It was tipped to be the battle that may impact the contours of state politics in Maharashtra besides the relations between once staunch allies and now critics BJP and Shiv Sena. It looked Shiv Sena’s game as early trends indicated them nearing the majority mark in India’s richest civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
But the ruling party BJP caught up soon to finish at 80, just four behind Shiv Sena’s 84. Sena, which had ruled BMC for the last 20 years, parted ways with the BJP ahead of the municipal polls.
Meanwhile, once powerful Congress was relegated to distant third position at 31 seats and NCP struggled to score even 9.
“BJP’s win in Maharashtra civic polls is a result of people’s acceptance of our agenda of transparency,” BJP’s man of the moment and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said reacting to the results.
In more good news for the BJP, it is leading and looks set to form its dispensation in at least five other local bodies in Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Solapur and Akola. Its performance in Pune, NCP’s stronghold, is a significant development in the state.
Nearly uprooting Sharad Pawar’s NCP in Pune, BJP is leading on 77 seats, whereas NCP is humbled at 44. The vote count of other civic bodies is still going on.
But the battle of the day is fought in BMC, country’s financial hub Mumbai, which has generated much political heat on account of the fierce fight between once strong allies — BJP and Shiv Sena. Both, however, remains partners in governments in the state and at the Centre despite the acrimony in off-late.
In the lead up to t he polls, Sena was tenacious in its attack on the senior partner and the Centre’s demonetisation policy. It had even participated in the protest march to Rashtrapati Bhavan led by opposition leader and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee during the Winter session of Parliament last year.
Besides the BMC, the votes were also counted for 21,620 candidates on 5,777 seats in the 10 municipal corporations, 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis for which the elections were held in two phases.
Apart from Mumbai, the municipal corporations which went to the polls were Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.
The districts where elections to 283 panchayat samitis were held are – Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Beed, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Hingoli, Jalgaon, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Wardha, Yavatmal, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Solapur, Nashik, Amravati and Gadchiroli.
(With inputs from the PTI)