The chairpersons of four committees of Zilla Parishad (ZP) were elected on Thursday. Congress, which has majority in ZP, bagged three posts of committee chiefs while its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) got one post.
With the election of committee chiefs, Sunil Kedar, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Minister, has consolidated his political domination in ZP In 58-member ZP House, Congress has majority with 30 seats. Congress’ alliance partner NCP has 10 seats, NCP ally Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) and Shiv Sena have one seat each, and one seat is won by Independent. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 15 seats.
Given the strength of Congress-NCP and allies, it was a foregone conclusion as to which side will dominate the election of committee chairpersons. Already, Congress’ Rashmi Barve and Manohar Kumbhare have been elected as ZP President and Vice-President respectively.
Shekhar Ghadge, SubDivisional Officer, Nagpur City, was the Presiding Officer for the election of committee chiefs held on Thursday in Abasaheb Khedkar Hall in ZP. Pramila Jakhalekar, Deputy Chief Executive Officer; and Sarika Dhatrak, NaibTehsildar, also were on the dais during conduct of the election process.
First, the election to the post of Chairperson of Woman and Child Welfare Committee was held. Archana Giri of BJP, Ujjwala Bodhare of NCP, and Jyoti Raut of Congress had filed nominations. Later, Raut withdrew from the fray. Giri polled only 15 votes, and Bodhare polled 43 votes thereby securing a thumping win. Nemavali Mate of Congress won the election to the post of Chairperson of Social Welfare Committee. She polled 43 votes and defeated Satish Dongre of BJP, who polled only 15 votes.
For the remaining two subject committees, there were total five candidates in the fray. Bharati Patil of Congress, Tapeshwar Vaidya of Congress, Bhojraj Thaokar of BJP, Anil Nidhan of BJP, and Chandrashekhar Kolhe of NCP were in the fray. Later, Kolhe withdrew his nomination.
Of the remaining four, two candidates of BJP polled 15 votes each while two candidates of Congress polled 43 votes each and emerged victorious. The elections were for the posts of Chairpersons of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Committee, and Finance and Education Committee. Bharati Patil and Tapeshwar Vaidya won the election, but the allocation of committees to them will be decided in days to come by Congress leaders.
Already, Rashmi Barve is exofficio Chairperson of Water Management Committee, and Manohar Kumbhare is ex-officio Chairman of Health and Works Committees. It will be interesting to watch if Congress gives Finance and Education to a seasoned ZP member Tapeshwar Vaidya or to a newcomer Bharati Patil.
The election assumed significance as all eyes were on the share given by Congress to NCP. Previously, NCP was interested in the post of ZPVice-President, but Congress did not budge and got the post for itself. Now, of four posts of committee chiefs, NCP was hoping to get two. However, Congress camp led by Sunil Kedar played it hard and left only one post of committee chief for NCP
Anil Deshmukh, Home Minister and senior NCP leader; Sunil Kedar, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Minister and senior Congress leader; Rajendra Mulak, District President of Congress party; Raju Parwe, Congress MLA from Umred; and senior leaders in ZP politics including Nana Gawande, Suresh Bhoyar, former ZP President; Kunda Raut; Tanaji Wanve, Leader of Opposition in Nagpur Municipal Corporation, were camping in ZP till the election of committee chiefs was over.
Interestingly, Congress had issued a party whip to its members. Soon after their election, the newly-elected committee chiefs went to the chamber of ZP President where Kedar, Mulak, Parwe and others greeted them. Kedar addressed the committee chief briefly and asked them to work for the common people. “Work to resolve issues faced by people at ground level. Also, ensure that the benefits of welfare schemes reach the eligible persons,” he said.