registered the NVA with him.