[Newly constructed Malegaon Municipal Corporation building has been named as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Bhavan (ummid.com photo)]
Malegaon: Local Congress President Shaikh Rasheed and Shiv Sena's Sakharam Ghodke won the Malegaon Mayor and Deputy Mayor elections held in the General body meeting hall of the Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) old building Wednesday morning.
Shaikh Rasheed bagged 41 votes in the Mayor election and defeated Nabi Ahmed of Azeem Ittehad - BJP alliance. Nabi Ahmed bagged 34 votes - 27 votes of NCP-Janata Dal (S) Azeem Ittehad and 07 votes of the BJP members.
Sakharam Ghodke also bagged 41 votes. He defeated Mansoor Ahmed of NCP-Janata Dal (S) Azeem Ittehad in the Deputy Mayor election. Mansoor bagged just 27 votes as the BJP members abstained from the voting in the Deputy Mayor election.
Two BJP members did not turn up for the election. Talking to ummid.com, BJP president Sunil Gaekwad said the party had not issued any whip and hence the two members could have been absent because of some "urgency".
In an interesting turn of events, 07 coprorators of Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) abstained from the voting and tactically helped the Congress - Shiv Sena combine to sail through in the Mayor and Deputy Mayor elections.
Asaduddin Owaisi while accusing the Congress of corruption during the election rallies had urged the people of Malegaon to make sure that the power of Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) did not go to those who had rented the civic body properties at Rs.137 per month rent.
After the election results were out the AIMIM had declared to maintain equal distance from the "communal" parties.
The AIMIM corporators however today forgot both of their assertions, tactically supporting the Congress and Shiv Sena to win the Mayor and Deputy Mayor election respectively.
The fact that the AIMIM had prior understanding with the Congress and Shiv Sena for the Myor and Deputy Mayor election also came to the fore when Shaikh Rasheed after winning the Mayor election appreciated the support extended by the AIMIM members.
Shaikh Rasheed especially mentioned the name of AIMIM corporator Yunus Isa at least 03 times in his post-election press address, saying he was lucky to have the backing of experienced corporators like Yunus Isa and they would together work for the develpoment of Malegaon.
Earlier while the election process was still on, AIMIM coporator Yunus Isa, who was sitting next to Shaikh Rasheed of Congress in the house, was the first to shake hands with the latter and congratulate him on becoming Malegaon Mayor.
Also, Congress supporters who entered the house after the election results were declared garlanded AIMIM House Leader Khaled Yunus Isa for what they called supporting the "Congress and Shiv Sena to win the Malegaon Mayor and Deputy Mayor election".
In the run-up to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor elections, Malegaon witnessed an unusual political alignment of Congress and Shiv Sena, and that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Janata Dal (S) plus Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
Talks were also abuzz in the city that the AIMIM Malegapn had also entered into an understanding with the Congress and Shiv Sena. Though the AIMIM leadership was silent and continued telling that they would open their cards in the house, the tactical support by the AIMIM extended to the Congress and Shiv Sena proved these rumours correct.
The AIMIM's stand in today's Malegaon Mayor and Deputy Mayor election is surprising as the AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi is known for his strong opposition to the Congress and parties like Shiv Sena and BJP.