MUMBAI: Ayaram Gayaram politics seems to have intensified in Maharashtra with ruling and opposition parties locked in a furious struggle to wean away elected representatives, office-bearers and cadres from each other before the polls to the civic bodies which are seen as a semi-final to the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
The NCP has lured senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde’s elder brother and constituency manager Panditanna and nephew Dhananjay, who is an MLC, and heavyweight Shiv Sena MP from Kalyan in Thane, Anand Paranjape.
The Congress is said to be working on another Munde acolyte and OBC leader Prakash Shendge though there are indications that Shendge, a leader of the Dhangar (shepherd) community, whose father Shivajirao was a Congress minister, may have to bide his time as he has been elected to the Assembly from a constituency which belongs to the NCP.
While the Shiv Sena shocked the NCP by getting MLC Subhash Bhoir, who commands a following in Thane, and some other office-bearers and corporators to join the party, the NCP sprung a surprise by getting Paranjape to switch loyalties and launch an attack on the Sena leadership from an NCP platform in presence of party chief Sharad Pawar.
In Mumbai, Mayor Shraddha Jadhav of the Shiv Sena is facing a challenge from senior party corporator Mangesh Satamkar who has staked a claim on the same municipal ward as Jadhav. In case Satamkar is denied a nomination, he may cross over to the MNS. The NCP has also attracted Congressman and former MLA Pushpasen Sawant, an opponent of Industries Minister Narayan Rane (Congress), on his home turf of Sindhudurg and former Sena minister Tukaram Dighole from Nashik.