The Congress and the Shiv Sena have decided to strike up an alliance to take over the Municipal Corporation in Malegaon. It is the first time that the two parties have joined hands in Malegaon. Under the arrangement worked out between the parties, the Congress will get the post of the mayor while the Shiv Sena will get the deputy mayor’s chair.
On Thursday, both parties filed nominations together, fielding former MLA Shaikh Rasheed as the Congress candidate for the mayor’s post and Sena’s Sakharam Ghodke filed papers for the post of the deputy mayor. Elections for the post of the mayor in the 84-member civic body is slated to be held on June 14.
The Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had 20 seats and its ally, the Janata Dal, had six seats. The Shiv Sena won 13 seats, BJP bagged 9 seats, The The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) had 7 seats and an Independent won 1 seat.
“Yes, we have decided to join hands with the Congress. With the present political alignment in Malegaon, this was the only way out. Our political leadership has felt that it is the right way forward,” Minister of State for Cooperation and senior Shiv Sena leader from Malegaon, Dada Bhuse said.
With the alliance, the two parties will be in a position to install their representatives in the corporation. In 2007, the Shiv Sena had come close to joining hands with the Indian Muslim Congress Party (IMCP), a front floated by cleric Mufti Ismail to gain power in the corporation.
The alliance had, however, fallen through after the Congress decided to extend support to the IMCP. Asked if the alliance would throw open a possibility of the Congress and the Sena joining hands in other parts of the state, Bhuse said the decision rested with the party chiefs and would be based on local considerations.
Malegaon Municipal Corporation has recently drawn attention after the BJP launched a major outreach drive aimed at the minority community. In Malegaon, 280 kms north of Mumbai where Muslims constitute 79 per cent of the population, the BJP had contested 55 seats putting up a total of 27 Muslim candidates.
None of the Muslim candidates from the BJP, however, managed to win.The highest votes that a BJP’s Muslim candidate could draw was 884.