Mumbai: Those living in cities have cast their lot with the Shiv Sena and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in five of the 10 civic corporations that went to polls on February 16, while Sena’s offspring Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has also emerged a game-changer in some towns.
The Sena and BJP are now set to gain control of civic governance in Mumbai, neighbouring Thane and Ulhasnagar, and Nagpur and Akola. The MNS and BJP are in a position to win power in Nashik if they join hands as the latter does not have an alliance with the Sena there.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won clear majority in Pimpri-Chinchwad civic polls and emerged as largest party in Pune and Nashik civic bodies, where it hopes lead the house by joining hands with the Congress. The Congress, which did not put up a noteworthy show in the cities, hopes to have its mayors in smaller Amravati and Solapur civic corporations.
The MNS surprised political pundits by emerging as the single largest party in Nashik with 40 seats, and second largest in Pune, after the NCP, by bagging 28 seats. The MNS, with the Sena and BJP, is a dozen seats short of the NCP-Congress tally in Pune. The NCP may forge a post-poll alliance with the Congress to sit in the treasury benches. In Amravati, the Congress and NCP will come together to form the civic government.
Political analyst Surendra Jondhale said that the urban population preferred saffron parties because of political insecurity. “Urban areas have always been BJP and Sena’s strength because they have contemptuous approach to the Congress and NCP’s politics, and their respective agendas,” he said.
Congress general secretary Sanjay Dutt, however, refused to buy the argument. He said that the recent municipal council elections were held in urban areas and in these polls the Congress and NCP wiped out the saffron parties. “Though we fought separately, we managed to win more than 80% of total seats amongst us.”
Dutt claimed that the Congress and NCP had numbers to come to power in Nashik, Pune and Akola. “In fact, the Congress has improved its performance this time,” he said.