Pimpri: Leaders holding key posts in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), including the mayor, the leader of the house and the leader of the opposition, will be replaced soon by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Mayor Nitin Kalje, whose 15-month term is scheduled to end in June is likely to be replaced by Rahul Jadhav, who resigned as Standing Committee member recently. His name has almost been finalised for the post of mayor. The NCP has chosen Nana Kate as leader of the opposition.
To balance the power equation within the BJP, the party appointed Shatrughan Kate as the Leader of the House in place of Eknath Pawar.
In February 2017 civic polls, citizens of Pimpri Chinchwad gave a clear mandate to the BJP, which was due to the help by party city unit president and MLA Laxman Jagtap and MLA Mahesh Landge, who changed their loyalty from the NCP to the BJP before the Assembly polls.
Nitin Kalje, a staunch supporter of MLA Landge, became the mayor on March 14, 2017. Kalje was chosen over party loyalist Namdev Dhake, a strong contender for the mayor’s post.
Eknath Pawar, also known as a party loyalist, became the Leader of the House. Seema Savale, a staunch supporter of MLA Laxman Jagtap, was elected Chairperson of the first Standing Committee after the BJP came to power.
There was bickering in the BJP for the post of the chairman of Standing Committee at the time of replacing chairperson after one year. Rahul Jadhav, who is a staunch supporter of MLA Mahesh Landge, quit as member of the committee as he was not considered for the post. But his resignation was not accepted by the mayor. Last week, it was accepted by the mayor on the directions from the State party leadership. After this decision, efforts for replacing the mayor have intensified.
The BJP decided to replace the mayor after completion of 15 months. Kalje was elected from the OBC category on a Kunabi caste certificate. The OBC organisations had opposed his election for a post reserved for the OBC. The organisations met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with their demand. In this backdrop, a person obtaining the Kunabi caste certificate is not likely to get the post of mayor. So, chances for Rahul Jadhav are bright as he belongs to a caste other than Kunabi in the OBC category.
On the other hand, the NCP has chosen Nana Kate from Chinchwad for the post of the opposition leader. Kate can be given the post of the leader of the house to balance the power equation. However, Shital Shinde, who resigned from the Standing Committee, is likely to become the deputy mayor.
Committee members and chairpersons of the ward committees will also be replaced.