BJP, Sena blame infighting, higher-ups for poll debacle

The NCP is busy looking for a suitable candidate for the mayor's post. The MNS is all set to sit in the opposition as the second largest party with 29 seats in the civic house. As for the leaders of the Shiv Sena and the BJP, they are either blaming their senior leaders or holding "internal rift" responsible for the major setback they received in the Pune Municipal Corporation election.

Admitting the problem: Shiv Sena city chief Nana Wadekar (top) and
BJP MLA Girish Bapat say internal party problems were behind the
disaffection among the rank and file as well as voters. File pics

The Congress is keeping mum at the moment, refusing to discuss whether scam-tainted city MP Suresh Kalmadi was a factor in its seat tally going down. The only thing the party is saying is that it wants to introspect in the face of the major losses it suffered in the election.

While the Shiv Sena retained its hold on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), there was no reason for the party to celebrate in the city. The party managed to win a mere 15 seats, five down from its 2007 tally of 20.

Party city unit chief Nana Wadekar squarely laid the blame for the poor show on the shoulders of Shiv Sena city coordinator and MLC Neelam Gorhe. "Sena workers were disappointed with Gorhe's dominance in the decision-making process during ticket distribution," he said. Wadekar added that even after making repeated complaints to Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray about Gorhe's unilateral way of taking decisions, no action was taken and this was the reason behind the defeat.

Ally BJP accepted the fact that something had gone wrong in its strategy as even four-time corporator and senior local-level leader Jyotsna Sardeshpande was defeated in Model Colony by first-timer Neelam Kulkarni of the MNS.

Kasba and Kothrud assembly segments, which are considered the party's fortresses, also gave the BJP a major jolt. "The delay in the announcement of candidates for the civic poll and the bad image the party earned due to the internal rift turned the voters away from choosing the party's candidate," BJP MLA Girish Bapat said.
The civic polls in the city traditionally were always dominated by the Congress, but this time it had to remain satisfied with a mere 28 seats.

According to political observers, the "Suresh Kal-madi factor" worked against the Congress, which saw the defeat of those considered close to the CWG-scam-tainted city MP. These included Sangita Tiwari, Amit Bagul, Virendra Kirad and Deputy Mayor Prasanna Jagtap. "The party needs a lot of introspection and reconsolidation from the grassroot level to the state level, therefore with this view we will undertake a major party building exercise," Congress MLC Ulhas Pawar said. Pawar denied the Kalmadi factor was responsible for the defeat of the party. 

Poll performance
Parties Seats    (2007) Seats (2012)     
Shiv Sena            20                 15
BJP                     25                 26 
Congress             41                 28

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