The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which has a strong hold over Nashik, is facing a tough challenge because of the resentment among the voters over its non-performance despite being in the power in the municipal corporation for almost three years. Besides the anti-incumbency, the party’s decision to join hands with the National Congress Party (NCP) to retain power in the civic body may not go down well with the voters.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray had vowed to transform Nashik into one of the most ideal cities in the state during the 2009 Assembly elections. The party had promised a blueprint of development in the city, transformation of Goda park and the area near river Godavari as well as ample opportunities of employment for the youth. Five years on, the party has not delivered on any of these promises.
The party has three incumbent MLAs from Nashik, second only to Mumbai. “The party is likely to lose all three seats it has been representing for the past five years. Besides the resentment among the voters, the infighting in the local leadership too will ensure the party pays a huge price in this election,” said Jitendra Bhave, district coordinator of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
He said the party lost its credibility to a great extent by joining hands with NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, who the MNS was targeting in the mayoral election last month.
Amit Bhagwat, a young voter from Nashik city, said, “Set aside the promises, the MNS has taken the city from bad to worse as the corruption level in the corporation has risen in the past few years. People are so upset that the MNS candidate in the Lok Sabha election was relegated to fourth position. Weeks later, the party lost both its incumbent seats in the corporation by-polls,” he added.
The party, however, feels they have tried to give their best. “The development of Goda park is the only project in the country being funded by a leading corporate group without spending taxpayers’ money. It is true it’s being delayed, but we will complete it. The Congress- NCP government tried to corner us on every front, hampering our performance. It has kept the municipal commissioner’s post vacant for more than seven months,” said Atul Chandak, party general secretary.