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The Shiv Sena has fielded candidates against the BJP for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). The Sena has only 10 corporators in the PMC. Its decision to field Sangeeta Thosar for the mayor’s post and Vishal Dhanawade for the deputy mayor’s post has taken everyone by surprise, as the BJP is supporting the Sena in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The party didn’t field candidates for the mayor and deputy mayor’s posts in the BMC.
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On the other hand, the BJP, to appease its alliance partner, has supported Navnath Kamble of RPI(A) for the post of deputy mayor. It has fielded Mukta Tilak for the post of mayor. The nominations for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor were filed on Wednesday; the further process of scrutiny, withdrawal and voting will take place on March 15.
The BJP had won 97 of the 162 seats in the PMC, coming to power with a majority and ending the 10-year reign of the NCP. The NCP had won 39 seats, Shiv Sena won 10 seats, and the Congress was restricted to nine seats. The MNS could win only two seats, the AIMIM opened its account with one seat, while four independents were also elected. The victory of a BJP candidate in the mayoral election is certain, given the number of corporators the party has in the civic body.
The NCP and the Congress have fielded NCP corporator Nanda Lonkar for the post of mayor and Congress corporator Lata Rajguru for the deputy mayor’s post. When asked about Sena fielding its own candidates, Guardian Minister Girish Bapat said, “There is still time for the actual election for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor of the PMC. We hope things will change by then”. On whether the BJP would follow the practice of NCP, of dividing the mayor’s tenure among two leaders to ensure there is no unrest among the party’s elected representatives, Bapat said, “The party would take a decision… whenever it is required.”