Congress-NCP woo rural voters to consolidate base

This focused campaign is backed by Assembly election arithmetics.

Mumbai: The narrative of the ongoing local bodies’ elections in the state is being set around the Brihanmumbai Municipal Council (BMC) elections and on the quarrels between Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but rural Maharashtra is witnessing close, multi-corner fights by Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) stalwarts, who are vigorously contesting to save their bastions in 25 zilla parishad (ZP) bodies.

Maharashtra has been witnessing rallies and road shows of leaders from all political parties for 10 municipal and 25 ZP bodies that are to go to the polls on February 16 and 21.

Congress leaders like state president Ashok Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and others are seen campaigning heavily in rural Maharashtra more than in cities. Similarly, NCP leaders such as Jayant Patil, Sunil Tatkare and Dhananjay Munde are hard at work in their rural bastions. This focused campaign is backed by Assembly election arithmetics.

In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, there are about 105 urban seats while rural areas account for 183 seats.

Political analyst Prakash Bal said, “It is an irony that Mumbai is the birthplace of Congress, as their leadership in the state has always come from rural Maharashtra and, subsequently, the party lost interest in cities”.

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