It is unclear whether the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will form an alliance as both parties are yet to decide if they will do so for the local body elections starting in November. Currently, the Congress and NCP say they have left the decision to the local units. The parties may go solo at the state level with some exceptions. Their loss will result in the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena gaining.
The NCP on Wednesday said the party has started preparing for the polls.The party has decided to file nominations at all 165 municipal councils that will hold polls in the first phase. “We will withdraw the nominations in locations where both parties decide to form an alliance,” said NCP state president Sunil Tatkare
Around 212 municipal councils and nagar panchayats will contest the polls — covering 33 districts of the state — in four phases between November 27, 2016 and January 8, 2017. Elections for 26 district councils, 296 panchayat samitis and 10 municipal corporations, including Mumbai, are also scheduled to be held in the subsequent months. These have been dubbed as ‘mini-assembly’ polls.
Despite a poor performance in the last general and assembly polls, resulting in them losing the government seats, the allies are yet to come to terms with the idea of an alliance, which will serve as competition to the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena.
Sources said an alliance in the local bodies is not possible for both parties and thus district units have been authorised to make this decision according to their circumstances. “The authorizsation to local units clearly means that the parties are planning to the contest polls alone, except at few places where they are weak,” said sources.
The same formula was applied in the last local body polls. The NCP had also formed a post-poll alliance with the BJP at several places to prevent the Congress from coming to power at several local bodies, the sources pointed out.
The NCP and Congress have a majority in most of the local bodies, such as the municipal council, zilla parishad, panchayat samiti and municipal corporations.
The Congress recently announced that it had permitted its local district units to form alliances with other like-minded parties.