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BJP cuts tiger’s tail, wins 8 of 10 Maharashtra corporations

BJP cuts tiger’s tail, wins 8 of 10 Maharashtra corporations
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BJP cuts tiger’s tail, wins 8 of 10 Maharashtra corporations

PUNE CIVIC POLLS 2017 – BJP party workers celebrate the Corporation election in Pune after winning, a leading party in Pune.
BMC election results 2017: BJP makes big gains in Mumbai

HIGHLIGHTS

The poll results are a major boost to the BJP, which swept 8 out of 10 corporations in the state that went to the pollsIt is a serious setback for Shiv Sena in its bastion, MumbaiBJP was the single largest party in Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur

MUMBAI: In the hierarchy of elections, municipal elections are generally considered a lowly third, after Lok Sabha and Assembly. But the very bitter falling-out between allies BJP and Shiv Sena had already injected a strong element of both political and personal drama into the elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the country’s richest civic body, which the Thackerays have controlled for two consecutive decades. That the interest of Mumbaikars had been piqued was evident from the 55%-plus turnout on Tuesday – the highest in at least 25 years and higher than even the 2014 LS elections.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had all but staked his reputation — many said rashly — on the outcome of civic elections across the state, more so in India’s financial capital. And the first two-three hours of counting of votes on Thursday seemed to suggest that he had, indeed, gambled foolishly. Nothing, it seemed, could come in the way of the Sena extending its reign in Mumbai to a quarter of a century.

And then, fortune began to swing. As BJP’s tally began to climb relentlessly, what had looked like a one-sided game turned into a last-ball cliffhanger – transfixing the attention of a previously ‘politically apathetic’ city.

Uddhav Thackeray’s party, which had said the BJP didn’t deserve more than 60 seats in a seat-sharing pact, ended the day as the single largest party but by a mere whisker – a couple of seats ahead of its estranged ally, which ran a high-decibel campaign against rampant corruption and lack of transparency in the Sena-dominated corporation, richly harvesting the anti-incumbency vote despite having been a junior partner in the ruling civic alliance.

The results are a major boost to the BJP, which swept eight out of 10 corporations in the state that went to the polls, and a serious setback for the Sena in its bastion, Mumbai, where it was born in 1966. Though it held on to its Marathi votebank, it failed to come within striking distance of the majority mark of 114 in a house of 227 and was matched in tantalizing fashion, as the day of counting progressed, seat for seat, by the BJP which drew heavily on Gujarati-Marwari and North Indian votes and a section of the Marathi-speaking population as well.

But with the two parties falling 28 and 30 seats short of 227, all eyes are now on the possible permutations and combinations that could help one of them win the mayoral election, unless they now choose to bury the hatchet and join hands.

Elsehwere, the BJP was the single largest party in Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.

The BJP had conducted a vociferous campaign against rampant corruption and alleged lack of transparency in the Sena-dominated BMC and harvested the anti-incumbency vote despite having been a junior partner in the ruling alliance in the corporation.

For the 25 zilla parishads, BJP won 397 of the 1,509 seats for which polls were held. It was followed by the NCP with 336, Congress with 293 and Shiv Sena with 259. MNS got one and others 147. Results of 76 seats were still awaited.

For the 2,990 panchayat samiti seats, BJP won the most seats, 803, while the NCP got 630, Congress 555 and Sena 538. MNS pocketed just two and Others won 281 seats. Results in 181 seats were awaited at the time of going to press.

“Our victory is the result of people’s acceptance of our agenda of transparency,” Fadnavis said and indicated the party would explore its options. And Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, when asked what next, said, “What is the hurry? Wait for some time. We have not yet decided if an alliance has to be made or not. We will do so soon.”

The Congress, which was decimated across the city, managed just 31 seats (it had held 51 earlier), the NCP nine seats, and the MNS was reduced to seven from 28; all become important in a hung corporation where both the BJP and the Sena are likely to try to obtain support to build a majority.

The Sena maintained its grip on areas with a Maharashtrian majority, bagging 19 of 35 seats in south-central Mumbai and reclaiming key seats in Dadar (which the MNS had won last time). It swept Naigaum, Parel and Lalbaug, where it won six of seven wards. Similarly, in areas like Prabhadevi and Worli, it won all seven seats.

The tough battle between Sena heavyweight Vishakha Raut and MNS’s Swapna Deshpande in Dadar resulted in Raut taking home the saffron pheta (turban). Former Sena leader Nana Ambole, who defected to the BJP, and his wife Tejaswini were handed a bitter defeat by first-time Sena candidate Sindhu Masurkar in Parel-Lalbaug. “Citizens have voted for me to teach a lesson to people like Ambole who leave the party for personal gain,” Masurkar said.

The suburbs, where voting trends became clear after the Sena’s pre-noon headstart, gave the BJP a late but impressive surge. Both the western and eastern suburbs, and chiefly cosmopolitan middle-class and upper-middle-class areas, solidly backed the BJP. The mercantile community steadfastly stuck to the lotus, dispelling notions that “notebandi” might have turned them against Modi’s party.

In the northern suburbs, between Dahisar and Goregaon, the BJP won more than 50% of the seats (32 out of 58), in Ghatkopar East it bagged two out of three, and it swept all six seats in Mulund because of votes from the Gujarati-Kutchi community. The BJP candidate for Borivli, Pravin Shah, won by a huge margin: 19,580 votes. Congressman Pravin Chheda failed to run past BJP entrepreneur Parag Shah, the richest candidate in the city, who contested an election for the first time.

Of the total 82 seats the party won, 27 corporators have a Gujarati background. The Jains, apparently unhappy with the Sena stance on the meat ban during Paryushan, also joined the ranks of the BJP in large numbers.

In another turnabout, the Catholic community of Bandra, Khar and Santacruz, longtime Congress loyalists, brought back merely one Congress corporator. In 2012, four of the six seats here had gone to that party.

The Samajwadi Party won six seats in Muslim-dominated localities, down three from last time, while the MIM, which made its debut in the civic polls, won two seats. Two Muslim candidates from the Sena, too, won, suggesting that a section of Muslim votes went to the Sena. All five Muslim candidates from the BJP lost.

Some big guns of the Sena in the corporation lost their seats. Its possible mayoral candidate Yashodhar Shailesh Phanse, three-time chairperson of the BMC’s standing committee, lost to newcomer Yogiraj Dabhadkar of the BJP. Others like Trushna Vishwasrao, Devendra Ambekar and Surendra Bagalkar lost by narrow margins.

And as the Mumbai map changed colour through the day to split shades of saffron, just how close the Sena-BJP contest was became clear from the tie in Kumbharwada where a lottery finally decided the winner (BJP).

The BJP made major gains in all 10 municipal corporation polls in Maharashtra, emerging as the single largest party in eight corporations, including one in the Mumbai Metro Region (Ulhasnagar). Here is how the polls went in the seven corporations outside the Mumbai Metro Region as per the latest leads:

In Pune, the BJP kicked out the NCP, racing to victory with 77 out of the corporation’s 152 seats, pushing the NCP to a distant second place with 44 seats. In Nashik, it displaced the MNS, bagging 55 of 112 seats, while the MNS plunged from 40 to just three and the Shiv Sena came second with 35. The BJP retained Nagpur, taking 91 of 151 seats, vastly improving on its previous tally of 62; the Congress came second with 23.

The NCP bastion of Pimpri-Chinchwad (128 seats) and the Congress stronghold of Solapur (102) saw a change of guard. In the former, the BJP, taking 58 seats, pushed the ruling NCP to second place; against its 2012 tally of 83, the NCP could manage only 29 this time. In the latter the BJP bagged 25 seats, followed by the Sena (10), and the Congress, whose tally plummeted from 45 to six.

The BJP was victorious also in Amravati and Akola, the smallest among the seven corporations (87 and 73 seats). It replaced the Congress in the first, taking 44 seats, and improved its 2012 tally by two in the second, taking 20 seats.

Source:- The Times of India

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