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Ahead of polls: BJP to hold state executive conclave in Thane

The decision to choose Thane has its roots in political history. In 1967, Shiv Sena got its first major electoral break in the Thane civic polls.

Ahead of polls: BJP to hold state executive conclave in Thane Through the Thane conclave, BJP wants to set the stage for a battle against its saffron ally which has always held an upper hand in the third most industrialised belt of Maharashtra.

BJP will convene a two-day state executive meeting in Thane in January, a week after the BJP national executive meeting on January 6 and 7 in Delhi.

The decision to choose Thane has its roots in political history. In 1967, Shiv Sena got its first major electoral break in the Thane civic polls.

At the time, the Thane civic body was restricted to just 40 seats of which Sena bagged 17. It was through Thane that the Sena made inroads into Mumbai a year later in 1968. The Sena was formed on June 19, 1966.

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Through the Thane conclave, BJP wants to set the stage for a battle against its saffron ally which has always held an upper hand in the third most industrialised belt of Maharashtra. Another reason for selecting Thane is to prepare the pitch where the party finds the going tough. The elections for ten municipal corporations including Thane will be held in February.

At the conclave, the BJP will project politics of good governance under the leadership of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to enhance the party’s electoral prospects. The sources said, “Our campaign will be positive emphasising on development and public welfare in urban sectors.”

The party believes Fadnavis’ efforts to promote the industrial belt with Navi Mumbai international airport and water transport projects would be beneficial to the party. It would also highlight the rampant illegal constructions and corruption in the Thane municipal corporation ruled by the Sena.

In the 2012 Thane Municipal Corporation elections, the Shiv Sena was way ahead with 53 seats out of 130 seats. While the BJP won only seven seats, NCP bagged 34 seats, Congress 18 seats, MNS 2 seats and others 8 seats.

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According to BJP poll managers, “The 2014 assembly elections which gave BJP a lead in three segments out of six will work to its advantage. It also believes that anti-incumbency factor against Sena, coupled with weak NCP and Congress would help BJP to occupy the space.”

Of the six assembly segments, BJP had won three, Shiv Sena 2 and NCP one. The BJP MLAs are Narendra Mehta (Meera Bhayandar); Sanjay Kelkar (Thane); Manda Mhatre (Belapur). The Sena’s candidates include senior minister Eknath Shinde (Kori-Pachpakhadi); Pratap Sarnaik (Ovala Majiswada). The NCP’s lone MLA Sandeep Naik represents Airoli seat.

The reports from Sena and BJP headquarters point to the partners planning to contest the Thane civic polls separately.

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Insiders in the Sena and BJP confirmed to The Indian Express, “The top leadership of both parties believe the Kalyan-Dombivli civic poll model where they fought against each other in elections and formed alliance post polls will be replicated in Thane and Mumbai.”

Senior ministers of both BJP and Sena admit, “The separate contest helps them maximise their organisational strength. Whereas an alliance would restrict their organisational growth.”

A senior BJP functionary said, “Taking a clear lead in Thane would require a quantum jump from seven seats to 65 seats. It is a mammoth task.”

The BJP official said, “We believe anti-incumbency factor against the Sena ruled Thane Municipal Corporation specially the rampant corruption and illegal construction would help us to make inroads.”

First published on: 06-01-2017 at 01:47:18 am
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