MUMBAI, Dec. 20 -- After losing power in the state owing to snapping of ties with the Shiv Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to bear the brunt in local rural bodies too.

With the three ruling parties - Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress - deciding to fight the elections for chairpersons of district councils (zilla parishad or ZPs) together, they are likely to gain control over more than 20 district councils in the forthcoming elections for chairman and deputy chairman.

District councils play an important role in rural governance and as such in rural politics.

Of the 34 district councils, the local bodies controlling the ruling part of the district, 25 will go for the elections for their head and deputy, which is ...