After the state government reversed its decision of superseding the elected body of Porbandar Municipality on July 11,the political battleground in the coastal town is abuzz with Congress and BJP indulging in horsetrading to form a new board for the remaining term of two-and-a-half years.
The drama has its genesis in October 2010 municipal elections when the Congress and the BJP secured 21 seats each in the 42-member general board of the local body. For both the parties,horse-trading was the only option to claim power. Congress lured Manjula Lodhari of the BJP by promising her the post of president of the civic body and formed the board.
However,in 2012,four Congress councillors and BJP turncoats joined the rival camps. Subsequently,Lodhari-led administration failed to pass the budget for 2012-13.
BJP coucillors demanded fresh elections,but Congress members opposed it. The matter reached the Gujarat High Court which ruled out fresh elections on the grounds of failure to pass the budget. The slugfest reached a climax in February this year when the government issued an order of superseding the civic body.
However,Congress councillor Lalji Panjari challenged the state governments order in the HC,saying they were not heard before taking the decision. Meanwhile,the government hurriedly declared fresh elections for the municipality in June. But early this month,the HC ordered the government to give the councillors a hearing,prompting the government to withdraw the superseding order. Elections will be held on July 29 to elect the president and the vice-president for the civic body.
The Congress has decided to field Panjari for the top post. Panjari,an eight-term councillor,says he is confident of reaching the magic figure of 22 with the support of a few BJP turncoats.
But BJP has adopted a different approach. We are in touch with four Congress councillors who had switched sides, says Vijay Thanki,president of BJPs Porbandar unit.
Lodhari,who was likely to be appointed the working president till Monday,has returned to BJP fold now.