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Red-faced NCP promises action after Ahmednagar corporators vote BJP Mayor

The Shiv Sena was left out in the cold after its party corporators boycotted the mayoral election at last moment despite cornering the largest number of seats in the municipal elections.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2018 15:20 IST
Ahmednagar,BJP,Shiv Sena
In Ahmednagar, BJP has teamsed up with NCP, keeping Shiv Sena out for Mayor’s post.(Hindustan Times)

Eighteen municipal corporators of the Nationalist Congress Party who supported a BJP candidate for the mayor’s post in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar went against the party line and would face action, a senior leader of Sharad Pawar’s NCP said after the rival BJP cornered the top two seats in the municipal election.

The Shiv Sena had emerged as the single-largest party bagging 24 out of 68 seats, followed by the NCP and BJP which won 18 and 14 seats respectively. All three parties had put up its candidates for the mayor’s post.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena was left out in the cold after its corporators boycotted the mayoral election at the last moment. The BJP candidate for the mayor’s post, Babasaheb Wakale, got 37 votes, two more than the magic figure of 35.

The BJP with the help of NCP also managed to get its candidate Malan Dhone elected for deputy mayor’s post.

With Ahmednagar, BJP has managed to control most of the civic bodies in north Maharashtra including Nashik, Dhule and Jalgaon.

Ahmednagar went to polls with Dhule, where BJP managed to get 50 out of 74 seats during the elections held on December 9.

The NCP state unit served show cause notice to its corporators asking them to explain why they supported BJP against the party line. The NCP has positioned itself as part of the Congress-led opposition alliance at the centre and the state.

NCP spokesperson Ankush Kakade said the party’s corporators appeared to have decided to support the BJP at a local level. “The party has now served them notice,” Ankush Kakade said.

NCP leader Nawab Malik, according to news agency ANI, said if the corporators fail to explain their decision, the party was open to expelling them too.

BJP leader and state cabinet minister Girish Mahajan said party had approached Shiv Sena first for the mayoral elections but the latter did not show any interest.

“Our desire was to ally with Shiv Sena. However they (ShivSena leaders) did not respond... therefore we had to take support from NCP,” said Mahajan, a stand that is seen to contain the political fallout of its victory on BJP-Sena ties.

The Shiv Sena, the BJP’s fractious ally, has already been extremely critical of centre and state government and its leaders routinely hurl barbs at the BJP leadership. Like the ones that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray threw during his public rally at Pandharpur. He had also said that his party is not interested in an alliance with the BJP and is more “concerned” about building Ram temple at Ayodhya.

The Sena-BJP alliance had fallen apart ahead of the 2014 state elections after the BJP refused to accept the Sena as the senior partner. The two parties fought separately and the BJP fielded candidates in 260 out of 288 assembly seats; the Sena contested 282 seats. The former won 122 and the latter 63.

The two parties came together after the election to form the government in Maharashtra, but the relationship has remained strained.

In the subsequent local body elections, the parties contested separately and the BJP dominated the local polls, winning 15 out of the 27 big city corporations in the state. The Sena retained control of Mumbai, but managed to win just two more seats than the BJP in the city.

Ahead of the general election next year, the Sena has hinted that it expects at least half the Lok Sabha and assembly seats in the state if the partnership between the two is to continue.

The BJP contested 24 Lok Sabha seats and the Sena 20 in the previous Lok Sabha elections. Four seats went to other allies, the Swabhimani Paksha of Raju Shetty, the Republican Party of India of Ram Das Athawale and the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha of Mahadev Jankar. The state has 48 Lok Sabha seats

First Published: Dec 28, 2018 12:29 IST