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NCP leads, despair for Sena-BJP

india Updated: Dec 14, 2011 01:05 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad

The first phase of the civic elections - touted as mini-assembly polls - has brought cheer to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), limited relief to the Congress and despair to the opposition Shiv Sena-BJP camp.

The results should embolden the NCP-Congress alliance, for which this is the first major success since the assembly elections of 2009.

The elections were held for 168 municipal councils.

Though these are not politically as important as the municipal corporations of Mumbai and Pune, or district councils (zilla parishads), the results show which political parties the people in small cities have preferred. As the elections were held in the background of inflation and anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare's anti-corruption agitation, the results were a surprise for all political parties.

The NCP under deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar won the highest number of municipal councils - 39 - on its own while the single-largest party in the assembly, the Congress, won 33. The main opposition parties - the Shiv Sena and BJP - won 13 councils between them.

Various other fronts comprising different parties won 29 councils. The results of 35 councils have not been declared and elections in 17 councils are yet to be held.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan should be relieved because the Congress has not done as badly as anticipated by his colleagues.

The results have confirmed Ajit Pawar's authority in his party and his ability to win polls for the NCP. The Pawar camp handled the planning and management of the poll campaign.

Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray will have to chalk out a better strategy if he has to emerge as a contender for the CM's chair in 2014.