With the State Election Commission (SEC) announcing the model code of conduct for elections to the Panvel Municipal Corporation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), having won civic polls across the state recently, is readying to face a keen fight from the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), which has a strong support base in the area.
This will be the first election to the Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC), that was formed in October last year.
The fight is for a 78-member civic body that has in its jurisdiction areas such as Panvel old city, those under the CIDCO such as Kharghar, Kamothe, Kalmboli, New Panvel, Taloja, and 29 adjoining villages.
Besides Panvel, the state poll panel also announced the poll dates for the Bhiwandi Nizampur and Malegaon municipal corporations.
BJP leaders said talks between the Sena and BJP for an alliance were underway. “We held the first round of talks with Sena leaders recently.
Of the 78, we discussed about giving 20 seats to the Sena, two to the Republican Party of India (Athawale) and the remaining for us. There has been a positive response from the Sena so far,” said Prashant Thakur, BJP legislator.
Thakur further said the focus is on ‘transparency and speedy governance’ during the polls. “We don’t think the Sena will have any issues with it. Besides, our focus will be on the water and garbage issue, basic amenities with others,” added Thakur.
Adesh Bandekar, Shiv Sena leader in charge of Panvel,
said that the decision on the alliance with BJP would be taken by the Sena president. However, a section of Sena leaders are not keen on the tie-up.
“There is a view in the party that we should contest solo and not with the BJP. It will be in the best interest of the party to expand its base as the BJP is out to finish the Sena. We are conveying the sainiks’ views to the party president to take a call on it,” said a Sena leader.
Sources said the PWP has a committed voter base in the rural parts of the Panvel civic body.
“The present BJP leadership has been ruling in the area for the past 8-10 years. They haven’t resolved any issue yet. The city still faces the problems of water, garbage, traffic with others. It will be on our agenda,” said Vivek Patil, a PWP leader.
Patil further said that it had forged an alliance with the Congress and the NCP for the polls. “We will fight the polls together and will expose the BJP, which is ruling the city,” he added.
However, activists said it would continue to raise the issue of the abrupt transfer of the Panvel civic chief Sudhakar Shinde ahead of the polls.
“The BJP has removed Shinde in view of the municipal elections. We want Shinde reinstated in the city. The BJP is keeping quiet on it. We just want better governance, basic amenities and officers like Shinde,” said Kantilal Kadu of Panvel Municipal Corporation Sangharsh Samiti, which has been protesting and seeking Shinde’s reinstatement since last month.