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Sena leaders refuse to toe party line in polls for Zilla Parishad

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
By Prashant Hamine

In a bid to thwart Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to secure power in 11 of the 25 Zilla Parishads that went to polls in February this year, the estranged ruling ally Shiv Sena is tacitly joining hands with the opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). However, sources in the Sena disclosed that the diktat issued from Matoshree to align with the Congress, NCP post-Zilla Parishad elections has not gone down well with Sena leaders in at least six of the Zilla Parishads. Today elections are to be held to elect the chairman to the 25 Zilla Parishads.

Out of the 25 Zilla Parishads that went to polls in February this year, there is a hung civic house in 11 of the Zilla Parishads. The 11 Zilla Parishads that have returned a hung house include – Sangli, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Nashik, Jalgaon, Buldhana, Yavatmal, Aurangabad, Jalna, Hingoli and Beed. Out of the 1,509 seats in the 25 Zilla Parishads, the BJP has won 406 seats, NCP 360 seats, Congress 309 and Sena 271 seats.

Sources in the Sena disclosed that the local Sena leaders have refused to accept the party leadership directives arguing that after having fought the elections bitterly against the Congress and NCP, it is unthinkable to now join hands with them. Sources disclosed that the ties between Sena, Congress and NCP local leaderships in Kolhapur, Sangli, Nanded, Nashik, Beed and Osmanabad are frosty and most of the leaders are not even on talking terms with each other. The only possibility of the Sena having any understanding with the BJP is in Sindhudurg district where it needs the BJP support to stop its arch rival local Congress strongman and MLC, Narayan Rane, from securing power in Sindhudurg Zilla Parishad.

In Nanded, Sena MLA Prataprao Chikhalikar is dead against any tie-up with his arch rival Congress MP and Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan. In Kolhapur, Sena MLA Chandradeep Narke has a long standing political feud with former Congress MLA P N Patil. In Osmanabad, more than the dispute with the NCP, local MP Ravi Gaikwad is in disagreement with local Sena Sampark Pramukh Tanaji Sawant. In Nashik, the NCP is in a dilemma over whether to support the Congress, Sena or align with the BJP. However, Sena minister of state for Co-operation, Dada Bhuse, has a dispute with BJP's minister for Medical Education, Girish Mahajan.

In Beed Zilla Parishad, an interesting battle is developing with former NCP MLA Badamrao Pandit who joined the Sena recently is dead against Sena joining hands with NCP. Here former NCP MLA Suresh Dhas who has five corporators in his camp is likely to lend support to the BJP. Minister for Women and Child Development, Pankaja Munde, is reported to have invoked family ties her late father Gopinath Munde had with the Thackeray family to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. Meanwhile, in Sangli, all the three local strongmen NCPs Jayant Patil, Patangrao Kadam (Congress) and Sena MLA Anil Babar have serious differences between them.

Hung houses
Out of the 25 Zilla Parishads that went to polls in February this year, there are hung civic houses in 11 of the Zilla Parishads. The 11 Zilla Parishads that have returned a hung house include – Sangli, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Nashik, Jalgaon, Buldhana, Yavatmal, Aurangabad, Jalna, Hingoli and Beed. Out of the 1,509 seats in the 25 Zilla Parishads, the BJP has won 406 seats, NCP 360 seats, Congress 309 and Sena 271 seats.

The local Sena leaders have refused to accept the party leadership directives arguing that after having fought the elections bitterly against the Congress and NCP, it is unthinkable to now join hands with them.

— Sena sources

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