The civic poll results were a mixed bag for all parties.
The Congress was shocked at its defeat in Aurangabad, while its partner, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), was jubilant after retaining its fortress, Navi Mumbai.
In the opposition camp, Shiv Sena was relieved to have gained control over the crucial Aurangabad Municipal Corporation and the Badlapur municipal council in Thane district.
The Sena won 31 seats in Aurangabad, bettering its earlier score of 25. The party, however, could not damage the NCP in Navi Mumbai and may lose Ambarnath to the NCP-led alliance.
The Congress’ efforts to better its position in Navi Mumbai and snatch the Aurangabad civic body from the Sena failed.
Despite campaigning by Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan, the party failed to swing the results in Aurangabad city, the biggest civic body in Marathwada.
The ploy to take on the Sena with the help of local Sena strongman-turned-rebel, Pradip Jaiswal, also did not work. “We did not have control over the two civic bodies in any case. But I still admit the party’s defeat in Aurangabad,” Chavan said.
The Congress could not upset NCP leader Ganesh Naik’s plans in Navi Mumbai, despite claiming credit for development work done here. The Congress and NCP decided to go solo in Navi Mumbai after a disagreement over the sharing of seats.
Political analyst Surendra Jondhale said the results were not surprising. “In urban areas, there has been unhappiness over issues like price rise, for which people blame the Congress,” Jondhale said. “The Sena may have done badly in the Assembly polls, but it has had strong control over urban local bodies for 15 years.’’
The Sena has lost the majority it enjoyed in Ambarnath and Badlapur. It can gain control of the Badlapur municipal council, if it ties up with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). No party has managed a clear majority in Badlapur. The Sena and BJP together stand at 19 seats, while the NCP-Congress won 11 of the 34 seats.
Raj Thackeray’s MNS did win a single seat in Navi Mumbai and Aurangabad. The party, however, played spoilsport in Badlapur and Ambarnath by eating into the Sena’s votes.
The MNS, with six seats, can play kingmaker in Ambarnath. The NCP-Republican Party of India combine and the Sena-BJP alliance won 20 seats each. With the help of the MNS, the NCP has a chance of snatching the council from the Sena here.
(Inputs from Zeeshan Shaikh & Kiran Sonawane)