A day after the results of the civic polls at Navi Mumbai and Aurangabad were declared, the Shiv Sena and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) pointed swords at each other. While the combine succeeded in increasing the number of corporators in Navi Mumbai, they retained power in Aurangabad.
In the satellite city of Mumbai on Friday, the leaders from both parties blamed the tensions within the alliance as the reason for the results not being up to the mark. In Aurangabad, the rift is widened over the post of mayor.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which won 52 seats in Navi Mumbai, secured the support of three independent corporators, who originally hailed from the party, to reach the magic figure of 56. The NCP has also urged the Congress, which has 10 corporators, to support them for treading smoothly in the civic body for five years.
On the other hand, the BJP and the Sena pointed fingers at each other. BJP MLA Manda Mhatre claimed the Sena rebels defeated the party’s candidates at many wards. Sena’s local leadership was upset over conceding 43 seats to ally BJP, which had only one sitting corporator, ahead of the elections. This resulted in a major rebellion within Sena.
Moreover, the relatively-weak BJP had to field Sena rebels in around 11 seats, where they did not find suitable candidates. This led discontent between the parties.
Around seven to eight newly-elected Sena corporators are originally Ganesh Naik loyalists and Sena is wary of them shifting loyalties during the election for the post of mayor.
By announcing to file the nomination for the post of mayor, the BJP has posed a challenge before its ally in Aurangabad. The BJP has claimed that with the help of independents and rebels, the tally has crossed Sena’s number of 28 seats. So the party decided to claim the top post in the civic body.
“It has been the understanding of the combine that the top post is assumed by the party with stronger numbers. The final decision will be taken by our top leader, Uddhavji, and BJP state chief Raosaheb Danve and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis,” said Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire.
Sena has won 28 seats, while BJP has 24 corporators in the civic body with the strength of 113 seats.
Parties see red soon after the results
The rift between the two saffron parties widened immediately after the results were announced on Thursday
Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire’s nephew, Sachin, was defeated by BJP rebel Raju Tanwani, while former mayor and Sena leader Kala Ojha was defeated owing to a tussle between the two parties
The BJP also claimed that few corporators from All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) were in touch with them
According to a BJP leader, the pre-poll alliance in both the civic poll elections was out of compulsion and the differences between two had never subsided. “The pre-poll alliances were admitted on the background of Bandra by-polls and emergence of AIMIM in Aurangabad as Sena desperately needed our support,” he said.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, “The decision about the local bodies is taken at the local level as per the prevailing situation.”
65% voting in gram panchayat polls
On Friday, 65% voting was registered in the gram panchayat polls held in the Naxal-affected villages. Voters from 50 villages in Sironcha, Etapalli and Aheri exercised their franchise amid heavy police bandobast. The counting will take place on May 2 only after the elections of the gram panchayats in remaining tehsils are conducted in April 30.
What plagues AAP in Maharashtra
Lack of a credible face to lead the state outfit unlike Delhi, where Arvind Kejriwal leads from the front
Lack of organisational structure
Demoralisation of volunteers after the recent fiascos
Loss of goodwill among the middle class
Leaders like Anjali Damania and Mayank Gandhi, who were in the forefront of various agitations, have stepped back