In a new twist to the political tug-of-war ahead of the March 6 Mayoral polls for Thane civic body in Maharashtra, 'missing' Bharatiya Janata Party corporator Suhasini Lokhande on Sunday said that she was safe and would turn up to cast her vote.
"I am out to pay obeisance to deity and not under any pressure from any political party. I would cast my vote on March 6.... The reports concerning my abduction are false and baseless," Lokhande told a television channel over phone.
The sudden disappearance of the corporator had sparked a controversy with the Shiv Sena-BJP and Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combines trading charges over the 'missing' corporator.
In 130-member Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), Shiv Sena has 53 corporators, BJP 8 and RPI 1. As the three parties have entered into an alliance they are facing a shortfall of 4 seats to reach the magic figure of 66. The saffron alliance is banking on the votes of two independents and also two others to gather the requisite numbers.
NCP has a total of 34 corporators, its partner Congress 18, MNS 7 and BSP 2.
Shiv Sena-BJP had accused NCP of abducting Lokhande whose vote is said to be crucial for the Tuesday polls and had even sought the postponement of the mayoral election but the charges were dismissed by the NCP.
"...This is nothing but the result of an ongoing feud between Shiv Sena and BJP. Their own house is on fire as the Shiv Sena has failed to garner sufficient strength in the
February 16 civic polls in which BJP too was routed," NCP MLA Jitendra Avhad told media persons in Thane.
He also accused the saffron combine of trying to give communal colour to the Mayoral elections.
"BJP and Shiv Sena are trying to drive a wedge between two communities....This kind of propaganda is nothing but a publicity gimmick. The saffron alliance is afraid of getting requisite numbers for the polls and are resorting to such tactics," the MLA told reporters.