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Mira-Bhayander civic poll results: NCP, Congress, Shiv Sena gifted BJP win on a platter

mumbai Updated: Aug 22, 2017 11:50 IST
Mumbai,Mira-Bhayander civic polls,NCP

BJP’s celebration after the win.(HT)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continued its winning streak this year by registering a stunning and thumping win in the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) elections on Monday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party won a whopping 61 seats, more than double its tally of 29 seats in 2012, in the 95-member civic body elections that were held on Sunday.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) did not win a single seat. It had won 26 in the 2012 elections, while the Shiv Sena and Congress won 22 and 10 seats respectively. The Bahujan Vikas Aghadi and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena could not win even a single seat.

The BJP win has been a major setback for the Sena, which has been thrown out of the power it shared jointly with the former in this satellite city. The Sena was counting on Gilbert Mendonsa, a local leader it had poached from the NCP. But, according to observers, a lack of coordination and infighting among the key leaders threw the party out of power.

What also cost the Sena is the BJP’s successful mobilisation of Gujarati, Marwari, north Indian voters, who accounted for more than 40% of total voters of 12 lakh,in its favour. Political observers said that this countered the Marathi vote bank, which voted largely in favour of the Shiv Sena.

Muslim voters, which account for more than 2 lakh, were allegedly divided among various parties, according to the observers.

The failure of the Opposition came in most handy for the BJP.

The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) failed to fight the elections with their full strength, and seemed to have accepted that it was a losing battle long before the elections were announced. Though the state chief of Congress Ashok Chavan held two meetings in the elections, the responsibility was mainly on the shoulders of party’s former MLC Muzaffar Hussain. He restricted himself to limited areas, which led to the defeat of the party even its support areas such as Shanti Nagar and Sheetal Nagar. NCP did not bother to even not bother to distribute basic election material such as party flags, badges and scarf.

The NCP and Congress had been in the power in MBMC for two and half years after 2012 elections, but the Bharatiya Janata Party unit headed by its local MLA Narendra Mehta ensured the defection of a few Congress corporators to their fold. This helped the BJP in claiming the post of mayor, with the help of the Sena and rule the civic body for the past two and half years.

“Like in other municipal corporations, in MBMC too, the party put around its entire weight in the elections. Besides union ministers, our party ensured that MPs, including Manoj Tiwari, state ministers and local MLAs participated actively in campaign. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis held two public meetings, but personally monitored the election procedure very closely,” said a BJP leader .

Fadnavis attributed the victory to the credible development started by his party. “The voters have shown trust in the development work began by the government in Mira and Bhayander. We will continue to fulfill the expectations and hopes of the voters from the twin cities,” he said in Delhi.

“This has proved that though the Modi wave has waned, his aura still continues to play its magic. The opposition has failed to put up alternative narrative before the voters, while on the other hand, the BJP is using all the means to win the elections including attracting strong leaders from other parties and spending huge amount of money in the elections,” said Prakash Bal, political analyst.

The battle between the BJP and Sena was far from fair or clean with both Mehta and Mendonca, who spear headed their election efforts, facing criminal cases. Mendonca had spent 9 months in jail in a land-grabbing case and was recently released on bail by the Thane court. Though the final decision will be taken by the BJP parliamentary board, the BJP is likely to elect Dimple Mehta, a winner from Ward 12 B as its mayoral candidate as the mayor’s post is reserved for OBC candidate this time. Dimple is the sister-in-law of Narendra Mehta.

(with inputs by Manasi Phadke)

First Published: Aug 22, 2017 09:45 IST