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Thane civic polls: Established parties get affected

Despite the increased voter turnout in Thane, established political parties took a beating in last week's civic body elections, reports Devendra Goregaonkar.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2007 00:01 IST

Despite the increased voter turnout in Thane, established political parties took a beating in last week's civic body elections. It is clear that new parties and independent candidates have encroached upon their vote bank.

According to data from the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), 5,15,084 of the total 9,06,572 voters exercised their franchise recording a turnout of 56.82 per cent. This is much higher than the 41.13 per cent turnout recorded in the 2002 civic elections.

The entry of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the increasing dominance of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) explain the shift in voting patterns.

For instance, the Congress received 22.98 per cent votes in 2002 which reduced to 19.84 per cent this time. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) received 24.05 per cent votes this year compared to 22.54 per cent in 2002. The Shiv Sena (with 25.53 per cent), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP; with 5.3 per cent) and the Republican Party of India (RPI; 0.48 per cent) too saw a declining number of votes in their favour.

They lost to the 11-month-old MNS, which moved ahead of the BJP getting 5.89 per cent votes. BSP recorded 1.68 per cent votes compared to 0.21 per cent in 2002 while SP climbed up to 3.52 per cent from 2.13 per cent. Independent candidates secured 13.3 per cent votes compared to 11.94 per cent in the last elections.

The statistics point out that voters are losing faith in the established political parties and are giving independents and the new parties a chance. This is evident by the fact that SP now has five corporators, MNS has three and the BSP has two. Besides 11 independent corporators will play a part in the TMC.

Interestingly, more than half of the contesting candidates lost their deposits in the elections. In Thane, 392 or 54.6 per cent of the 717 candidates lost their deposit. Among them were 64 candidates from MNS, 34 from the NCP and 30 each from the Congress and the BSP.

The deposit is an amount (up to Rs 3,000) that the candidate forks out before the election. The civic body keeps the money if the candidate polls less than a certain number of votes — calculated on the basis of voter turnout and the number of contesting candidates. The deposit is meant to act as a deterrent for not-so-serious candidates.

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