The Congress believes that the Shiv Sena is no threat to them in the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) elections, which are to be held on October 31. Their main competition is now the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.
On Monday, revenue minister Narayan Rane announced Congress’s first list of 37 candidates for the 107-member body. He claimed that the Sena, which was the ruling party in the KDMC, would finish third in the elections this year.
Justifying his claim, Rane said the Sena was losing its base in Mumbai and the Thane district where KDMC is located. “Development will be our agenda. We will have a joint manifesto,” he said.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP also released a list of its 52 candidates on Monday. The Congress will partner with the NCP in the polls.
While the Congress has 55 seats, the NCP has 52. However, the discord between the two parties continues to grow. Rane blamed the NCP for ruining the alliance prospects during the mayoral elections three years ago. According to the revenue minister, the Congress-NCP’s mayor could have come to power in the KDMC had not the NCP corporators defected to the Sena-BJP.
Responding to the allegation, NCP spokesperson Prakash Binsale said: “We are not responsible for the past. We should make efforts to win the elections now.”
A senior NCP leader said the infighting within the Congress was taking its toll and party members had now resorted to making wild allegations. “They don’t have good candidates to put forward in the KDMC polls.”
In the last polls, there were around 11 seats where the Congress and the NCP candidates had a face-off, which resulted in splitting of votes.
NCP leaders admitted that there were discrepancies because the alliance was forged at a local level. An NCP senior party functionary said, “We won nine of these 11 seats. Even this time, the Congress doesn’t have good candidates, but they want more seats. History may repeat itself.’’
He said the Congress had started poaching their candidates for certain seats.
Binsale said: “We don’t want to look at the past. Right now, we are in a position to win the polls.’’