Nagpur: The new ‘Prabhag’ alignments for upcoming NMC elections in 2017 have been published – taking not many people by surprise at the outcome.
” There were speculations, specially among Ruling BJP Corporators, about how the ‘new’ Prabhags would be, and that is exactly how it happened. It is clear that no official secrecy or confidentiality was maintained by Civic administrators and the will of the Ruling masters was implemented” said Vikas Thakre, senior leader of Congress. He accused BJP of trying to manipulate Prabhags in such a way that popular Congress leaders of an area were pitted against each other, which they hope would lead to infighting and loss for opposition.
He gave an instance of the present 7 Congress Corporators in Nagpur South West Vidhan Sabha constituency, from which C.M. Fadnavis has been elected. The Prabhag of Jaitala has been ‘reconstructed’ so that Praful Gudhade Patil and Vikas Thakre both become part of it.
“But we shall not let this strategy deter our fight. We shall use it to our advantage and are determined to get BJP out of power in NMC in the coming elections” says Thakre.
On the other hand, Avinash Thakre of BJP who has also been Standing Committee Chairman and is known to be close to Fadnavis emphasizes that BJP will win NMC elections again – on their merit and hard work.
“Formation of Prabhags has nothing to do with it. We will win elections on merit.” He says.
He points out that since the last decade NMC elections have been fought on various ‘combinations’ of wards. In 2002, 3 wards were clubbed together since 33% seats were reserved for women. So two seats reserved for Ladies and one general seat were combined. Later reservations went up to 50% so this method was not tenable any more. 2007 elections were contested singly – ward wise.
“Whatever the method, BJP has emerged winner” Avinash points out.
An Aam Admi Party representative of Nagpur, Bhushan Dhakulkar has a fresh point of view about ‘Prabhag’ formations though.
“We have made a representation to the Municipal Commissioner against this” he says. “Clubbing four seats to be fought jointly in a Prabhag ensures that only established politicial parties with experience and money power can contest NMC elections” he says.
“The new system establishes high barriers for new comers or those wishing to fighting independently. Entry level hardship for those interested in public service has been set unnecessarily high. We also suspect that it has been done to favour the Ruling coalition who has the money power and experience. We insist that in the name of grass root democracy, local elections must be fought at the Ward level only.” AAP insists.
The ball has been set rolling already though. Four way elections it is going to be in 5 months time. What will be the outcome?
“Looking at how things are being dealt with we are apprehensive that a desperate BJP will try every means to retain power. They have already got their way by the ‘zig zag’ formation of Prabhags done on their calculations. They have introduced thousands of bogus voters.” (Read NT expose on Parinay Fukey regarding this.)
“We will have to be very vigilant and alert during elections and counting of votes – because all dirty tricks will be tried. BJP knows it is on a sticky wicket since they have become very unpopular” asserts Vikas Thakre.
—Sunita Mudaliar (Associate Editor)