The state government had to deploy additional forces for Sangli municipal corporation elections as a candidate died on Sunday morning. Elections in ward number 22 had to be postponed after Congress Shamrao Mukale (54),who was admitted to a hospital on Friday night,died. He was diabetic and suffered from a heart ailment.
Officials said 65 per cent polling took place on Sunday. Elections in ward 22 will be held within 40 days.
In another incident,the Miraj police booked the father of NCP candidate Juber Ibrahim Choudhury for violating the code of conduct and distributing money in the ward. None of the NCP leaders commented on the issue,only saying that the law will take its course.
Elections in Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad municipal corporation saw clashes between workers of the Congress and NCP. Local elections have become a political stake for big state players home minister R R Patil,rural development minister Jayant Patil and forest minister Patangrao Kadam.
All big leaders,including chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar,had campaigned for the corporation polls. Sources indicated that the NCP has an edge but is worried about getting majority on its own. Implying that the Congress will be kept away from the seat of power in Sangli,a senior NCP leader said: If we fall short,we will seek the help of BJP almost on the lines of Pune.
The Congress is also ensuring that the NCP weakens in its home turf. The last two days of campaigning saw leaders,including Kadam and Pawar,hurling personal allegations at each other.
R R Patil said,The Congress started levelling unsubstantiated charges against our senior ministers. How can we keep quiet?
An NCP leader said,The Congress knows it cannot fight politically in Sangli as it is our home turf and is making false allegations. However,MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre said,In election campaigns,parties take the battle politically. What NCP is doing is trying to hit below the belt. The Congress is upset as Pawar alleged that Kadam had amassed wealth through land deals.
Kadam retorted,I have set up a grand educational institute in Pune,which is Pawars home town. Let him show me a single such institute set up by him. He has always hankered for a prime portfolio and that is a telling comment on what his priorities are apart from amassing wealth.
Opposition parties BJP and Shiv Sena have stayed out of the Congress-NCP fight. BJP leaders said,We are glad that Congress and NCP are exposing each others deals. Let the people judge and give their verdict.