The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as a major gainer in the first phase of municipal council polls in Maharashtra on Monday, winning 851 seats across 164 urban local bodies, dealing a blow to the state’s opposition Congress and the NCP.
Elections were held for 3,705 seats spread over the 147 municipal councils and 17 nagar panchayats. Results have been announced for the 3,510 seats. Counting for rest of the seats was still on.
Of the 147 municipal councils, where municipal chiefs were elected directly, BJP nominees won at 52 places, compared to the around half a dozen places, where that party held the civic chief’s posts in these bodies.
The BJP made inroads into the Congress and NCP strongholds, winning 851 seats. Shiv Sena won 514, NCP 638, Congress 643, MNS 16, BSP 9, unrecognised parties 119, local coalitions 384, CPI(M) 12 and independents 324 seats.
In the last elections, BJP tally was 298, Sena 264, Congress 771 and NCP 916
The elections across 25 districts in Maharashtra were seen as ‘mini’ assembly polls and a test of popularity of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who led the BJP’s campaign to extend his party’s influence in the rural areas, where the Congress and the NCP have held sway for long.
The BJP appears to have retained the public’s favour despite the opposition’s fervent claim that the ruling party would face a major loss in the wake of the demonetisation move, which has triggered a cash crunch and spelt troubles for the common man across the country.
“I laud BJP Karyakartas, CM @Dev_Fadnavis & @raosahebdanve. Their grassroot level work ensured people place their valued trust in BJP,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.
I thank people of Maharashtra for placing their faith in BJP in local body polls. This is a win for pro-poor & development politics of BJP.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 28, 2016
BJP chief Amit Shah took a swipe at the Opposition, saying the results were a wake-up call for them.
BJP has emerged as the largest party, I thank people of Maharashtra for their continued support and faith in BJP's development politics.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) November 28, 2016
Maharashtra result should be a wakeup call for opposition attempting to mislead people on #Demonetisation, a decision in national interest.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) November 28, 2016
However, in Parli municipal council in Beed district, women and child development minister Pankaja Munde of the BJP was outsmarted by her cousin and NCP leader, Dhananjay Munde.
The panel backed by Dhananjay, leader of the opposition in legislative council, won 27 of the total 33 seats in Parli.
“I accept the people’s verdict. I will analyse what went wrong and what led people to give this verdict,” Pankaja said.
As many as 15,826 candidates were in the fray for 3,705 seats spread over the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, where voting was held on Sunday in the first phase with around 70% of the electorate exercising its franchise.
Polling was also held for municipal council presidents post in 147 places for which 1,013 candidates were in the race.
In all, 212 civic bodies, comprising municipal councils and nagar panchayats, are going to polls in four phases. The next rounds of voting are scheduled on December 14, December 18 and January 8.