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Jolt for BJP in Vidarbha as party loses Nagpur Zilla Parishad

Congress-NCP supporters celebrating victory at front of ZP office,Civil Lines in Nagpur on Wednesday.

Congress-NCP supporters celebrating victory at front of ZP office,Civil Lines in Nagpur on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: S. Sudershan

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Results show party yet to rally from damaging setback in the area considered its bastion

While registering an emphatic win in the Dhule Zilla Parishad, the BJP’s efforts in their stronghold in the Vidarbha region largely came a cropper as they lost the crucial Nagpur ZP while drawing even with the Congress in the Nandurbar ZP.

Poll results to six ZPs including Washim, Akola and Palghar besides the hotly-contested ZPs of Dhule, Nashik and Nandurbar were declared on Wednesday. In fact, besides Dhule, the BJP failed to make any gains in the remaining five ZPs.

In the 58-seat Nagpur ZP, the BJP could manage only 15 seats while the Congress reigned supreme snaring 31 seats and its ally the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 10.

The BJP lost the ZP seat in Dhapewada, which is the native village of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. Likewise, former Nagpur Guardian Minister and senior BJP leader Chandrashekhar Bawankule, too, was forced to eat humble pie after a Congress candidate defeated the party nominee in the Koradi Circle ZP seat. Koradi is Mr. Bawankule’s hometown.

While not quite the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition formula, the Congress had fought the Nagpur ZP in alliance with the NCP and the Peasants and Workers’ Party (PWP), which won one seat. The Shiv Sena, which contested on its own, could manage to win a single seat.

The ZP results indicated that the BJP had yet to rally from its damaging setback in the Vidarbha region, where it lost 17 seats in the Assembly polls despite the area considered as the party’s bastion.

“The BJP had been in power for seven years in the Nagpur ZP but had not done any development work in the rural areas.,” said State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, whose son Salil Deshmukh won the Metpanjra Panchayat Samiti seat.

Likewise, former NCP Minister Ramesh Bang’s son, Dinesh, too won the Hingna Panchayat Samiti seat.

According to observers, the reason for the BJP’s defeat in Nagpur is that besides former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, none of the party brass including Mr. Bawankule were seen campaigning hard enough.

Mr. Fadnavis’ spirited campaign paid off for the party in the 56-seat Nandurbar ZP where the BJP had bagged 23 seats.

Tehre was no MVA coalition in Nandurbar as the Congress, the NCP and the Sena fought separately despite being in alliance at the State level.

The Congress, too, managed to win 23 seats, while the Shiv Sena won seven and the NCP three.

Sources said an MVA formula was most likely to come into play here in the coming days, as the Sena has emerged as ‘king-maker’.

The Sena dealt a big blow to recently sworn-in Maharashtra Tribal Affairs Minister and seven-time MLA from Nandurbar K.C. Padavi (Congress). His wife Hemlata Padavi was beaten by Sena’s Ganesh Paradke.

The BJP effortlessly won the 56-seat Dhule ZP as the collective leadership of party Dhule MP and former Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre and that of former Maharashtra Minister Jaykumar Rawal, paid off handsomely.

“The BJP has helped bring a number of irrigation projects in the rural areas and the public have recognised the efforts,” said Dr. Bhamre.

On his part, Mr. Rawal lashed out at the MVA coalition calling it an “opportunistic alliance” and not the people’s true mandate.

“The people of Maharashtra have comprehensively rejected this unnatural alliance [Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA] and this sentiment has been reflected in the results to the Dhule ZP where, for the first time, we [the BJP] have secured more than 35 seats,” said Mr. Rawal, while lauding Mr. Fadnavis’ campaign.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 4:40:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jolt-for-bjp-in-vidarbha-as-party-loses-nagpur-zilla-parishad/article30515782.ece

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