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

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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.

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