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Congress set to regain control of Mehsana and Mansa local bodies from BJP

Mehsana is the home district of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat’s deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, while Mansa is the home district of BJP president Amit Shah.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2018 23:04 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Mehsana,Mansa,Congress in Gujarat
Congress president Rahul Gandhi meeting supporters at a roadshow in Mehsana district during Gujarat election campaign.(PTI Photo)

Ahmedabad

Within a month of getting its highest tally in Gujarat assembly polls in more than two decades, the Congress is poised to regain control of Mehsana municipality and Mansa taluka panchayat from the BJP. Both locations are of significant symbolic importance for the BJP.

Mehsana is the home district of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat’s deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, while Mansa is the home district of BJP president Amit Shah.

The Congress had won elections to the municipality and the panchayat in 2015, but lost power after a spate of defections. It has scripted a turnaround by wooing back the defectors in Mehsana, and getting members who deserted it in Mansa legally disqualified.

“Based on a (Gujarat) High Court order, which we received today, 10 Congress members at Mansa who defected to the BJP have been disqualified. In the next general board meeting, the Congress will have eight members, and the BJP six. The Congress will claim the majority,’’ Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said on Thursday.

In Mehsana, Congress lost power a year-and-a-half after winning the civic polls. Amid infighting, 10 of its councillors sided with the BJP to form the governing board.

Raiben Patel, who left the Congress along with nine party councillors, went on to become the municipality president with the support of BJP councillors in mid-2017.

However, the honeymoon did not last. Raiben and the other nine rebel councillors returned to the Congress fold earlier this month. Simultaneously, BJP councillors were removed from all municipality committees, paving the way for a Congress comeback.

“In both the cases, the BJP came to power by divide and rule. But the Congress has made the comeback with prompt action,” said Doshi.

BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya lashed out at the Congress. “This is political drama by the Congress, which indulges in corruption wherever it is in power and tries to destabilise the situation wherever it is not,” said Pandya.

Though Mehsana is the home district of top BJP leaders, the Patidar-dominated belt has been spelling trouble for the ruling party for over two years now.

The seeds of Hardik Patel-led Patidar quota agitation were sown in Mehsana town. The agitation not only made it difficult for BJP leaders to hold public meetings in the town, but even their houses were targeted by mobs demanding quota.

In the December 2017 assembly polls, the Congress won 77 seats and the BJP got 99 in the 182-member House.

First Published: Jan 11, 2018 23:04 IST