Congress gears up for local body polls

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After being snubbed by the central leadership over its lacklustre performance despite being part of the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, the Maharashtra unit of the Congress has kick-started preparations for the 2021 local body polls in the State.

State Congress president and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat on Wednesday appointed a 13-member election management committee to oversee preparations for the upcoming polls in five municipal corporations, two zilla parishads, 13 municipal councils and 83 municipal pachayats.

“Irrespective of the Congress being in alliance with two other parties, we are committed to increasing the party’s stronghold. We are striving towards to taking the party to the top position in the State,” a senior Congress leader said after the appointments. He further said that the recent victory of the Congress in the MLC polls had encouraged the party to get on an aggressive mode.

According to sources, the State unit of the party received the cold shoulder from Delhi over its defensive stand and lack of inner-party coordination. The unit also came under fire for its poor performance in the first year of the MVA government as the other two allies — Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party — overshadowed it.

The State Congress leadership is also under strain as Mr. Thorat is likely to be replaced as president in the coming weeks. The party’s Mumbai unit has got MLC Bhai Jagtap as the new president who has been given the mandate to increase the party’s tally in the 2022 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation poll.

Such was the discontent over the State unit from the central leadership that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had to write to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray demanding adherence to the common minimum programme and special incentives for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. Mr. Thorat explained that it was a routine exchange between the two leaders.

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