BJP faced a humiliating defeat in the Mayoral and Deputy mayoral elections in the Jalgaon Municipal Corporation despite a majority in the 75-member civic body. Of the 57 corporators, BJP’s 27 corporators crossed voted. Shiv Sena’s Jayshree Mahajan was elected the mayor after winning 45 votes while BJP rebel Kulbhushan Patil was elected the deputy mayor.
Mahajan got 15 votes of the Shiv Sena, three of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), and 27 of the BJP rebels. The BJP’s nominee, Pratibha Kapase, got 30 votes. Shiv Sena has 15 corporators while MIM has 3 corporators.
The Jalgaon Municipal Corporation has been BJP’s stronghold for several years but discontent was brewing in the party against the former minister Girish Mahajan who is the close confidante of former CM Devendra Fadnavis for favouring few and neglecting others. Mahajan was an architect of BJP’s victory in the Jalgaon civic body elections held in 2018 during the tenure of the party-led government in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena could win over the disgruntled BJP corporators with the active role played by former BJP leader Eknath Khadse who has joined NCP in October last year. As NCP had no presence in the Jalgaon civic body, Khadse personally called on the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and discussed the political situation in Jalgaon in the presence of senior minister Eknath Shinde and Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut. Khadse played a major role in facilitating the entry of BJP’s rebels in Shiv Sena.
Khadse said, “I told the chief minister that if he assures he would look into the development work of Jalgaon, the disgruntled BJP corporators will switch sides.” “We didn’t even persuade the BJP corporators. They have been so upset about the functioning of their party leaders that they didn’t even bother about attracting provisions of the anti-defection law,” he said.
Last month, the BJP received a major setback as the NCP managed to elect its mayor in the Sangli Miraj Kupwad Municipal Corporation, which was ruled by the saffron party. State NCP Chief and Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil played a major role to lure BJP corporators who were not happy with the party’s leadership in Sangli and at the state level.