Stage set for civic body polls in Nagpur

With the Zilla Parishad under Congress-NCP control and the ruling BJP in the Municipal Corporation facing corruption charges, it seems an interesting fight is on cards in the upcoming civic body polls.

The Zilla Parishad elections will be held on February 7 while the Municipal Corporation elections will be conducted on February 17 across the state including Nagpur,
Chandrapur, Amravati and Akola Municipal Corporations.

The BJP with highest number of corporators (56) had formed Nagpur Vikas Aghadi (front) in 2007 with corporators from RJD-Lokmanch, IUML and independents, besides garnering support from the Shiv Sena (8) to rule the civic body here.

The Congress (30) along with NCP (8) had to content with Opposition benches.

All the four major political parties comprising Congress, BJP, NCP and Sena are struggling for a pre-poll alliance which may help them to consolidate their vote bank even as the ruling party, which is battling allegations of corruption, faces the anti-incumbency factor.

Atal Bahadur Singh, who was twice Mayor and had unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha election on BJP ticket against sitting Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar, has switched his loyalty to Congress for an electoral alliance with Congress-NCP group. His outfit Lok Manch has always played a crucial role in formation of the elected body.

However, what prompted Singh is not known who is keen to have partnership with Congress-NCP to dethrone the BJP ruled civic body. Singh is known as 'king maker' in the local circles.

The ruling BJP is harping on good work done during last five years including the 24x7 water supply scheme, laying of cement roads, development of public utilities particularly gardens. Moreover, now it has the blessings of National President Nitin Gadkari.

The Congress, which is suffering from infighting and could not appoint a Leader of Opposition in the NMC for a long time, is now fully geared up to battle out, listing failures particularly the implementation of the 2007 poll manifesto, alleged irregularities in implementation of projects funded under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) related to running of local city buses (Star Buses), bad conditions of roads and non-functional street lights.

Congress electioneering will be under direct control of All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary and city MP Vilas Muttemwar and Maharashtra EGS Minister
Nitin Raut besides two Congress leaders -- both former ministers Satish Chaturvedi and Anees Ahmad.

In the BJP camp, it is only Gakdari who can decide. Though it has four elected Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) but the final word will be from Gadkari, political sources said.

Based on the 2011 Census, the NMC elections will be fought for 145 seats which was enhanced from 134 in 12 Prabhag (multi wards) with 50 percent seats reserved for women. The Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti Polls will be simultaneously held on February 7.

Though during the previous elections in 2007, BJP captured power it could not sustain it.

At the end of tenure of one of its President Ramesh Mankar, lost the game in 2010. BJP nominee Ganpat Bhoyar could not succeed and two of its members Suresh Bhoyar and Rajkumar Ghule joined Congress led camp. Bhoyar was subsequently elected as President and Nitin Rathi of NCP as the Vice-President respectively.

In the 59 member house, BJP suffered another blow when two of its members Vijay Ghodmare and Sudhir Parwe got elected as MLAs from Hingana and Umrer respectively, thereby reducing BJP strength in the House. Now it remains to be seen whether BJP will regain the power and retain it for next five years in Zilla Parishad.

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