The state election commission has started counting the votes for 147 municipal council and 17 nagar panchayat elections held on Sunday. With the election commission declaring poll results, the fate of major political parties will be decided on Monday.
The poll results are likely to give the public an idea of the standing of various political parties, two years after state assembly elections that led to a change in the state’s regime after 15 years. Currently, a majority of the municipal councils are controlled by the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The election also assumes significance as it is being held amid the cash crisis caused by demonetisation, a move that has severely affected rural areas. The polls are thus being viewed as a litmus test for the Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
This election is the beginning of phase-wise elections to civic bodies of ten major cities and district councils of the rural areas, which will take place over four months. The elections are being touted as ‘mini assembly’ polls as more than 80% of Maharashtra’s population are expected to participate.
The outcome of the ‘mini assembly’ elections will show whether the ruling parties have managed to hold sway over the people or if the opposition parties can make a political comeback after crushing defeats in the 2014 elections.
As many as 15,826 candidates were in the fray for the 3,705 seats spread over 1,967 wards of the municipal councils and nagar panchayats. Around 658.49 lakh voters were expected to cast their vote in the poll exercise on Sunday.