BMC polls throw up fractured mandate

The Opposition NCP came second with 336 seats. Though Shiv Sena was leading in six seats, the Congress and the MNS drew blank.

BMC election results showed that while Shiv Sena won 84 seats and the BJP 82 seats, both were well short of the majority mark of 114.

The Nationalist Congress Party bagged nine seats, Uttar Pradesh-based Samajwadi Party secured six, the Hyderabad-based Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen earned two, and incarcerated mafia don Arun Gawli's party Akhil Bharatiya Sena earned one seat, his daughter Geeta Gawli being the sole victor. The Sena and the BJP, it may be recalled, had contested the 2012 BMC polls as an alliance. The elections has seen 56 per cent polling.

While Fadnavis said that the party's core committee would meet and take a call on the issues relating to the BMC, Uddhav kept cards close to his chest.

In Solapur Municipal Corporation, a Congress bastion, the BJP captured 49 out of 102 seats, followed by Shiv Sena with 21, Congress with 14, AIMIM scoring nine, the NCP and the BSP scoring four each, while the Communist Party of India earned one seat.

The BJP's calculations are also dependent on how many seats it manages to get.

Although BJP has not won in Mumbai and Thane, the only municipal corporation where Sena has won decisively, BJP has clear victories in either other municipal corporations of Maharashtra such as Nashik, Pune elbowing out MNS and NCP.

Chief Minister's composure, restrained response to heated rhetoric, and his focus on backing high-profile projects worked in the BJP's favour in municipal elections.

MNS, who has got seven seats and had been saying during the campaign that they would emerge as the kingmaker, too stands little chance to play the role.

The fractured mandate after the civic elections elections has thrown a hung house, which now requires the two main players - BJP and Shiv Sena - to rest their political calculations since none is in the position to rule the country's richest civic body on its own and alliance now seems inevitable.

The BMC has for always been a political lifeline for the Sena in Maharashtra and for good reason.

According to Mumbai University professor Pawar, a compromise with the BJP will not be easy for the Shiv Sena to undertake. The party also appointed an organisational secretary, from the RSS, only for Mumbai. "Why are you in such a hurry?" Then we will not be surprised if quite a large number of legislators from different parties join the BJP to save the government, " the cabinet member said. I am not going to say anything on this today. It is, therefore, fair to say that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has been able to establish his leadership after the demise of his stalwart father, the late Bal Thackeray.

The campaign turned into a slugfest between the two parties, throwing up the question if there would be a parting of ways post-election and mid-term elections for the state government.

  • Joanne Flowers