The Congress and NCP have accused the BJP of inducting people with criminal background in different parts of the state to use muscle power ahead of municipal polls. However, the saffron party has rejected the allegations terming them as “baseless”.
Congress spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan said, “Local issues of towns, talukas and big villages on the outskirts will be the key in deciding voters’ preferences. BJP should not think that it can win at municipal level since it is in power at the Centre and the state. This will have no bearing on the voting at taluka level.”
Accusing BJP of the same, NCP spokesman Nawab Malik reiterated, “In Maharashtra politics, never muscle power had been used earlier.”
Earlier, not all seats in local bodies were contested on the party symbol. Congress used to align with local outfits for the municipal council and nagar panchayat polls. But with BJP taking the lead in ensuring that its party symbol reaches every nook and corner, all parties are likely to follow suit.
Much to the dismay of others, BJP and Shiv Sena have clinched a pact well ahead of the polls. In contrast, the Congress and NCP are yet to work out a broad arrangement to fight the polls together and still blame each other for it.
‘”NCP cannot dictate terms for seat adjustments and alliance. One will have to wait and watch who would benefit and be at loss,” Mahajan said, even as he did not rule out informal alliance between the two parties at the local level. Social polarisation may result in increase in caste-based voting.”
The polls to 212 municipal councils and nagar panchayats in Maharashtra will be held in four phases from November 27 to January 8.