Maharashtra civic polls: Who will win Panvel, Bhiwandi, Malegaon? Counting begins
Mumbai city news: This is the first election for Panvel, which got a brand new municipal corporation last yearmumbai Updated: May 26, 2017 10:10 IST
It’s a day of reckoning for the state’s three major political parties — the BJP, Shiv Sena and the Congress — as the results are set to be announced today for three municipal corporations in Panvel, Bhiwandi and Malegaon. Voting was held in all three places on Wednesday.
And it may just be a case of in with the new and out with the old — especially in Panvel, which got a brand new municipal corporation last year, making this the first election for its residents. Up for grabs: 78 seats in 20 wards, which include Kharghar, Kalamboli and Kamothe. Panvel last went in for civic elections in 2011, when it only had a municipal council. The Congress had won with a clear majority. It won 21 seats from the 10 wards that went to polls. The Mahayuti bagged 17 seats — this included the PWP which won 11 seats, the Shiv Sena (3) and the NCP (3). But this year, the BJP has also jumped in the fray.
The primary contest is between the BJP and the PWP alliance, which includes the Congress and the NCP.
But the contest to watch is between allies the BJP and the Sena, which decided not to go in for an alliance at the last minute. The Sena had campaigned hard against its ally in the state government and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was the face of the party in the elections.
The Sena is going solo hoping to become the decisive factor in case of a hung house.
The story is completely different in Bhiwandi. Its more than 40% Muslim voters have traditionally voted for the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP). In the 2012 civic polls, the Congress bagged 26 seats, while the Sena and SP were tied in second place with 16 seats a piece. This year, the parties battle for 90 seats in the Bhiwandi-Nizampur City Municipal Corporation (BNCMC). The magic number to reach: 40. The Congress is contesting 64 seats, the Sena is contesting 57 and the SP 34. While the Sena has always succeeded in polarising non-Muslim voters, the Congress is hoping that Muslim voters choose it over the SP and the AIMIM. The BJP, which has traditionally won just 8-10 seats in Bhiwandi, is hoping to make a mark by contesting 62 seats this time. The party has got support from the Konark Vikas Aghadi, which is contesting 20 seats. It had won six seats in the previous election.
Like Bhiwandi, a majority of voters in Malegaon, in Nashik district, are from the Muslim community. More than 60 of 84 wards are dominated by Muslim voters. The BJP has fielded 29 candidates from the community, of which 16 are women, with the hope of winning a few seats from these pockets, which have never voted for the party in the past. It is also eyeing most of the 20 seats in the Hindu-dominated areas of the city.
But with its majority Muslim voterbase, there are better chances of the Congress or the NCP — which has formed an alliance local unit of the Janata Dal — emerging with the highest number of seats.