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In Vidarbha, Congress marches ahead of BJP in local body polls

In Buldhana and Amaravati, Congress leaders Harshvardhan Sapkal and Minister Yashomati Thakur (in picture) led the partuy to victory. File

In Buldhana and Amaravati, Congress leaders Harshvardhan Sapkal and Minister Yashomati Thakur (in picture) led the partuy to victory. File

The recent municipal panchayat polls in Maharashtra have shown the signs of the Congress staging a comeback in the Vidarbha region — it has marched ahead of the BJP in majority of the districts.

According to the final data from the State Election Commission, the Congress won 202 seats in the polls compared to 152 of the BJP. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Shiv Sena remained on number three and four spot by winning 89 and 60 seats respectively. The Congress has claimed victory in 17 municipal panchayats in Vidarbha in comparison to seven of the BJP.

The surge in seats in semi-urban and semi-rural pockets of the State is seen as a positive sign for the party, which had lost its dominance in the region — once considered as its forte — since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Vidarbha, with more than 60 Assembly seats, has been instrumental in ensuring a BJP government after the 2014 Assembly polls and remained with it even in the 2019 State polls up to certain extent.

All top leaders and Ministers of the party ensured in this election to reclaim their lost ground, especially in districts like Chandrapur, Yavatmal, Gadchiroli and Buldhana. In Chandrapur, from where comes the party’s lone Lok Sabha member of the State, it won 53 seats, compared to 24 of the BJP in six municipal panchayats, and in Gadchiroli, it won 39, compared to 36 of the BJP. The NCP won 26 seats in Gadchiroli in nine panchayats.

Surprise result

One of the surprising results came from Yavatmal, where the Congress cruised past the BJP by winning 39 seats, while the latter could win 13 only. In this district, the Congress neither has an MLA nor an MP. In Buldhana and Amaravati, party leaders Harshvardhan Sapkal and State Minister Yashomati Thakur led the Congress to victory. While the party surpassed the BJP in Wardha, it won one out of two municipal panchayats in Nagpur district that went to the polls.

While the party lagged behind in Bhandara and Gondia districts, it won the Bhandara - home district of the State unit president Nana Patole - zilla parishad while Gondia went to the BJP.

“The results show that the path of recovery that we have chosen is right. Not only in Vidarbha, but the Congress, with 44 MLAs, has performed better than the BJP with 106 MLAs. All our leaders worked tirelessly for this and we are sure that this will be repeated in the coming local body polls,” said party’s State committee spokesperson Atul Londhe.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 11:06:12 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/in-vidarbha-congress-marches-ahead-of-bjp-in-local-body-polls/article38303270.ece