The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena will face a litmus test in the first phase of the massive civic polls scheduled on Sunday. The parties are far behind the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the 164 municipal councils and nagar panchayats, elections are scheduled. It will be a challenge, especially for the BJP, to win more seats to maintain the political clout it established in the 2014 assembly elections.
About 80% of the state’s population will vote in the elections for the civic bodies, including 26 district councils and 10 municipal corporations, in next four months. All the ministers from ruling parties and key Congress and NCP leaders participated in rallies across the state in support of their candidates. The BJP ensured that its ministers went all out with their campaigns and made maximum contact with the voters. The party is worried of repercussions owing to hardships faced by its voter base owing to demonetisation. BJP MP and actress Hema Malini conducted a few rallies for party candidates in Chandrapur district on Thursday.
There are 15, 826 candidates from various parties in the fray for 3,705 seats in 1,967 wards. As many as 658.49 lakh voters will vote. The results will be declared on Monday.
Meanwhile, the state election commission confiscated unaccounted for cash worth Rs26.04 crore, and illegal liquor worth Rs1.24 lakh from parts of the state. The police have detained 3,173 people with criminal records as precautionary measures.