February 23, 2015 3:55:02 am
After capturing power in the state, the BJP seems to have its eyes set on municipal bodies in Maharashtra. Aiming to unseat NCP from the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, where former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s writ runs, senior BJP leaders are paying regular visits to the city to exhort party leaders go all-out to win the civic elections that are still two years away.
The unscheduled and “under the wraps” visit of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to Pimpri-Chinchwad about a week ago has enthused the party rank and file.
The CM paid a quiet visit to BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap’s residence in Gurav Pimple area. The visit was not part of his itinerary. At the dinner meeting, Fadnavis asked Jagtap and other party leaders from Pimpri-Chinchwad to first give priority to strengthening the party unit and then make all-out efforts to capture power. BJP leaders told him that their enrolment drive was under way in full swing and the party was working towards capturing power in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Before the CM, BJP state president Raosaheb Danve too visited Pimpri-Chinchwad and interacted with top party leaders.
During his visit, Fadnavis also welcomed Sarang Kamtekar into the BJP fold. Kamtekar was Shiv Sena’s strategist during the last civic elections and had exposed several wrongdoings of the NCP through RTI applications.
Before Kamtekar’s entry, the BJP had also roped in the likes of former corporators like Amar Mulchandani (Congress), Rajesh Pillay (NCP) and Babu Nair (Congress) into the party. Besides, three incumbent PCMC corporators Seema Savle, Sharda Babar and Asha Shendge, who have been expelled from Shiv Sena, are likely to join the BJP. All three can be seen at most of the BJP functions of late.
Interacting with party leaders, the CM promised to seriously look into the issue of illegal constructions in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “After MLA Jagtap told him about the urgent need to resolve the long-pending issue, the CM sounded positive and said in the next few days he would give finality to the vexed matter,” said Kamtekar.
Jagtap, who within 15 days hosted both Fadnavis and Danve, has also taken up other problems concerning Pimpri-Chinchwad, which BJP leaders said only indicated the party’s eagerness to capture power in the PCMC.
Jagtap has met the municipal commissioner to resolve the issue of waste-pickers, the labour commissioner to redress the grievances of construction workers and PCNTDA officials for pushing development of the area, according to Kamtekar.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jagtap said: “The CM has given assurance to resolve the issue of illegal constructions once and for all. We told him that if this issue is resolved, nobody can stop BJP from coming to power in Pimpri-Chinchwad. The CM told us that we should leave no stone unturned to capture power in the PCMC.”
The NCP, however, remains unperturbed. “Not a single NCP corporator has left us. We are doing our job, working for Pimpri-Chinchwad’s development. Let BJP do what it wants to,” said NCP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit chief Yogesh Behl. He said only Laxman Jagtap had left the NCP while Mahesh Landge, now an Independent MLA, remained associated with the party.
The NCP said the recent victory in Pimpri ward bypoll indicated that voters were still with the NCP. “We are not worried. In fact, the bypoll has enthused us…we will regain power two years hence,” said Behl.
In PCMC, the NCP has 84 corporators while BJP has only three and the Sena 11.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena too is working towards finding itself in the public domain. It held a Sangarsh Melava where, like BJP, it too raised the pitch for resolving the issue of illegal constructions.
“Both parties seem to have sensed a chance in Pimpri-Chinchwad,” said an NCP leader.
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