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BJP allies with NCP to seize power in Ahmednagar local polls

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) joined hands on Thursday to capture the Mayoral post in Ahmednagar.

Earlier in the day, the BJP’s Babasaheb Wakde was elected Mayor of the 68-seat Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation (AMC), winning 37 votes with the backing of the NCP, despite the Shiv Sena having emerged as the largest party.

The BJP could only secure 14 seats, while the NCP and the Congress had managed to win 18 seats and 5 seats respectively.

In keeping with their stated aim of toppling the BJP government at the Centre and the State, the Congress and the NCP had jointly contested the recently concluded Dhule and Ahmednagar civic polls.

Yet, the NCP’s politically expedient volte face in Ahmednagar reflected the fragility of the Congress- NCP coalition while bringing into sharp relief the mistrust between the traditional alliance partners.

While the Congress leadership in Ahmednagar was incensed at the NCP’s ‘stab in the back’, NCP top brass denied any foreknowledge of a local alliance with the BJP.

“We had given explicit instructions to our [NCP] corporators not to vote for the BJP or the Shiv Sena. We had allied with the Congress to contest the civic polls and defeat the BJP. I have issued show cause notices against the refractory party members who voted for the BJP’s candidate and we are considering disciplinary action against them,” said NCP State President Jayant Patil.

Mr. Patil further dismissed speculation that the NCP was the BJP’s ‘B-team’ in Ahmednagar.

High drama preceded the Mayoral election as senior BJP leader and State Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, credited with engineering some of the party’s biggest civic poll wins, came to Ahmednagar to supervise the alliance with the NCP.

“As no party had a clear majority in Ahmednagar, there were three contenders [Sena, BJP and NCP] for the mayoral post. Our objective, as that of other party corporators, is the development of Ahmednagar city. So, we immediately accepted the invitation from local NCP leaders to form an alliance,” said Mr. Mahajan, rejecting any notion of ‘political opportunism’ in the BJP-NCP alliance.

He further remarked that despite the BJP’s “sincere wish” to ally with the Sena, the latter did not respond to their overtures.

Mr. Mahajan further observed that there were numerous instances of political parties with rival ideologies forming alliances at the Zilla Parishad and the Panchayat levels.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 2:37:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-allies-with-ncp-to-seize-power-in-ahmednagar-local-polls/article25849883.ece

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