BJP sees big gains in BMC polls as Shiv Sena cedes ground
Mumbai went saffron on Tuesday with the maximum city splitting its mandate nearly equally in favour of the Shiv Sena and the BJP. With the allies, however, fighting as main opponents, there was no clear winner for the country’s richest civic body.mumbai Updated: Feb 24, 2017 01:36 IST
Mumbai went saffron on Tuesday with the maximum city splitting its mandate nearly equally in favour of the Shiv Sena and the BJP. With the allies, however, fighting as main opponents, there was no clear winner for the country’s richest civic body.
The Sena won 84 seats leading with a miniscule margin while the BJP put up a spectacular show by winning 80 seats, up from its earlier tally of 31 seats in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The main opposition party, Congress, faced a near wipeout in the city, coming up with a tally of just 31 seats, its poorest show in the last 25 years. In this polarised fight, the room for other political players shrank considerably with the Nationalist Congress Party (nine), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (seven), Samajwadi Party (two) tallies reduced to single digits. The All India Majlis-e-Itehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) also managed to make an entry in the Mumbai civic body but with just two seats.
While Shiv Sena managed to retain the majority of its Marathi vote bank, the BJP’s upsurge in Mumbai shows that Sena’s three-decade hold over its citadel is slipping and could be up for grabs in the next polls. The BJP’s win in the city comes at the cost of the Congress as well as the Shiv Sena in some places, proving that the ‘Marathi manoos’ may no longer be the sole property of the latter.
There are indications that now both parties will try to stake their claim over the mayor’s post in a bid to drive a hard bargain. Going by their seat tallies, however, there may be little alternative to a post-poll alliance on the lines of the one in the state government.
In an indication that a tug of war over the mayor’s seat was on the cards, the BJP’s city chief Ashish Shelar said it had an understanding with four independents with whose help the party’s tally would inch ahead of the Sena’s.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray pointed out that the city had backed Sena for a fifth term in a row and it would install its own mayor.
“I am not a political commentator and I will not give any commentary. I only do what I know best, and I will do it… what is the need to hurry (about talks of an alliance)?” Thackeray said. while interacting with the media after the results.