The Bharatiya Janata Party has emerged as a major gainer in the first phase of municipal council polls in Maharashtra on Monday. The party won 851 seats across 164 urban local bodies. The results were a setback for the Congress and the NCP.
The elections across 25 districts in Maharashtra were seen as ‘mini’ assembly polls and also a mini-referendum on Modi government’s demonetisation move.
Both Congress and the NCP are fighting it alone this time, whereas the alliance between BJP and Shiv Sena is intact.
Elections were held for 3,705 seats spread over the 147 municipal councils and 17 nagar panchayats. Of the 147 municipal councils, where municipal chiefs were elected directly, BJP nominees won at 52 places.
The BJP made inroads into the Congress and NCP strongholds, winning 851 seats.
Shiv Sena won 514, NCP 638, Congress 643, MNS 16, BSP 9, unrecognised parties 119, local coalitions 384, CPM 12 and Independents 324 seats.
In the last elections, BJP tally was 298, Sena 264, Congress 771 and NCP 916
“I thank people of Maharashtra for placing their faith in BJP in local body polls. This is a win for pro-poor & development politics of BJP,” PM Modi tweeted after BJP’s win.
“I laud BJP Karyakartas, CM @Dev_Fadnavis & @raosahebdanve. Their grassroot level work ensured people place their valued trust in BJP,” said the PM in a another tweet.
Talking about the party’s performance, Maharashtra Chief Minisyer Devendra Fadnavis said, “We won due to the blessings of Chhatrapati Shivaji and the people of Maharashtra.”
Hailing the mandate for the BJP, he said it shows that people are with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of transparency.
Meanwhile, Ashok Chavan conceded that his party needed to work harder.
“We need to work harder and rework our strategy in the upcoming phases. BJP’s money power helped them win more seats. This is not the only reason for their success. We also need to work hard,” Chavan told reporters.
Meanwhile, NCP leader Nawab Malik said, “BJP won due to money and the fact that it was in power. However, it will bear the brunt of demonetisation in the next phase.”
“BJP leaders Raosaheb Danve, Pankaja Munde and Babanrao Lonikar could not get their candidates elected,” Malik added.
The next rounds of voting are scheduled on December 14, December 18, and January 8.
(With inputs from PTI)