Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray has managed to retain power in the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC). Sena’s Vaijayanti Gholap, on Friday, was declared as the new mayor of Kalyan-Dombivli.
The civic polls held on October 31 had thrown a fractured mandate with neither the ruling Sena-BJP nor the opposition Congress-NCP getting a clear majority. The Maharas-htra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had sprung a surprise by managing to win 27 seats.
But, the MNS failed to prevent Sena from retaining power as the NCP came to Uddhav’s rescue by declaring that they would remain neutral. The move forced MNS to backout from the race to win the mayoral post.
Gholap was elected mayor after an independent candidate Usha Walunj withdrew and the entire opposition including MNS, Congress and NCP chose to abstain from voting. BJP’s Budharam Sarnaubat was elected as deputy mayor.
According to sources, NCP leader Ganesh Naik played a major role in Sena securing victory. Naik convinced the party leadership to prevent MNS from winning power. With NCP deciding to stay neutral, its ally, Congress, was left with no option but to follow suit.
In the 107-member KDMC house, Shiv Sena now has 31 corporators, BJP 9, NCP 14, Congress 15, MNS 28 (with support of 1 independent), and there are 10 independents.
“I will not comment on any party as all parties supported us directly or indirectly,” said Uddhav, who visited Kalyan in the evening, adding that he would personally keep a watch on the functioning of the civic body and will try to fulfill all promises made to the people during campaigning.
The results have given the Sena a boost in confidence and a sense of hope to retain power in the upcoming Mumbai and Thane civic elections. The Sena won 2 seats more in the 2010 KDMC polls as compared to the 2005 civic elections in the twin cities.
“It is true that they have got a boost, but the real battle is one-and-a-half-years away and the Sena will have to put together their act. They can’t afford to forget that Mumbai is a different ballgame,” said Surendra Jondhale, political analyst and head of department of political studies, Mumbai University.