Congress wrests Sangli civic body

After waging shadow war against each other in the election campaign, the Congress on Monday wrested the Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad municipal corporation from its alliance partner, the NCP, by winning 40 out of 76 seats, jolting Sharad Pawar’s party in its traditional turf in western Maharashtra.

Led by NCP Minister Jayant Patil, the NCP could barely win 18 seats, despite the party propping up senior leaders like Ajit Pawar, Madhukar Pichad, R R Patil as star campaigners.

The Swabhimani Vikas Aghadi, a front created by the Sena-BJP along with farmer leader Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and other independents, also failed miserably in making an impact; they managed to scrounge just eight seats.

The Shiv Sena failed to win a single seat, while rival MNS managed to save its face by garnering a lone seat. The independents won the remaining nine seats.

Interestingly, both State Rural Development minister Jayant Patil and Home Minister R R Patil from NCP belong to Sangli and NCP is desperate to improve its Lok Sabha tally of nine seats so as to increase its bargaining power in the Centre; it is also keen on fielding senior party leaders who have strong local base like Jayant Patil from Sangli, and Chhagan Bhujbal from Nasik in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

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