Civic body poll results: Devendra Fadnavis emerges stronger in Maharashtra
Fadnavis led BJP to a stunning victory in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, unseating NCP which enjoys Maratha support, and in Solapur, ending Congress’s 40-year rule.mumbai Updated: Feb 24, 2017 12:00 IST
Around six months back, when the massive Maratha protests gripped the state, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis looked tense, even hinting his insecurity of completing the five-year term. On Thursday, when the civic body poll results were out, Fadnavis had consolidated his position.
The BJP emerged victorious not just in urban Maharashtra, it comfortably established leads in the villages too. In western Maharashtra, the region Marathas stormed by coming out on streets in large numbers, the BJP’s performance has been stunning.
The party recorded unprecedented wins in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, unseating NCP which enjoys Maratha support, and in Solapur, ending Congress’s 40-year rule.
The party also swept the countryside by winning almost half of the 25 Zilla Parishads that went to polls. The party won 398 seats against 187 it had bagged in the previous elections.
The outcome of the polls indicated unprecedented mobilisation of Marathas actually helping the BJP in dual ways in western Maharashtra and some other parts of the state.
While the community strongly backed BJP for the promises government made besides handling the emotional issue by laying the foundation stone of Chhatrapati Shivaji in Arabian sea, the OBCs and Dalits too were seen rallying behind the party, hoping Fadnavis will turn down two key demands of Marathas—dilution of Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act and inclusion of Marathas in the OBC category.
According to political observers, the Maratha marches consolidated OBCs and Dalits who decided to back the Fadnavis government after it declined to dilute the POA Act, which provide shield to backward communities from any kind of atrocities by upper caste.
Prakash Pawar, professor, political science, Shivaji University, noted that both the Marathas and the OBCs and the Dalits were polarised towards the Fadnavis government.
The government also fast-tracked the trial in Kopardi case in which a minor girl from Maratha community was raped and murdered, triggering protests in the state. Fast-tracking of the case helped government assuage the sentiments among the community.
Meanwhile, the Maratha outfits who also fought the elections, failed to mark their presence.