Chavan’s victory warning bell for BJP
In 2014, the BJP came to power, promising to fight corruption. However, it had to watch former Congress chief minister Ashok Chavan, who had to relinquish his post following graft allegations in Adarsh scam, make a clean sweep in Nanded Lok Sabha constituency.
In 2017, Chavan made history for his party, winning 69 of the 81 seats in city’s municipal corporation.
His performance becomes even more impressive as the BJP won other bypolls — Bhandup, Pune, Kolhapur and Nagpur — in the state quite comfortably.
Chavan attributes his win to BJP’s attempt at maligning his image. “I have done good work here and people responded positively. Our margin of victory speaks a lot,” he said.
Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the Congress party succeeded in polarising the voters in Nanded. “Muslims did not vote for us. They voted en bloc to Congress. This happened in Parbhani, Bhiwandi and Malegaon corporation elections, too. We will introspect why Muslims are not showing faith in us. One must also understand that Chavan did some development work in Nanded, but it was limited to just Nanded. Therefore people rejected them in bypolls in other places,” Mungantiwar said.
Is this win enough to change political winds in the state? Probably not. As they say, one cuckoo does not maketh the summer.
But, at the same time, the win has underlined a few things. The Congress can fight and win if it is united and fights with spunk. In the rest of the state, Congress is riddled with factionalism and lacks self-belief. In Nanded, the party unit fought under Chavan with full strength behind him and this helped well.
BJP candidate Jagruti Patil celebrates in Mumbai.