After contesting successfully in the recently held elections for six Maharashtra Legislative Council seats, the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress has shifted its focus on forthcoming civic body polls in the state.
Last week, the NCP and Congress won two seats each. While the NCP won the graduates’ constituency seats in Aurangabad and Pune divisions, the Congress stamped its authority in BJP’s stronghold Nagpur by winning the graduates’ constituency in the division. The Congress also won the teachers’ constituency seat in Pune division.
The results were seen as a rude jolt for the BJP, which had increased its base in the state in the last few years, after losing its two bastions of Pune and Nagpur in the recent polls.
“The Legislative Council election has put a break on the growing political strength of the BJP in the state. This has raised the hopes of the Congress along with the NCP and Shiv Sena for the forthcoming civic polls,” said Pune Congress spokesperson Ramesh Iyer.
Soon after the results were announced, senior NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had said that he would discuss the continuation of the pre-poll alliance formula with the leaders of Sena and Congress for all forthcoming elections in the state.
The BJP in alliance with the Sena had come to power in the state in 2014. Riding on its winning streak around the time, it managed to strengthen its presence in various civic bodies across the state.
In Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the BJP won around 100 of the 162 seats in 2017 and threw the NCP out of power. The party also snatched the power from the NCP in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).
Several local bodies in the state are slated to go to polls in a year’s time.
The NCP, however, sees it as an opportunity to regain its hold in PMC and PCMC. “The deputy chief minister has already directed NCP leaders to start preparations for the civic elections,” said an NCP leader.
The Congress has been losing its ground in the local bodies across state in the last 10 years. “The Congress wants to regain its hold in PMC. There is an increasing demand of contesting the civic polls independently, but many also prefer to continue with the pre-poll alliance formula with the Sena and the NCP to improve party’s strength in civic bodies,” said a Congress leader.
For the Shiv Sena, the BMC is very crucial which it wants to retain at all cost. “The BJP has been aiming to disturb the Shiv Sena in BMC since last elections. The Sena can manage to stop the BJP with the support of Congress and NCP,” said a Sena leader.
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