February 4, 2021 1:30:31 am
In the months before the 2017 civic elections, a number of corporators from other political parties had flocked to the BJP, which was then ruling the state but was in opposition in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Bolstered by the influx of new leaders, the party won the civic elections in Pune and came to power.
Now, four years after the elections, the tables have turned politically in the state. The BJP remains in power in the PMC but is out of power in the state, which is ruled by the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance. Fearing an exodus of corporators right before the civic elections next year, along the lines of defections to the BJP in 2017, the party’s state unit has decided to take extra efforts to retain its sitting corporators.
The BJP has organised a two-day workshop for its corporators in Thane. “The workshop, on February 4 and 5, has been organised for party corporators at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini as part of its preparations for the civic polls next year,” said city BJP chief Jagdish Mulik.
Senior party leaders including former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, and former state ministers Sudhir Mungantiwar and Ashish Shelar, among others, will address party corporators during the workshop.
Patil had recently said that he was in touch with all BJP corporators in the PMC and was confident that no one will quit the party. “I have been holding discussions with party corporators and also reviewing the development works in the city…,” said Patil, who is also the MLA from Kothrud in Pune.
According to sources, the state BJP chief is likely to hold one-on-one meetings with a few party corporators who, the party fears, are likely to gravitate towards the NCP, Congress or Shiv Sena ahead of 2022 civic elections.
Much to the BJP’s consternation, a few of its corporators in the PMC have already met senior NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is also the guardian minister of Pune.
“There are many corporators from other political parties who had joined the BJP ahead of the 2017 civic polls. However, they are likely to return to their earlier political parties. The BJP will face a tough task in retaining power in the PMC… it doesn’t want to take any chances to lose power in the PMC, which it won for the first time in 2017…,” said a city BJP leader.
The city BJP is trying to strengthen its base by appointing an executive committee for each electoral panel in the PMC. It has so far appointed 4,000 office-bearers on various posts in 39 of the 42 electoral panels.
The party has started reviewing the performances of booth committees and completed its groundwork for establishing a strong network of party workers across the city.
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