[Shaikh Rasheed of Congress with Sakharam Ghodke and other Shiv Sena leaders on Thursday June 08, 2017 while filing nomination papers for Malegaon Mayor and Deputy elections.]
Malegaon: Sidelining the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Congress on Thursday struck a deal with the Shiv Sena for the Mayor election to be held in Malegaon on Wednesday June 14 and rule the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) for the next five years.
According to local Congress spokesman Abdul Haleem Siddiquee, the Shiv Sena has agreed to back Congress Mayor candidate Shaikh Rasheed and in return the party will support Sena's Sakharam Ghodke as Deputy Mayor.
"Shaikh Rasheed and Sakharam Ghodke filed their nomination papers for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor elections respectively today after the deal was finalised between the two parties late last night", he said.
Two-time MLA Shaikh Rasheed is the local Congress president and Sakharam Ghodke is the former Congress man who joined the Shiv Sena before the 2017 Malegaon MMC elections.
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor elections of Malegaon are scheduled to be held on Wednesday June 14. Friday June 09 was the last day to file the nomination papers.
The Congress party emerged as the single largest party winning 28 seats in the Malegaon Municipal Corporation elections held on May 24, 2017.
Shiv Sena ended with 13 seats whereas the NCP/Janata Dala together won 27 seats. The BJP and All India Majlise Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) respectively won 09 and 07 seats.
As no party had the needed number to have its Mayor in the 84-member Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC), speculations were rife that the Congress and NCP will again come together like in the past and rule the politically significant civic body of North Maharashtra.
According to the NCP sources, party chief Sharad Pawar was also in favour of the Congress – NCP deal in Malegaon. However it is learnt that former MLA and local NCP President Mufti Mohammad Ismael was against any pact with the Congress.
Interestingly, Mufti Ismael was instrumental on two occasions in the past to strike a deal with the Congress. This time however he decided to keep a distance from the Congress.
The Congress party sources said that Mufti Ismael was actually interested in a deal with the Congress and even had talks with party leaders. But, in order to put pressure on the Congress he opposed the possible deal with the Congress in public.