Don’t gloat over civic poll win, Sena tells BJP

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena asked the BJP today not to celebrate its win in two civic polls in Maharashtra, saying it did not show that voters’ mood was turning in its favour ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

The Sena sought to downplay the BJP’s win in the Sangli and Jalgaon municipal polls held last week, saying that leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav, convicted in a corruption case, win elections.

The BJP won the Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad Municipal Corporation election last week by defeating the Congress-NCP alliance and also swept the Jalgaon civic body where it trounced the Shiv Sena.

This is for the first time that the BJP has come to power in the two civic bodies. “If the victory in Sangli and Jalgaon is being seen as an indicator for the next general elections, then why did the BJP struggle to win the Palghar Lok Sabha seat bypoll?” the Sena asked in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana‘.

It also reminded the BJP that it had lost the bypoll to the Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha seat in May. The BJP had won the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll in May this year, albeit with a reduced margin compared to votes it garnered in 2014.

The Sena said in West Bengal, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is winning almost every election and that it seems BJP president Amit Shah is going to spend some days in Kolkata to ensure her party’s defeat. Elections are being won by leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav, convicted in a corruption case, while Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is the “role model” of clean and good governance, is facing setbacks, it said.

Citing these instances, the Sena asked Maharashtra revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, who is credited for the BJP’s win in Sangli civic polls, to be cautious.

The Sena said that after the civic poll results, Patil had taunted the opposition parties for not blaming their defeat on the Electronic Voting Machines. It reminded the minister that it was the BJP which had levelled similar charges about EVMs a decade ago.

The Sena further said that ahead of these civic polls, there was an influx of leaders from other parties into the BJP, including several “tainted personalities”. Those who were criticised by the BJP as people responsible for downfall of the infrastructure in Jalgaon and Sangli districts are now in the party and members of the respective civic bodies, it said. Even Sambhaji Bhide – the Sangli-based right wing activist accused of instigating violence against Dalits on January 1 near Pune – helped the BJP to win polls, it said.

“Those who have joined the BJP because the party is in power, will switch to some other party once the BJP is dethroned,” the Marathi publication said. The Sangli-Miraj civic body was controlled by the Congress and the NCP.

But the BJP won in the recent polls because many leaders of both the Congress and the NCP switched to the saffron party, the Sena said. “This is not a sign of healthy politics,” it said.