BMC polls: It's BJP, not Shiv Sena, who is the real victor

Their battle is for Mumbai as the city is the Sena's citadel and the BJP is seeking to storm it. At the least a considerably diminished Congress?

The total average voting across the municipal corporations in the state was 56 per cent, and 69 per cent for Zila Parishads and Panchayat Samitis, state Election Commissioner J.S. Saharia said here late on Tuesday.

In 2012, the tally was Shiv Sena - 75, Bharatiya Janata Party - 31, Indian National Congress- 52, Nationalist Congress Party - 7, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena -27 and Samajwadi Party- 9 candidates.

As many as 43,160 polling booths have been set up. The Congress fought 221 and the BJP 211.

The results to the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls saw the BJP make significant gains, capturing 82 seats - just two behind the Shiv Sena which had promised a clean sweep. "No doubt we had an aggressive campaign against each other during the BMC polls, but I don't think the Shiv Sena will quit the government". Neither party was willing to address this piquant housekeeping challenge immediately. However, by evening, both claimed the first right to take charge of the BMC and appoint the mayor. "Both are mature and I am sure they will take the right decision", he told a television channel. And, unlike in 2012, when Raj Thackekray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) caused an upset by winning six seats in Dadar, jolting the Sena, this time around, the latter almost swept Dadar clean, leaving only a scrap for the beleaguered MNS.

Nagpur happens to be the home town of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari. While MNS' campaign lacked the vigour of the last election season, new entrant MIM campaigned extensively in certain Muslim-dominated pockets. "Mumbai has endorsed our politics", he added.

An aggressive Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray has put the BJP government "on notice period" and said he would decide whether to continue the state-level alliance after the results. It had looked forward to humiliating the BJP, with whom it has had a bitter parting of ways.

Initially, Mr Shah was declared the victor but after the Sena candidate raised an objected and applied for a recounting of votes, it came to light that both candidates had got the equal number of votes.

Retaining the 227-member BMC is vital for Shiv Sena as the city has been its political heartland since its formation in 1966. Asked if he was surprised by the BJP's good show, Thackeray counter questioned saying how could the BJP's performance be called a "success". We are the number 1 party in Mumbai.

Shiv Sena bagged 84 seats closely followed by BJP that won 81 seats.

Shiv Sena flags fly high at the Sena Bhavan in Dadar.

  • Joanne Flowers