BMC elec­tion re­sults out to­day; stakes high for Sena and BJP In­dia blames China for lack of con­sen­sus on Jaish chief

WAIT FOR VER­DICT Voter turnout rise in both par­ties’ strongholds points to close con­test: Ex­perts

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Manasi Phadke, Chetna Yerunkar ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com Su­tirtho Pa­tra­nobis let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The city turned out in large num­bers to vote in Tues­day’s civic polls in ar­eas dom­i­nated by the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But this does not give ei­ther party an edge over the other. In fact, what lies ahead is a tough fight be­tween the friend­sturned-foes.

The in­crease in the per­cent­age of voter turnout as com­pared to the 2012 BMC polls is also not an in­di­ca­tor of a clear trend. Rea­son: The vot­ers’ list has been sub­stan­tially down­sized since 2012.

Although the voter turnout jumped to 55.53%, as com­pared to 44.75 % in 2012, the vot­ers’ list shrunk to 91.8 lakh from 1.02 crore. The ac­tual num­ber of vot­ers this elec­tion were just 4.94 lakh more than in 2012.

Deepak Pawar, a fac­ulty mem­ber of the de­part­ment of pol­i­tics in the Mum­bai Univer­sity, said, “Usu­ally, a sig­nif­i­cant jump in voter turnout means the ir­reg­u­lar voter, tired of the cur­rent sys­tem, has voted, which trans­lates into a strong anti-in­cum­bency vote. But in this case, with the ab­so­lute num­ber of vot­ers hav­ing barely changed, anti-in­cum­bency is def­i­nitely not the case.”

He said with the fight be­ing cut­throat and one of pres­tige for both the Sena and the BJP, both par­ties tried to mo­bilise their cadre to en­sure ev­ery voter in their re­spec­tive strongholds, even the re­luc­tant ones, are made to vote. “This may have re­sulted in the high­est spike in the wards dom­i­nated by both par­ties,” Pawar said.

Of the five wards that recorded the high­est turnout among Mum­bai’s 24 ad­min­is­tra­tive wards, two have a larger Sena pres­ence in terms of cor­po­ra­tors, while two have more BJP cor­po­ra­tors. SENA-BJP MAKE A COME­BACK FOR ‘THE GOOD OF MUM­BAI’ SENA SPRINGS A SUR­PRISE, STEALS THE LEAD BJP’S DEVEL­OP­MENT AGENDA SCORES OVER SENA SENA LEADS IN BMC AND TAKES TACIT SUP­PORT OF CONGRESS

In­dia on Wed­nes­day dis­missed China’s con­tention that it has not fur­nished enough ev­i­dence against Pak­istan-based ter­ror­ist Ma­sood Azhar, with for­eign sec­re­tary S Jais­hankar telling se­nior Chi­nese of­fi­cials that the bur­den of proof is not on New Delhi.

China, a veto-wield­ing UN mem­ber, has blocked mul­ti­ple ef­forts by In­dia and other na­tions to sanc­tion Azhar — a cit­i­zen of its ally Pak­istan — at the world body.

The In­dian of­fi­cial also re­it­er­ated In­dia’s con­cerns on the Chi­naPak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) that passes through Pak­istan-oc­cu­pied Kash­mir, mak­ing it clear that it was a “sovereignty” is­sue and the ba­sis for New Delhi’s re­fusal to be a part of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI), For­eign sec­re­tary S Jais­hankar with Chi­nese for­eign min­is­ter Wang Yi be­fore a meet­ing in Bei­jing on Wed­nes­day.

an inter-con­ti­nen­tal con­nec­tiv­ity pro­ject floated by Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping.

Last week, China con­tended In­dia is yet to pro­vide “solid ev­i­dence” against Azhar. “Cor­rect. There isn’t a con­sen­sus

be­cause China hasn’t joined it,” Jais­hankar said when asked about the is­sue. In­dia’s un­der­stand­ing is that there is “over­whelm­ing sup­port” in the world com­mu­nity for its po­si­tion.

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