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Maharashtra: BJP loses Jalgaon mayoral election, Sena nominee wins

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Mumbai, Mar 18: In a jolt to the BJP, its candidate on Thursday lost the mayoral election in the Jalgaon Municipal Corporation as 27 party corporators cross-voted. Shiv Sena's Jayshree Mahajan was elected the mayor after winning 45 votes.

The BJP with 57 corporators is in power in the 75- member civic body, which has been the party's bastion for several years. In the election on Thursday, Shiv Sena's Jayshree Mahajan bagged the mayor's post, while BJP rebel Kulbhushan Patil was elected the deputy mayor.

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Mahajan got 15 votes of the Shiv sena, three of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) and 27 of the BJP rebels. The BJP's nominee, Pratibha Kapase, got 30 votes.

Speaking to reporters, Eknath Khadse, a prominent leader from Jalgaon who quit the BJP in October last year and joined the NCP, claimed the BJP corporators were upset since the last two-and-a-half years.

"Since the BJP came to power two-and-a-half years ago, it became arrogant and did not work for the development of the city. The BJP's own corporators wanted to teach the party leaders a lesson," he claimed, referring to BJP leader Girish Mahajan.

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Khadse said he met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray 10 days ago and discussed the situation in Jalgaon. Shiv Sena leaders Eknath Shinde and Vinayak Raut were present during the discussion. Thackeray is heading the Maha Vikas Aghadi government comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.

Khadse said, "I told the chief minister that if he assures he would look into the development work of Jalgaon, the disgruntled BJP corporators will switch sides."

"We didn't even persuade the BJP corporators. They have been so upset about the functioning of their party leaders that they didn't even bother about attracting provisions of the anti-defection law," he said.

Last month, the BJP got a jolt when the NCP managed to elect its mayor in the Sangli Miraj Kupwad Municipal Corporation, which was ruled by the saffron party.

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