Senior Maharashtra minister Chandrakant Patil has waded into controversy by saying that the code of conduct for elections to 26 Zilla Parishads and 12 municipal corporations may come into effect from January 5 even before the State Election Commission announced the poll schedule.
The minister's 'prediction' has surprised many as it comes before SEC formally making the announcement.
"The code of conduct for these polls looks likely to be in place on January 5. Elections are likely to take place between February 15 and 21," Patil told reporters in Kolhapur on Monday.
"I think these polls will be in four phases," the revenue minister, who hails from Kolhapur, said.
"It also looks like in case of districts having municipal corporations, polls for ZP and muncipal corporation will be held on the same day," Patil said.
The polls come in the wake of three phases of municipal council and nagar panchayat elections in the state, in which ruling BJP has registered significant gains. Among the corporations where polls are scheduled is the cash-rich BMC in Mumbai, where BJP is trying to elect its mayor, breaking the almost two-decade long 'monopoly' of bickering ally Shiv Sena.