The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) led by Raj Thackeray Friday joined hands with Congress and NCP to retain its mayor in the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC).
Ashok Murtadak of the MNS was declared elected as mayor after he polled 75 votes, defeating Shiv Sena candidate Sudhakar Bhika Badgujar, who secured 44 votes, according to returning officer and Collector Vilas Patil.
In 2012, the MNS, with the support of BJP, had captured power in the NMC bagging 40 seats.
The new development comes days after BJP snapped ties with the MNS in the 122-member NMC alleging that the Raj Thackeray-led party did not take them into confidence in some municipal works and declared its support to traditional ally Sena.
Sensing political uncertainty, the MNS chief struck a deal with Congress and NCP members to get Murtadkar elected. NCP and Congress have 20 and 14 members in the NMC respectively, the Shiv Sena has 22 and the BJP 15.
Senior NCP leader and state’s PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal is said to have played a significant role in the patch-up with the MNS. Recently, MNS had waged an agitation to expose the alleged corruption in toll taxes and Raj Thackeray and Bhujbal were engaged in an ugly war of words.
Developments in Nashik are being seen in political circles as an indication that the same could be replicated in the Assembly elections covertly.
In 2009, Congress and NCP had reaped benefits as MNS played a role in dividing votes and harming prospects of the Shiv Sena and BJP.
An MNS general secretary said, “We had to take their support to get our mayor elected. But that does not mean we are justifying the wrongs in the Congress-NCP government.”
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “In local bodies elections, such alliances take place. There is nothing wrong in it.”