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Jolt for BJP in Vidarbha as party loses Nagpur ZP polls

Congress-NCP supporters celebrating the alliance’s victory in front of the ZP office in Nagpur on Wednesday.

Congress-NCP supporters celebrating the alliance’s victory in front of the ZP office in Nagpur on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: S. Sudershan

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Party wins in Dhule, draws even with Congress in Nandurbar

While it registered an emphatic win in the Dhule zilla parishad election, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) efforts in its stronghold of Vidarbha largely came a cropper as the party lost the crucial Nagpur zilla parishad. The party drew even with the Congress in the Nandurbar ZP.

Results of the polls to six zilla parishads — Washim, Akola, Palghar, Dhule, Nagpur and Nandurbar — were declared on Wednesday. Besides Dhule, the BJP failed to make any gains in the other five ZPs.

In the 58-seat Nagpur ZP, the BJP could manage to secure only 15 seats, with the Congress snaring 31 seats and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 10.

Loss in Gadkari’s village

Humiliatingly, the BJP lost the ZP seat in Dhapewada, the village of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. Likewise, a Congress candidate defeated the BJP nominee in the Koradi Circle ZP seat in former Nagpur guardian minister and senior BJP leader Chandrashekhar Bawankule’s hometown.

While not quite the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) formula, the Congress fought the Nagpur ZP in alliance with the NCP and the Peasants and Workers’ Party, which won a single seat. The Shiv Sena, which contested on its own, could only manage a single seat as well.

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

“The BJP had been in power for seven years in the Nagpur ZP. During this period, it had not carried out any development work in the rural areas,” said State Home Minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh, whose son Salil won the Metpanjra panchayat samiti seat.

Likewise, former NCP minister Ramesh Bang’s son, Dinesh, won the Hingna panchayat samiti seat.

Top brass absent

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

In Nandurbar, Mr. Fadnavis’s campaign paid off, with the BJP bagging 23 seats in the 56-seat ZP. There was no MVA coalition in Nandurbar as the Congress, NCP and Sena fought separately. The Congress, too, managed to win 23 seats, while the Sena won seven and the NCP three.

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

The Sena dealt a big blow to Tribal Affairs Minister and seven-time Nandurbar MLA K.C. Padavi of the Congress. Mr. Padavi’s wife, Hemlata, was beaten by the Sena’s Ganesh Paradke.

The BJP effortlessly won the 56-seat Dhule ZP as the collective leadership of Dhule MP Dr. Subhash Bhamre and party leader Jaykumar Rawal paid off. “The BJP has helped bring a number of irrigation projects to the rural areas, and the public has recognised the party’s efforts,” Dr. Bhamre said.

Mr. Rawal said the MVA was an “opportunistic alliance” and not the people’s true mandate. “The people of Maharashtra have comprehensively rejected this unnatural alliance, and this sentiment has been reflected in the results in the Dhule ZP where, for the first time, [the BJP] has secured more than 35 seats,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 3:30:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jolt-for-bjp-in-vidarbha-as-party-loses-nagpur-zp-polls/article30518537.ece

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