BJP sweeps Maharashtra, trails Sena in Mumbai

The local body polls are witnessing a contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena, Congress, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Samajwadi Party (SP).

Congress, expecting to fare much better, came in a poor third with 31 seats.

A simple majority in the 227-member House will require the support of 114 corporators, and enable the winning party to install its nominee as Mayor. Gadkari suggested the two sides needed to reach an understanding, but made it clear that the terms of the relationship must be clear and Sena's penchant for attacking PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah was unacceptable. Though the NCP leadership is notoriously fickle and has supported the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra in the past, the scenario is different this time around, the leader added.

While Shiv Sena activists started early celebrations as it appeared set to retain control of the BMC, but by late evening, the BJP surpassed all expectations and became an equal contender for the post of mayor.

Now, if the Shiv Sena wants to rule MCGM, it will have to form an alliance with a political party.

A jubilant Fadnavis, who spearheaded BJP's poll campaign, said the party's core committee will decide the future course of action in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The BMC, the country's largest and richest municipal body, had an annual budget of Rs 37,000 crore in 2016-17. "Congress will not help these two parties, but would like to see their fight continue and differences aggravate", said Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam. He told IANS that he has submitted his resignation to the party high command February 23 afternoon. It is now leading in 52 seats.

Though Mumbai's BJP President Ashish Shelar had reason to celebrate his party's performance in the BMC election, his happiness was somewhat dented by the loss of his brother Vinod Shelar.

The Shiv Sena is spoilt for choice, with as many as seven veterans in the race to be mayor.

INC candidate Rajendra Narwankar, retired BMC assistant Engineer, wins from ward no 216.

While the BJP and the Shiv Sena were jubilant, the Congress party slipped into depression, having bagged just 31 seats.

Meanwhile, the ruling Shiv Sena has bettered its 2012 performance of 75 seats by leading in 85 wards of Mumbai. The BJP got both Congress and MNS votes. MNS has been limited to six seats from 21 in the last election.

Some Congress leaders want to attach a condition to any support for Sena.

Its decline began at the time of the 2014 assembly elections when it could win only one seat and is continuing apace. In addition, 11 Zilla Parishads and 118 panchayat samiti polls also went to polls. The results are out, and BJP has won municipal corporations across the state.

  • Leroy Wright