It’s a victory that has come at a crucial time for Congress. The party, which parted ways with ally NCP for these elections, won 41 out of the total 81 seats in Nanded Municipal Corporation, up from 37 in the outgoing house that it administered with the support of some independents. And the man of the hour was former chief minister Ashok Chavan.
Sharing the ‘good news’, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre said people of Nanded had expressed their confidence in the party’s policies. When someone asked whether it was an ‘Adarsh’ victory Thakre said it was the triumph of Congress ideology and the leadership provided by Ashok Chavan.
Thakre’s backing and praise comes against the backdrop of most Congress leaders disowned Chavan soon after the Adarsh Society scam came to the fore, with three of the former CM’s close relatives as alleged beneficiaries. Even when a petition was filed against Ashok Chavan in a paid news case, Congress maintained a distance. But thereafter, slowly the party started backing him.
It was a visit by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to Nanded last year that was an indication of Congress egging on the beleaguered leader. Ashok Chavan’s clout in the party was palpable when a group of legislators close to him raised the issue of supporting him in the critical phase. Later, during the monsoon session a letter with signatures of approximately 40 legislators created a maelstrom for Congress and it was revealed that this was drafted by Chavan’s supporters.
When Thakre was asked whether the Nanded victory would pave way for Chavan’s comeback at the political centre stage or a return in the state cabinet, he said the former CM was a senior leader of the party and it was up to the party high command to take a call on the matter.
Dark horse gallops ahead
The Hyderabad based political outfit All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has stunned the political circles in Nanded by winning 11 seats in its first ever attempt.
While Congress secured majority by winning 41 seats, Shiv Sena emerged as the second largest political party with 14 seats. NCP won 10, and BJP could muster just 2 seats.
AIMIM, which received support from the younger generation of the Muslim community, aligned with Samvidhan Party, a local outfit, which won 2 seats, taking the alliance tally to 13.
The number of seats Congress won in the Nanded polls