BJP govt may misuse machinery to influence local polls: Congress

Mumbai, Sep 21 Maharashtra Congress leaders today expressed fear that the BJP-led state government might "misuse" the machinery to "influence" the local body polls scheduled in December.


The polls are scheduled to be held in over 200 municipal councils across the state.

At a meeting chaired by state unit chief Ashok Chavan here, Congress leaders appeared confident of a "good show" by the party, capitalising on the "dissatisfaction of the rural masses" with the state government.

However, they felt that confusion was "deliberately" being created over the election process of the municipal council presidents.

Party spokesman Sachin Sawant said a government resolution (GR) recently said municipal council presidents would be elected directly. But, he added that there was a speculation that the GR will be withdrawn and the previous system of election of presidents by elected councillors would continue.

Sawant said the party leadership felt that the government was "deliberately prolonging the dilemma" and there could be "political interference and misuse of government machinery" in the election process.

When contacted, senior Congress leader Narayan Rane said the meeting was called to discuss the party's preparations for the polls, adding that it was decided to identify the probable candidates. When asked about an alliance with the NCP, he said the proposal could be considered if it was on "respectable" terms.

The party leaders also discussed the Maratha community morchas being taken out in different parts of the state. Chavan alleged that the government was "not serious" in addressing the issues raised by the community and implementing the reservation in jobs and education.

Former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who too was present at the meeting, said the proposal for an alliance with the NCP for the state legislative council polls was also discussed and the party was "open" to an alliance if there was an "honourable pact" and it would like to contest from at least three of the total vacant seats.

Sawant said the leaders expressed resentment over NCP leader Praful Patel's recent criticism of the Congress and felt that the former ally needed to be told to refrain from making such comments. Former minister Patangrao Kadam was also present at the meeting.


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