The ruling Congress and NCP suffered a major setback in the second capital of Maharashtra, Nagpur when the BJP-Sena combine emerged as the single largest alliance in the municipal elections and is all set to wrest the civic body, thanks to the unprecedented squabble among the Congress leaders during the elections.
However, the Congress and the NCP have succeeded to keep the saffron alliance away from the power in Amravati and Akola municipal corporations.
In Nagpur, the BJP wrested 11 out of 14 seats from the Congress in East Nagpur area, a citadel for the Guardian minister of Nagpur district, Satish Chaturvedi while it also fared well in Central Nagpur, the constituency of another Maharashtra minister, Anees Ahmed.
The saffron combine got 63 seats (BJP 56 and Sena 7) while the Congress obtained 33 and the NCP bagged only 8 seats in a 135-member house.
Prominent losers include the city Mayor Naresh Gawande (Congress), the former mayors, Rajesh Tambe and Kishore Dorle (both Independents).
In an interesting keen contest, the BJP nominee, Snehal Gotmare won from the Sonegaon ward by defeating her nearest Congress rival, Rekha Barhate with a thin margin of just five votes. Gotmare polled 2609 while Rekha got 2604 votes.
The ruling Congress lost primarily here because of groupism within the organisation - between Satish Chaturvedi and the union minister, Vilasrao Muttemwar. The chaos in the party could be gauged from the fact that it had distributed AB forms more than one candidate in as many as 12 wards that led to contest eight Congress candidates as independents.
The infighting had also led to the chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to skip the poll campaign in the city. Deshmukh had visited Akola and Amravati for campaigning of the party candidates but refrained from coming to Nagpur due to bitter infighting in the party.
On the other hand, Munde also did not come in the region because his known rivalry with the state BJP chief Nitin Gadkari. And that’s why the Nagpur poll was a prestigious issue for Gadkari, who single-handedly campaigned for the candidates in the region, neglecting Mumbai, Pune and other parts of western Maharashtra.
However, his party could not retain the Akola municipal while it also lost in Amravati. Akola civic body was wrested by the Congress-NCP combine. Akola is the lone municipal corporation where both the principal allies of the DF government - Congress and NCP - succeeded to make a pre-poll adjustment while the saffron combine had contested elections in three other civic bodies in the region by sharing seats.
In Akola, the Congress bagged 19 seats while its ally NCP got 12. The BJP and Sena combine obtained only 17 seats in a 71-member house. In Amravati, the Congress is likely to retain the civic body with the help of NCP. In 81-member house, the Congress got 21 and the NCP bagged 18 while the BJP-Sena combine got 26 only seats.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena floated by rebel Sena leader Raj Thackeray, got two seats in Nagpur while it bagged one seat each in Akola and Amravati.
The Counting of votes for NMC and two other municipal bodies in the region began at 9.00 in the morning and ended by 3.30 pm. Nearly 60 per cent voters in Nagpur while 70 in Akola and 65 in Amravati had exercised their franchise.
The mood was jubilant outside the Vidarbha unit office of BJP at Dhantoli since the results came there, with saffron brigade gathering in large numbers with flags and bursting crackers.
Nagpur - total seats 136 – elections held in 135 wards
BJP –56, Shiv Sena – 07, Congress—33, NCP-08, BSP – 05, MNS—02, RPI factions –8, others –16
Amravati - Total seats: 81
Congress – 21, NCP – 18, BJP – 15, Shiv Sena – 11, RPI – 03, MNS—01 and Others – 12
Akola – Total seats: 71
Congress—19, NCP 12, BJP- 10, Sena – 07, RPI (Ambedkar) – 10, MNS—01, SP—02, Others – 10