BJP wins 384 seats in nagar panchayat polls, jabs Uddhav Thackeray over Sena tally
MUMBAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday ended up with the maximum number of seats in Maharashtra’s local body elections in semi-urban and rural areas, closing the gap and racing ahead of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) which appeared to have the lead in the early hours of counting of votes.
The BJP has won 384 seats in nagar panchayats that govern smaller towns in semi-urban areas as compared to the NCP’s 344 seats. The two other constituents of the state’s ruling coalition Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, the Congress and the Shiv Sena, were pushed to the third (316 seats) and fourth (284) position, respectively.
Collectively, the three ruling coalition partners have won 944 seats, more than 60% of the seats for which results have been declared. To be sure, the three parties contested the elections on their own.
The NCP, however, has won 25 nagar panchyats, one more than the 24 won by the BJP. The Shiv Sena and Congress have won 14 and 18 bodies, respectively.
The election is seen as an indication that the BJP has not lost much ground and the MVA partners will have to stick together if they want to stay in power. Leaders of the ruling coalition suggest that the results also indicate that the OBCs are not furious with the MVA for losing political reservation in local bodies.
In all, the Maharashtra State Election Commission held elections for 1,802 seats in 106 nagar panchayats, 105 seats in two district councils and 210 seats in 15 panchayat samitis.
Voting was held on December 21 and January 18. The second phase was necessitated due to the Supreme Court verdict of December 15 which refused to allow the seats to be reserved for other backward classes (OBC) for the civic polls and ordered Maharashtra to re-notify them as general category seats. Elections for 336 seats in 93 nagar panchayats, which were earlier reserved for OBCs, were held in the second phase on January 18.
On Wednesday morning, the counting of votes in 97 nagar panchayats began in various districts of the state. Votes for the 9 panchayats in Maoist-affected Gadchiroli will be held on Thursday.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil cheered party workers for the party’s performance though the BJP has been out of power for 26 months. He also took a quick swipe at chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. “The Shiv Sena got the chief minister’s post, but it is struggling to remain in the third or fourth position in these elections,” Patil said.
Chandrashekhar Bawankule, a former minister and OBC face of the state BJP, said: “Despite the use of the money and muscle power by the ruling parties in the local body elections, the BJP has emerged as the leader by winning the highest number of seats. With the help of our allies, we will control more than 30 nagar panchayats that went to polls”.
NCP state unit chief Jayant Patil celebrated the fact that the NCP emerged won the largest number of nagar panchayats, 25. “It is the result of our continuous efforts of serving the people and taking up the issues related to them,” he said.
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