THE last leg of municipal polls in Vidarbha turned out to be good news for the pro-Vidarbha activists with Vidarbha Maza Party winning the Katol municipal council as well as municipal chief’s post, a first for any pro-Vidarbha political outfit. The elections saw BJP emerging as overall leading party with 7 out of 11 municipal chiefs elected being from the party and 5 municipal councils being won by it.
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Vidarbha Maza was launched a few months ago by Rajkumar Tirpude, son of former deputy chief minister late Nasikrao Tirpude. It was led by local strongman Charansingh Thakur in Katol municipal council, giving a setback to BJP MLA, Ashish Deshmukh, also a strong Vidarbha statehood leader.
The BJP, however, managed to win 5 municipal councils — Umred, Ramtek, Saoner and Khapa in Nagpur district and Gondia in Gondia district. Apart from these five places the party also won municipal council president’s post in Kalmeshwar and Tiroda where the majority in the council was won by Congress-NCP combine and NCP respectively.
The Congress emerged the single biggest party in Kamptee in Nagpur district, also winning the municipal council chief’s post there. It also won the Mohpa municipal council with a clear majority along with the municipal council chief’s post.
Katol in Nagpur district sprang a surprise where the Vidarbha Maza Party won both majority in the municipal council and municipal council president’s post. The party won a massive 18 seats out of total 23. The BJP could win only 1. The only other party to salvage prestige was Peasants and Workers’ Party, which won 4 seats. Charansingh Thakur’s wife Vaishali Thakur of Vidarbha Maza was elected the municipal council chief, giving the pro-Vidarbha movement a big boost.
Narkhed also in Nagpur district, saw emergence of NCP as the single largest party winning 8 out of 17 seats. The local outfit, Nagar Vikas Aghadi won 5 seats as well as municipal council chief’s post. The BJP drew a blank in Narkhed.
Though emerging as the overall victor, the BJP got a drubbing in two prominent councils, Kamptee and Katol, which have party MLAs. Kamptee drubbing was particularly significant as it is represented by State Power Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule. The party could win eight out of 32 seats. The Congress won 16 seats.
The BJP, however, managed to get Saoner despite the presence of Congress strongman and MLA Sunil Kedar. The Shiv Sena lost its stronghold of Ramtek to BJP.
In Gondia district the BJP emerged as the single largest party while in Tiroda NCP emerged as the single largest party. Both the municipal chief’s post were, however, won by the BJP. Talking to The Indian Express, Rajkumar Tirpude said, “Our victory in Katol is clearly a mandate in favour of Vidarbha statehood.”
Overall, the BJP cornered 104 (from 2011 tally of 58), Shiv Sena 14 (26), Congress 55 (73) and NCP 24 (35) seats in the last phase in Vidarbha. The party won 7 municipal chief’s post compared to Congress’ two. While others won two, Shiv Sena and NCP couldn’t win a single post.