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BJP trumps others in ZP president polls across Maharashtra

The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in 10 ZPs, bagged 10 presidential posts despite having a clear majority in just four district councils...

mumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2017 00:12 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
BJP,Shiv Sena,COngress
The results for 25 ZPs that went to the polls on February 16 and 21 were announced on February 23. (Representation pic )

Tuesday’s presidential and vice presidential polls for the 25 district councils or zilla parishads (ZPs) saw unprecedented collaborations among political parties. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) struck a deal with its arch rival, the Congress, its saffron ally Shiv Sena collaborated with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to keep BJP at bay wherever possible.

The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in 10 ZPs, bagged 10 presidential posts despite having a clear majority in just four councils. The party managed to get its presidents in Beed, Kolhapur and Solapur despite the Congress and the NCP having the upper hand. The NCP emerged as the most flexible party, as it joined hands with three different paries to secure nine vice presidential posts.The results for 25 ZPs that went to the polls on February 16 and 21 were announced on February 23.

Oneupmanship

A classic example of infighting, resulting in loss, was seen in Beed. The group of winning NCP candidates, led by party leader Suresh Dhas, indirectly supported BJP to prevent Dhananjay Munde, leader of Opposition in the legislative council, from taking credit for the party’s victory.

Five NCP members abstained from voting, thus paving way for the BJP to elect its president despite having just six members in the 60-member body. The party was supported by the Congress and the Shiv Sena, which was falling short by 12 members to prove its majority. The NCP, which has 25 members, had sought Sena’s support. However, local Sena leaders refused to join hands with Dhananjay Munde.

In Jalna, the Sena-BJP combine had a clear majority with 36 seats in the 56-member body. But senior leaders kept fighting over the president’s post for their kin. Owing to the differences between BJP leaders Raosaheb Danve, water supply minister Babanrao Lonikar and a minister of state (Shiv Sena), the Sena teamed with the NCP. In Gadchiroli too, the NCP, which has just five members in the 51-member body preferred BJP to keep the Congress (15 seats) out of power. In Osmanabad, the BJP members abstained from voting to make way for an NCP president.

Though the Congress and the NCP had announced collaboration to bag maximum number of presidential and vice presidential seats in at least in 12 councils, the trust deficit between the two parties worked in favour of the BJP. The NCP is single largest party in six ZPs, while Congress has highest numbers in five bodies.

Congress state chief Ashok Chavan told HT, “It is true that had both the parties came together. We could have had our presidents and vice presidents in another 3 to 4 councils. But there is bitterness among local leaders of both the parties and we need to sort it out before collaborating in the future.”

Similarly, in Aurangabad and Nashik, the Sena joined hands with the Congress to keep the BJP at bay. In the 62-member body in Aurangbad, the BJP had the highest number (23 seats ), followed by Sena (19 seats) and Congress (16 seats). In Nashik too, the Sena was 12 seats short to the majority mark. But here too it preferred the Congress (8 seats) and the CPI-M (3 seats) over BJP(15 seats).

Despite forging unconventional partnerships, leaders from the Sena-BJP and Congress-NCP combine claimed that Tuesday’s associations will not affect their relations at the state level as district-level elections require different strategy.

Also read: BJP sweeps Nagpur, Akola and Amravati civic bodies

First Published: Mar 22, 2017 00:12 IST