All eyes will be on Shiv Sena’s stand when the elections for presidents in 25 Zilla Parishads across the state will be held on Tuesday. These Zilla Parishads went to polls last month to elect their members, in which the BJP made inroads into hinterland. The Sena’s stand is keenly watched in Jalna, Aurangabad, Buldhana, Jalgaon, Sangli, and Kolhapur.
In Kolhapur, the home district of Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, the BJP and the Congress are tied at 14 in the house of 67, where NCP has 11 members, Sena 10 and others 18. In Jalna, the home district of the BJP state president Raosaheb Danve, the saffron party is the single largest party with 22 seats while Sena’s strength is 14, followed by the NCP (13) and Congress (5).
In Jalgaon, the home turf of senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse and the Medical education minister Girish Mahajan, BJP is the single largest party with 33 and needs just one seat to win the ZP president’s post. In Buldhana, the BJP has won the highest 24 seats, followed by the Congress (14), Sena (9) and the NCP (8).
If Sena decides to join hands with the BJP, they can install their own ZP presidents and vice-presidents in Nashik, Jalgaon, Aurangabad, Jalna, Yavatmal and Buldhana. The Sharad Pawar-led NCP enjoys full majority in Pune and Satara, while Congress enjoys the same in Sindhudurg.
Similarly, the BJP has a majority in in Latur, Wardha and Chandrapur, while Sena has the majority in Ratnagiri. If the Congress and the NCP come together, they can have their ZP presidents and vice-presidents in Ahmednagar, Nanded, Parbhani, Osmanabad, and Amravati.
The Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) has full majority in Raigad. Meanwhile, if the sources in the Sena to be believed, the party may join hands with the Congress and the NCP to unsettle the BJP’s calculations to secure power in at least 11 out of 25 ZPs.
A source said though ‘Matoshree’ (read party president Uddhav Thackeray) had issued a diktat to align with Congress and NCP for Tuesday’s polls, the same has not gone down well with local Sena leaders in at least six ZPs. “Local Sena leaders have refused to toe the party leadership’s directive saying that after having fought a bitter election against the Congress and NCP, it’s unthinkable to join hands with them now,” a Sena leader said.
He said the leaders of the Sena, Congress and NCP are not even on talking terms in Kolhapur, Sangli, Nanded, Nashik, Beed and Osmanabad ZPs. The only possibility of Sena having any understanding with the BJP is in Sindhudurg district, where it needs the BJP’s support to stop its arch rival and local Congress strongman Narayan Rane from securing power in ZP.