Mumbai, Aug 21: Mumbai Congress chief Ashok Chavan accused the BJP of using “money power” to win the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation Elections 2017. The former chief minister, however, claims the strategy of the saffron party would not yield success in the Nanded civic polls, slated for October.
While addressing reporters over the rout suffered by Congress in Mira Bhayandar local body polls, Chavan said his party lost the elections, but did not compromise on ethics. On the other hand, he added, the BJP used all means possible to escalate their electoral tally, which “includes poaching of candidates, workers and blatantly use money and muscle power”.
On being asked whether the recent string of setbacks faced by Congress in civic polls across Maharashtra hinders their chances of returning to power in 2019, Chavan replied it would be futile to make such speculations. The veteran leader cited the victories of Congress in Parbhani, Malegaon and Bhiwandi, adding a likely win in Nanded would be a shot in the arm for Congress moving into the 2019 Maharashtra assembly polls.
Nanded Municipal Corporation Election Results 2012:
|Indian National Congress||41|
|All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM)||13|
|Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)||10|
|Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)||2|
Despite the tall claims of Chavan, Congress suffered a major setback in the past week, after 13 corporators – 5 from Congress, 4 from NCP and Shiv Sena each – jumped ship to the BJP.
Another major challenge before the Congress is the division of minority votes due to the challenge posed by NCP and AIMIM. The latter, led by Asaduddin Owaisi, claims to have grown its credibility within the Muslim electorate.
Chavan, however, had earlier dismissed the AIMIM as a major challenger, claiming that the Muslims would no longer be deceived by their rhetoric. However, he conceded that AIMIm may play the role of spoiler at few places.
The civic poll in Nanded is also considered to be a prestige battle for Congress, as the region is the bastion and Lok sabha constituency of Chavan.