NCP possibly the biggest loser in the local bodies’ elections

An analysis of the data made available by the state election commission (SEC) reveals that the NCP has lost the same number of seats that it won in the 10 municipal corporation elections

mumbai Updated: Feb 24, 2017 07:34 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
NCP supports cheer on their candidate in Malad on Thursday. (Pratham Gokhale/HT )

The elections to 25 zilla parishad (district council) and 10 municipal corporations have dealt a huge blow to the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which many consider to be the biggest loser this election. The party lost power at four municipal corporations, including Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, which are considered to be its bastions.

It lost two other municipal corporations — Solapur and Amravati — where it was sharing power with the Congress. The NCP has dropped from the first position to the third in the zilla parishad elections, despite its supposed strong rural base. This has raised questions over whether the party — that was at the helm for 15 years in the state, till 2014 — can still survive.

An analysis of the data made available by the state election commission (SEC) reveals that the NCP has lost the same number of seats that it won in the 10 municipal corporation elections. In the last polls held in 2012, the party had won 266 seats, but this time its tally was reduced to 137 seats — a loss of 129 seats. In the zilla parishad elections, the party won 336 seats this time, compared to the 511 it win in 2012 — a loss of 175 seats.

The party has fared poorly in western Maharashtra — considered to be its stronghold. Despite being the home town of the Pawar family, the party lost power at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and at Pimpri-Chinchwad, which is known as the urban agglomeration of Pune. It got 38 seats in the PMC and 36 seats at Pimpri-Chinchwad, a net loss of 60 seats.

The zilla parishad poll results reveal that the party’s performance was not up to the mark, especially in Sangli. The NCP obtained only 14 of 60 seats this time. During the 2012 polls, it had won 33 seats. Except at Osmanabad district, the party has lost seats at all the other zilla parishads, state the latest figures provided by the SEC.

This means the upcoming state assembly elections are going to be tough for the party, said political analysts. “The NCP has to work hard to bring itself back into the game,” said Pratap Asbe, political analyst.

He said the social unrest that took place in the state over the past few months — against the backdrop of the Maratha agitation — hampered the party’s prospects. “It seems that the Dalit, OBC and Brahmin communities erroneously believed that the NCP was behind the Maratha movement and hence voted against it,” said Asbe.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the absence of a united Opposition has led the party to this position.

“Victory and defeat is part of electoral politics. We have to accept the peoples’ mandate. Right now, I only can say that the Congress and the NCP have failed present ourselves as the united opposition,” Malik said.

AIMIM and SP give a lacklustre performance in BMC polls

Contesting polls for the first time, the All India Majlis Ittehad ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) bagged two seats in the civic polls, while the Samajwadi Party (SP) won six seats.

However, both the minority centric parties gave a lacklustre performance in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls.

While AIMIM blamed the Congress-NCP-SP for ganging up against it for its poor performance, the SP put the onus on split in secular votes for its plight.

This time, both SP and AIMIM were not able to make a dent in the Congress and NCP’s voter base.

The AIMIM suffered a big blow when it was unable to win even one seat in the Byculla assembly segment, where its legislator Waris Pathan is holding fort. It won two seats in Trombay and Santacruz.

“We would have more seats but we were the victims of the conspiracy where the Congress-NCP and SP came together to defeat us,” said Pathan. He said that the party will introspect the results and take remedial measures. The AIMIM had contested 52 seats in the city and was hopeful of winning at least in a dozen places. Its main candidate Waqarrunisa Ansari, who had been in the BMC for 20 years, was defeated by a newbie Congress candidate, Nikita Nikam, in the Null Bazar area.

Senior Party leader Akbaruddin Owaisi was unable to make much of an impact this time, though the party unveiled a 40-point manifesto promising bottled water for slums as well as meals for Rs5.

In contrast, the SP was able to keep its base intact in the Shivaji Nagar area where it bagged all the five seats in the constituency represented by its state president Abu Azmi. The sixth one was won by Rais Shaikh from the Byculla ward.

Azmi says an alliance with the Congress would have worked wonders for both the parties. “It was clear cut polarization, as Maharashtrian voters opted for Sena and North Indians for BJP. The secular votes were split and we all suffered,” said Azmi.

According to experts, both AIMIM and SP suffered as the electorate went for established parties. “The voters no longer prefer smaller parties and hence are voting for established outfits who have a good record of governance,” said B Venkatesh Kumar, well known political expert.


BMC polls: BJP wins over Congress-NCP ruled rural bodies

First Published: Feb 24, 2017 01:47 IST