Two months after they fought a battle for political supremacy in Maharashtra’s semi-urban areas, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party will again try to beat each other when the 27 zilla parishads and 309 panchayat samitis go to polls on Tuesday.
The other parties in the fray, the Shiv Sena and the BJP, have consistently failed to match up to the Congress and the NCP. Political analysts feel this will not change, leaving the rural field wide open for the Democratic Front partners in the state and rivals in local self-governments.
The ZP polls are significant as they will help both parties understand their strengths and weaknesses three years before they face the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, said analyst Pratap Thorat. “These polls will reflect the mood of the populace as the alliance partners are locked in a fierce battle.”
The Congress, especially CM Prithviraj Chavan, has a lot at stake as Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar led the NCP to victory in December’s municipal council polls. “The NCP has taken an aggressive stand against the Congress. Pawar will be weigh his chances as a candidate for the CM’s post in 2014,” said Thorat.
Last week, Chavan said he didn’t think the NCP fared better than the Congress in December. State NCP president Madhukar Pichad is confident of repeating the success. “People believe in us as we work harder and have an agenda for development.”