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BMC Elections 2017: Fadnavis’s masterstroke snatches away Shiv Sena’s joy of victory

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday surprised many by announcing the decision of not fielding a candidate for the Mayor’s post in the bitterly fought BMC polls. The announcement not only raised eyebrows of his detractors and opponents in other parties, but also took many in his own party by surprise.

Many call it as a masterstroke by the chief minister of snatching away the joy of victory from the Shiv Sena.  Shiv Sena which pipped BJP just by 2 seats and was constantly attacking the CM will now be left with no choice than to welcome the CM’s decision. The BJP will now be playing role of a ‘watchdog’ in the richest civic body and constantly nag the Shiv Sena, something similar to what the Shiv Sena does at the state govt and at the Centre. And so is the case with his detractors inside the party.

But, this is not the first time that Devendra took such unusual decision. During the Municipal Corporation polls, Fadnavis chose his own team of trusted lieutenants. The choice surprised many and equally angered some of the old hands. In Pune, Fadnavis chose a key player in city’s real estate industry and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade to helm the Municipal polls. The move did not go down well with his party leaders in Pune. In fact, when CMs rally in Pune had to be cancelled due to poor attendance, the divide in the party came to the fore. But, eventually the result spoke for themselves. Fadnavis’s choice was proven right, when BJP got a thumping majority in the Pune Municipal Corporation for the first time.

Similarly, the CM chose a low profile MLA Mahesh Landge as his man on mission at the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. The decision making regarding ticket distribution and managing the campaign was left completely to Landge. The Pimpri Chinchwad Corporation was always known as a bastion of the NCP.  Former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar camped in the area during the elections, but Landge secured a thumping victory for his party.

In Mumbai, though, Aashish Shelar was the man leading the mission, another new entrant in the party Prasad Lad was hand-picked by the CM to lead the backroom strategy. Lad, who recently crossed over from the NCP, was closely seen with Devendra Fadnavis in all the crucial meetings. Known as ‘resourceful’, Lad’s choice as CM’s Man Friday was questioned by some in the party. But, the BJP’s solid show in Mumbai ending in a neck-to-neck fight with the Shiv Sena silenced the critics who questioned CM’s choice of his army.

In Maharashtra politics, it was Maratha strongman Sharad pawar who was known to take unusual decisions that had shock value. His decisions, though, surprised many, but had a long term impact on state’s politics. Fadnavis is slowly, but steadily mastering the art of shock treatment.


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