NASHIK: Even though civic polls have been postponed and ambiguity persists over the new ward structure, the bugle has sounded for a five-yearly Nashik Municipal Corporation general elections 2022 as the political stalwarts have started preparations in advance.
There will be an increase of 11 new corporators in Nashik city this term. After this, the political atmosphere is feeling the heat before the summer, while many heavyweights are preparing to enter the election fray including five former mayors, former deputy mayors and standing committee chairpersons.
Satish Kulkarni, the sitting Mayor and senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has been leading in his municipal ward since 1997. Although people of all castes live and some Muslim-majority areas have been added to Mayor Kulkarni’s ward, he has won the hearts of the people by carrying out a lot of development works in his entire ward and connected area.
However, considering his age factor, there is talk that his second generation, his daughter Sandhya Kulkarni or son Vaibhav will be contesting. However, incumbent Mayor Kulkarni has announced that he has decided not to contest the election this term.
Meanwhile, after the Bharatiya Janata Party gave Satish Kulkarni a chance to become the Mayor, Kulkarni made full use of his experience and tried to work for the development of Nashik city. Municipal bus service was started during his tenure.
Namami Goda, a dream project of Mayor Satish Kulkarni, has also received Rs 1823 crore from the central government. Similarly, he has taken initiative to make Logistics Park, IT hub in Nashik, besides planning to develop about 22 plots in the city on build, operate, transfer (BOT) basis.
While developing Nashik city, it is seen that the sitting mayor has worked in such a way that the revenue of NMC should also be increased and local sons of the soil should get employment, self employment.
In 2017, for the first time, Nashikites had handed over power to the BJP. In the last phase of the campaign, after the then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the adoption of Nashik in the Nashik Assembly, the atmosphere changed in favour of BJP. After this, the BJP gave the opportunity to Ranjana Bhansi, a senior women corporator of the party, who had been elected from Panchavati since 1997, for the mayoral post.
She had twice contested from the Open seat reserve for men, and three times from the women’s reserve. Many development works were done in the city during her term, now she is preparing to enter the election fray again from her preferred Ward no. 2.
While Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray’s party had miraculously won more than 40 seats in the 2012 Nashik Municipal Corporation elections. Party chief Thackeray had appointed Adv Yatin Wagh, a lawyer by profession, as the party’s first Mayor. After that, Ashok Murtadak, who was elected from Panchavati division for the second time, was given the opportunity to become the mayor.
Adv Wagh has been a corporator for ten years. He was the Mayor for two and a half years. Similarly, Ashok Murtadak has been elected since 1997. Both former mayors are currently preparing for the 2022 civic election. Adv Wagh will be contesting from Ward No. 18 while Ashok Murtadak will be contesting from 6 or 5. Meanwhile, Wagh, who became the first mayor from MNS, is currently in the Shiv Sena, while Murtadak is in MNS.
Murtadak’s son Vishal Murtadak is also preparing to contest the municipal elections for the first time this term. On the other hand, former Shiv Sena mayor and senior leader Vinayak Pandey is again in the fray for municipal polls. Pandey was a corporator for 15 years but did not contest in 2017. Now his son Rituraj and Pandey himself are preparing to contest.
It is understood that Pandey will try his luck from Ward 19 in Old Nashik. He is a senior leader of Shiv Sena and the party has already given him many important responsibilities. He has been star campaigner for Shiv Sena while holding posts of the Mayor, District Chief etc. As a result, he will be seen on the election field again this term. He has also shown his inclination to contest Vidhan Sabha and/or Lok Sabha elections.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former minister and former mayor Dr Shobha Bachhav will not contest the municipal elections. She may contest Assembly or Lok Sabha elections. Senior Shiv Sena leader, former MLA and former mayor Vasant Gite will not be seen in the municipal election battle. However, he is preparing for the Assembly elections.
Senior BJP leader, former mayor and former MLA Balasaheb Sanap will not also be in the fray, while his son Machhindra will be in the fray again. He said that he would try to bring the party back to power in the Municipal Corporation. Similarly, former mayor and senior leader Ashok Dive will not be a candidate in the municipal elections but his two children are corporators and it seems that they are still interested.