The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has established itself as the leading party in the country’s financial capital. It won or led in a total of 17 seats of the 36 in Mumbai, at 2pm. The Sena won or was leading in about 10.
In the 60 seats in Mumbai and Thane, the BJP won or led in 25 and the Sena in 18.
Both the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were trailing, with seat tallies in single digits.
The Mumbai win means that “we have well and truly arrived now”, said BJP leader Vinod Tawde, who contested from Borivali. Tawde is the leader of opposition in the legislative council and among the contenders to be the next chief minister.
The party’s big tally in Mumbai is significant in the light of the Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s relentless campaign on regional and linguistic lines which pit the Marathis against Gujaratis.
The Gujarati community is estimated to be 3.5 million strong, of which nearly 2 million were registered voters. The community was perceived to be the BJP’s primary support base and capable of tilting the balance in 13-15 seats including the tony Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, Malad, Kandivali, Borivali, Dahisar, Charkop, Ghatkopar and Mulund in the suburbs.
The Congress had won 17 seats in the city in the 2009 assembly election with a vote share of nearly 29.4%. The BJP had won only five seats in the city five years ago with only 11% of the vote share. Its former ally, the Shiv Sena, had won only four seats but with a higher vote share of nearly 20%.
Mumbai has been considered the Sena’s fortress with the BJP enjoying support in selected pockets. In the general election earlier this year, both the parties who were then in an alliance, had won three seats each of the six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai.