Sena Just Ahead in BMC, but BJP Sweeps State

CM Fad­navis’ strat­egy pays off as party wins 8 out of 10 cor­po­ra­tions Sena also re­tains Thane; Congress, NCP & MNS suf­fer heavy losses

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Kr­ishna.Ku­mar @times­group.com

Mum­bai: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won eight out of10 municipal cor­po­ra­tions across Ma­ha­rash­tra and al­most ended ri­val Shiv Sena’s strong­hold over cap­i­tal Mum­bai as chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis’ strat­egy of go­ing it alone in the civic elec­tions paid off hand­somely.

A wave of sup­port for the BJP and Fad­navis across ur­ban Ma­ha­rash­tra sunk the Congress and the NCP, with the BJP emerg­ing vic­to­ri­ous on its own in many civic bod­ies for the first time in many years.

The Sena’s hold over Asia’s rich­est civic body, the BMC, and In­dia’s fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal Mum­bai, built as­sid­u­ously over the years by the late Bal Thackeray, was threat­ened by a late, spec­tac­u­lar BJP surge, which more than dou­bled the party’s seat tally to 82 from 31 in 2012. The Sena cap­tured 84 seats of the 227, while the Congress came a poor third with just 31 seats. Both the BJP and the Sena are now try­ing to cob­ble to­gether num­bers to cross the ma­jor­ity mark. The BJP has al­ready an­nounced that it has the sup­port of four in­de­pen­dents.

Sena Pres­i­dent Ud­dhav Thackeray said the Sena has emerged as the sin­gle-largest and the BJP couldn’t top­ple it de­spite us­ing all “the state ma­chin­ery and money.” Talk­ing to me­di­a­per­sons af­ter the re­sults came in, he said, “The next chief min­is­ter of the state will also be de­cided by the Shiv Sena.”

Fad­navis cred­ited the party's per­for­mance to Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s “clean im­age”. He said the peo­ple had voted for the “trans­parency agenda” of the BJP. Fad­navis hinted that the BJP and Sena could come to­gether for a post-poll ar­range­ment.

“The core com­mit­tee of the two par­ties will soon meet and take a de­ci­sion. We shall re­spect the ver­dict of the peo­ple,” he said when asked about the next mayor.

In Pune, where re­sults for 124 of the 172 seats were de­clared, the BJP man­aged to get 77 seats and in Pim­pri-Chinch­wad, it emerged as the sin­gle-big­gest party with 61 of the 101 seats de­clared (to­tal seats:128). Both Pune and Pim­priChinch­wad are con­sid­ered the strong­hold of the NCP and the drub­bing that the party re­ceived in spite of cam­paign­ing by its lead­ers like Ajit Pawar will lead to tough ques­tions within the party.

In Ul­has­na­gar, too, the BJP has be­come the sin­gle-big­gest party there with 34 seats. The Sena got 25 seats and the NCP, 4. The BJP was the sin­gle-big­gest party in In Akola, Am­ra­vati and Nashik also. The Congress was at the helm in Am­ra­vati.

The Congress lost power in So­la­pur, the do­main of for­mer Union Home Min­is­ter Sushil Ku­mar Shinde. The BJP man­aged to emerge as the sin­gle-largest party with 39 seats.

The re­sults are sig­nif­i­cant for two rea­sons. One, the elec­tions were seen as a ref­er­en­dum on Fad­navis’s rule. Se­condly, the BJP was con­test­ing all the polls on its own with­out al­ly­ing with the Shiv Sena.

Thane is the only mu­nic­i­pal­ity that doesn’t seem to have come un­der the BJP ef­fect with the Sena com­ing up trumps.

ARINDAM

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