As campaigning for the civic body elections gain momentum, the very first poll prediction is out of political circles. The verdict of a Nationalist Congress Party commissioned survey is that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will have a hung house.
No political party either the ruling saffron alliance or the contenders Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will win a clear majority.
These are the findings of a survey commissioned by NCP to find out voting trends and likely result of civic polls.
The polls to the richest civic body - budget of over Rs 7,000 crore - is going to be a four cornered fight among Sena-BJP, Raj Thackeray's nascent Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Congress and the NCP.
The survey revealed a rosier picture for Congress and NCP if they had contested the elections together at 123 seats.
However, in the face of going solo, Congress is predicted to get 79 seats to NCP's 26 seats. This means even in case of a post alliance their tally will be 105 and they will not gain majority on their own, says the survey.
"The survey did reveal a win-win situation for both Congress and NCP together. But, even after going solo, we don't have much to lose. The survey states we will get over 26 seats, now with good candidates we can cross 30-35,'' said NCP spokesman Prakash Binsale.
The sample size of the survey was 22,000 with about 100 respondents in each civic ward.
The prediction gets gloomier for the saffron alliance. The survey stated that Sena and BJP will manage to win 67 seats and MNS can be a surprise factor by wining 21 seats-something even MNS leaders will find difficult to swallow at this stage.
There are other interesting tit-bits of information: More than half of the respondents find women corporators sincere and less corrupt. An equal number want youth to contest elections and demand transparency in administration. One third of them say they could not trust their corporators and found them opportunistic.
No prizes for guessing this: The survey finds NCP head honcho Sharad Pawar as the most popular leader with `vision and charisma'. Pawar is followed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
"Sharad Pawar will be the face of our poll campaign. The survey has revealed him as the most popular leader in the state,'' said Jayant Patil, finance minister and a member of NCP's think tank for civic polls.