Congress salvages pride with civic poll victory | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Congress salvages pride with civic poll victory

Two months after it was drubbed in the elections to civic bodies of Maharashtra's 10 cities, including Mumbai, the Congress has managed to salvage some pride in the hinterland.

mumbai Updated: Apr 17, 2012 02:30 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

Two months after it was drubbed in the elections to civic bodies of Maharashtra's 10 cities, including Mumbai, the Congress has managed to salvage some pride in the hinterland.

It has emerged as the single largest party in four of the five municipal corporations that went to polls on April 15.

The party's performance in Bhiwandi, Malegaon and Chandrapur, where it has emerged as the single largest party, has come as a face-saver for chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.

The beleaguered chief minister has been under the pump for the party's poor electoral performance in the state. Chavan's supporters pointed to the party's result in Malegaon and Bhiwandi, both towns with a sizeable Muslims population, to argue that the party had managed to woo back its votebank.

"These results have shown all political parties who have been criticising us and our policies their true standing," chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said.

The Congress party's star performer turned out to be Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who managed to secure an absolute majority for his party in Latur.

The Congress won 49 of 70 seats in the Latur Municipal Corporation.

The result will come as relief for Deshmukh, who has been embroiled in several controversies, including the Adarsh housing scam.

The win, scripted by Deshmukh along with his legislator son Amit, could give him an edge in his jousting with the NCP, which tried hard to loosen his hold over the Latur district.

The NCP, however, did well in the neighbouring district of Parbhani, where it emerged as the single largest part, winning 30 of the 65 seats in the corporation.

The BJP suffered a major setback in Chandrapur city where the Congress emerged victorious.

The result is seen as a blow for BJP state president Sudhir Mungantiwar, who hails from Chandrapur.

Mungantiwar, who was once the BJP MLA from Chandrapur and now represents neighbouring Ballarshah in the state assembly, camped there during the elections and even roped in national president Nitin Gadkari for campaigning.

However, the saffron party finished with 18 seats of the 66-member house while the Congress won 26 seats.

The BJP has however stated that it will go all out to stake claim to power.

"Even though we are not the single largest party, we will take support of allies like Shiv Sena, and parties like MNS, to stake claim to the corporation," state BJP president Sudhir Mungatiwar said.