BJP loses Nagpur in Maharashtra civic polls, MVA set to grab 4 Zilla Parishads
Although, it has won one-third of the total seats in these six ZPs, the BJP is likely to retain only Dhule Zilla Parishad, while the MVA allies could get together to take control of four other councils.Updated: Jan 09, 2020 11:37 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday suffered a setback in the second round of Zilla Parishad (ZP) or district council elections in Maharashtra, after it performed poorly in Nagpur — the home district of former CM Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Nitin Gadkari — where the Congress wrested power.
The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), comprising the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, is expected to bag four out of the six ZPs — Nagpur, Akola, Washim, Palghar, Nandurbar and Dhule — that went to polls on Tuesday. This was the first major round of polls in the state after the Assembly elections. The results were declared on Wednesday. Of the total 332 seats in these six district councils, the BJP won 103 seats; Congress got 73, while the Sena and NCP bagged 49 and 46 seats, respectively.
Although, it has won one-third of the total seats in these six ZPs, the BJP is likely to retain only Dhule ZP, while the MVA allies could get together to take control of four other councils — Nagpur, Palghar, Washim and Nandurbar. The Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) emerged as the single largest party in Akola ZP, winning 22 of the 53 seats, with support from four Independents.
The Congress won the Nagpur ZP, getting 30 of the 58 seats, while the NCP won 10 seats and the BJP bagged 15 sets. State home minister Anil Deshmukh’s son Salil Deshmukh secured the Mendpajara seat in Nagpur.
The BJP’s dismal performance is being seen as an indicator of the simmering discontent against the party at the grassroots level. The party fared poorly in its stronghold Vidarbha region, too, after securing only five seats in the 53-seat Akola ZP and seven out of the 52 seats in Washim ZP. NCP leader and cabinet minister Jayant Patil said the start of BJP’s defeat has started from Vidarbha. “The grip the BJP had on the local bodies has loosened. The MVA has created an undeniable dominance [visible] through the results of ZP polls,” Patil said in a statement. There was no clear winner in Washim as the Sena, NCP, Congress, VBA secured nine, 12, nine and nine seats, respectively. The MVA allies could come together to take control of the Washim ZP.
The BJP, meanwhile, retained control of the Dhule council in north Maharashtra by securing 38 of the total 56 seats. In Nandurbar, the BJP and the Congress secured 23 seats each in the 56-seat council. The MVA could come together in Nandurbar too, as the Sena has seven and the NCP has three seats. In a statement, the BJP said the number of its party members in all six ZPs — 103 — has doubled from the previous polls, when it had 53 members. The party said the number of members from the Congress-NCP alliance has gone down from 148 to 118. In a tweet, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The BJP has increased its strength to 103 and emerges as the number one party...”
The Sena won 18 of the 57 seats in Palghar ZP polls, while the NCP emerged with 14 seats, and the BJP got 12 seats. The Sena and NCP could join hands with the Congress and the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), which bagged one and four seats, respectively. The Sena is giving attention to widening its base in Palghar district.
Meanwhile, discontent within the Sena resurfaced again as party MLA Tanaji Sawant got six members backing him to support BJP’s Asmita Kamble as the president in Osmanabad ZP polls, while Sawant’s nephew, Dhanajay Sawant, was elected the vice president.
Sawant, a former minister, openly rebelled against the party to show his disappointment on being overlooked during the cabinet expansion. Senior Sena functionaries said Sawant had been asked to toe the party line in the local elections. “Disciplinary action could be initiated against him,” a senior functionary said.
This is the second time in the past five days when a Sena leader has gone against the party in the local polls. Last week, Abdul Sattar, who was unhappy with the party supporting Congress for the district council president’s post, voted against party lines in Aurangabad ZP. As a result, a BJP candidate was elected as the vice president.