Mumbai civic polls: Small margins make big difference
Marathi votes are likely to be mainly divided among the Shiv Sena, MNS and BJPmumbai Updated: Jan 30, 2017 10:46 IST
The split between the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the absence of alliance between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have made the fight for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) multi-cornered. What this means is many candidates may win with narrow margins, making it all the more important for you to cast your vote.
In the 2012 BMC elections, the winning margin was less than 500 votes for 35-odd seats, while the number of such winning seats in 2007 was just 28. This time, the division of votes could make winning tougher for the candidates and political parties, according to political analysts.
For the first time in the past more than two decades, all major political parties are contesting the elections for the country’s richest civic body separately. The ruling parties in the civic body have snapped ties, as old as 22 years, over disagreement on the number of seats to be shared.
Similarly, the Congress and NCP, too, are contesting on their own, after having teamed up in the 2012 elections. Moreover, Asaddudin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Samajwadi Party and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena are fielding sizable candidates.
“Each vote will count for candidates. Mumbai has not seen such a competition in the recent history of BMC polls. It will be a neck-and-neck fight and winning margin will be narrow,” political analyst Pratap Asbe told HT.
The Sena has a stronghold in the Marathi heartland and the BJP’s support used to help the saffron alliance bring in votes from non-Marathi communities such as Gujaratis and north Indians. With this combination, they dominated the BMC for about two decades. But this time, the BJP will try to make inroads in the strong bastion of Sena along with non-Marathi votes.
A closer look at the 2012 BMC results shows of the 35 seats, the Congress won 11, while the Sena stood second by winning seven seats. The Congress got the second position on 13 seats.
In the 2012 polls, both the Congress and the NCP contested the BMC elections together and won 65 seats (Congress-52 and NCP-13) of the total 227 seats. But now they will contest against each other and the AIMIM is likely to eat into Congress’ traditional minority votes. Similarly, Marathi votes are likely to be mainly divided among the Shiv Sena, MNS and BJP.
“The multi-cornered fight will result in narrow margin victories, as municipal wards are smaller compared to Assembly constituencies. Votes of each ward may be split into four to five candidates and in some cases, even among six candidates depending on the profiles of the wards. This will definitely make it a close contest,” said Prakash Bal, political analyst.