Record BMC Turnout Leaves BJP Happy
Celebrities and slum dwellers show equal enthusiasm Sena may be forced to accept BJP support in corporation & continue to support Fadnavis
Our Political Bureau
Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls saw a record 55% voter tur nout on Tuesday, with celebrities and slum dwellers showing equal enthusiasm in exercising their franchise. The average turnout for all 10 municipal corporations in the state was pegged at 56%.
State Election Commission officials said that the final figures were still being tabulated but the Mumbai voting percentage would be around 55%. In the 2012 municipal elections, the voting percentage was just 44%. The previous best turnout was recorded in 1992, at 49%. Eminent personalities who turned up to vote includedNCPpresident Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray former CM Manohar Joshi, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, BJP l e a d e r s Ashish Shelar, Poonam Mahajan,ShainaNC,formerpolice commissioner Julio Ribeiro, cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sandeep Patil, filmmakers Zoya Akhtar, Gulzar, Subhash Ghai and Kunal Kapoor, filmstars Rekha, Anushka Shar ma, Shreyas Talpade, Prem Chopra, Shraddha Kapoor and Manyata Dutt.
With higher voter turnout usually regarded as a precursor to change of incumbent, Shiv Sena that has been ruling BMC for 25 years has reasons to be uneasy, after having fought the polls all by itself. The BJP, on the other hand, was delighted and optimistic, even before it reached 50%.
Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said that it was well known that a high voter turnout meant change.
Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said that it was well known that a high voter turnout meant change
Shelar pointed out that during the last assembly polls, the voting percentage had increased to 54% in the metropolis, which led to the party winning 15 seats from the region. It remains to be seen though whether a 10 point increase would push the BJP tally to 100 from 31 it held in the outgoing BMC.
The BJP was also buoyed by various exit polls figures that projected the Shiv Sena of winning only 85 to 90 seats, whereas the BJP expected to win 80-85 seats.
The fate of the BJP government in Maharashtra is to some extent dependent on the outcome of the BMCpolls.TheDevendraFadnavis ministry is supported by the Sena which has threatened to pull out of the government after the civic polls. However if the BJP manages to get an equal number of seats as the Sena, then the latter would be forced to share power in the BMC with the former and continue to lend support to the minority government of Fadnavis.