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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Congress has ‘secret plan’ with Sena to defeat BJP in BMC; will go solo in PMC, PCMC elections

A Congress leader said that the party will support the Sena candidate in places where its candidate is weak and seek the Sena's support in places where it has an upperhand.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: May 13, 2022 3:44:13 am
A Congress leader said that the party will support the Sena candidate in places where its candidate is weak and seek the Sena's support in places where it has an upperhand. (Representational image)

The Maharashtra Congress has said that it has come up with a “strategy” in tandem with the Shiv Sena to ensure the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections. The remark assumes significance as the Congress had earlier repeatedly claimed that it would be contesting elections on its own and not in alliance with either the Shiv Sena or the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

However, the Congress has made it clear that it will go it alone in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) elections.

“We are confident the BJP would lose the BMC elections…it would not get more than 30 corporators in BMC elections,” State Congress chief spokesperson Atul Londhe told The Indian Express after a press conference in Pimpri on Wednesday.

Asked if Congress will fight the BMC polls against the Sena, Londhe said, “That’s not true. Congress has its own pockets in Mumbai but we want the defeat of the BJP. We have devised a strategy to ensure the defeat of the BJP but would not like to reveal what the plan is.”

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A Congress leader said the party will support the Sena candidate in wards where Congress candidate is weak and will seek Sena support for its candidate where the latter’s candidate is weak.

The Shiv Sena has been ruling the BMC for several years now. In the 2017 elections, the BJP had come close to upsetting the Sena. The Congress is the third player on BMC turf but is way behind the BJP and the Shiv Sena in terms of number of corporators.

When asked whether the Congress will tie up with the Shiv Sena in the BMC polls, Londhe said, “The party’s view is that we should contest local self government bodies’ polls separately and not in alliance. It gives our grassroot leaders an opportunity to contest elections and strengthens our base. Therefore, there is little chance of an alliance. But our party leaders in Mumbai will decide what is best suited for the party and our alliance partner in the state, the Shiv Sena.”

At the same time, Londhe said the Congress will go all alone in the PMC and PCMC elections. “As per our earlier policy, we will be fighting the elections on our own….We have enough candidates to contest the elections. The party has been on an expansion spree in these two cities where it ruled for years,” he said.

To a question as to why the Congress seemed to be in the background when the Shiv Sena was taking the BJP head on, Londhe said, “It is not true. All the three alliance partners are united and together and we are taking on the BJP and its tactics of putting pressure on the (state) government through the central agencies. The Congress has backed Shiv Sena and the NCP whose leaders have been targetted by the BJP through agencies like the Enforcement Directorate.”

Criticising the BJP rule in Pimpri-Chinchwad, Londhe, at a press conference, said, “In the last five years, PCMC has only seen corruption and loot of public money. BJP corporators and MLAs have looted public money in the name of carrying out development. BJP’s corruption is best highlighted by the fact that its own standing committee chairman was arrested for taking bribe….There is corruption even in the Smart City works.”

Londhe said a delegation of the Congress will meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and seek an investigation into the “corruption” during BJP rule in PCMC. Londhe also slammed the BJP for its failure to keep the promise of supplying regular drinking water to residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad. “It failed to get additional water during its tenure. As a result, residents in Pimpri-Chinchwad continued to get alternate-day supply of water. Hundreds of residents struggled to get their daily quota of water,” he said.

Pimpri-Chinchwad Congress president Kailas Kadam, Youth chief Narendra Bansode and All India Congress Committee secretary Prithviraj Sathe were among those present at the conference.

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