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Factional feuds will hurt NCP

Thursday, 21 December 2006 - 10:55pm IST

Four major and some splinter groups within the party may queer the pitch in Thane, the next big thing after BMC elections.

Thanks to intense infighting, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is in for a big trouble in civic polls for Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), the second most important municipal corporation after Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

There is strong possibility of four groups within the party staking their claims for the biggest share of the total seats which a party will be contesting in ensuing elections. Presently, NCP has 30 corporators in the House of 116 members.

Despite the fact that TMC is ruled by Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, it is the NCP which is the second largest political party in and even outside TMC. However, the problem with the NCP is there are four very strong groups within the party. One is led by party MLC Jitendra Awhad, who is known as ‘rising star’ of Thane while the other is led by Deputy Chairperson of Maharashtra Legislative Council Vasant Daokhare. Of course, there are smaller groups like the one of Thane district guardian minister Ganesh Naik and the other led by Subhash Bhoir.

“Awhad is undisputed face of the party in Thane, but other senior leaders not only try to dominate and sideline him, they also try to ensure that he does not get enough importance within the organisation. If this continues, his group will concentrate only on seats where his supporters will be getting candidature,” said sources close to Awhad.

In a sharp reaction, Daokhare said, “I am with the party since its launch. How can you even compare me with Awhad? Can you compare Congress President Sonia Gandhi with some block unit president? I work selflessly and have never used party for my personal gains. And, above all, seat-sharing decisions are taken at the highest level and therefore there will be no problem in that.”

Just the other day, Deputy Chief Minister Maharashtra R R Patil had to calm down party corporator Subhash Bhoir, who had threatened to join Shiv Sena if he wasn’t given a plump post. It is learnt that Patil has promised him an appointment on CIDCO soon after the TMC elections. Bhoir refuted this and said, “I am not unhappy with anything. I have no demands. Patil happened to come to Mumbra and therefore visited my residence that is all.” Of the 30 years of civic politics that Bhoir has to his credit, he has been on different committees for more than twenty-seven-and-a-half years!

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