Ahead of mayoral election in the Jalgaon Municipal Corporation slated for March 18, the ruling BJP has received a major setback as 33 of its total 57 corporators have staged a rebellion and joined Shiv Sena. This is also a major body blow to former minister Girish Mahajan who is a close confidante of former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
With BJP corporators’ move to migrate to Shiv Sena, the former’s strength has reduced to 24. In the 80- member Jalgaon Municipal Corporation, BJP had 57 corporators, Shiv Sena 15, 3 MIM and five are co-opted without voting right. BJP is set to lose the elections to the posts of mayor and deputy mayor following an increase in Shiv Sena’s strength.
The defection of BJP corporators is good news for not only Shiv Sena but its allies NCP and Congress in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. After veteran BJP leader Eknath Khadse left the party and joined NCP, a lot of disgruntled BJP corporators were in his touch. However, Khadse refrained these corporators from joining NCP as it has not a single corporator in the Jalgaon civic body.
Therefore, Khadse, the Jalgaon district unit NCP chief Ravindra Patil and Jalgaon district guardian minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Gulabrao Patil were unanimous that these corporators will join Shiv Sena and thereby increase its strength. With the joining of 33 BJP corporators, Shiv Sena’s tally rose to 48 while some more are on their way.
Khadse, who had joined NCP blaming former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for ruining his political career, had said that a large number of BJP workers were on their way to cross over to NCP. Some of them have already joined but considering the number game in the Jalgaon civic body, BJP corporators joined Shiv Sena. However, Patil told Free Press Journal, "BJP corporators' move is not just a set back to the opposition and Mahajan but it is also a good sign for the Maha Vikas Aghadi partners as together they can take on BJP in the coming local body, assembly and Lok Sabha election.’’