Maharashtra Civic Polls: Big gains for BJP; Shiv Sena ahead in BMC

BJP made big gains in polls for 10 Maharashtra municipal corporations; the Shiv Sena topped the BMC though short of a majority; Congress acknowledged a setback, but claimed it did well in rural polls

Photo by Pratham Gokhale/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Pratham Gokhale/Hindustan Times via Getty Images


The BJP is set to make decisive gains in civic polls in Maharashtra even as it is locked in a neck-and-neck fight with its bickering ally Shiv Sena in Mumbai, the latest counting trends suggest. The Congress and the NCP were headed for a rout across the state including some of their strongholds like Pune.

The 10 city corporations which went to polls were Mumbai, Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.

While the Shiv Sena slightly improved its showing in Mumbai and Thane, the BJP is set to retain Nagpur, Akola and wrest Pune and Ulhasnagar from NCP and Nashik from the MNS. But, as the counting progressed into final rounds, it appears that the Sena is unlikely to touch the half-way mark of 114 seats in Mumbai, where the BJP is poised for a big leap after fighting the polls on its own.

The BJP is likely to come to power in at least six civic bodies—Pune, Nashik, Ulhasnagar, Akola, Nagpur and Amravati. In Mumbai, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena is leading on 84 seats in the 227-member BMC, while BJP is ahead on 81. In the 131-member Thane civic body, the Sena has so far won 43 seats, BJP-17, NCP-22, Congress and MIM 2 each, and Independent-1.

Though the BJP made major inroads in the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and neighbouring Thane, it is not sure if Sena will be ready for a post-poll pact, after a no-holds-barred fight between the allies, which often turned a murky slugfest. Maharashtra BJP president Raosaheb Danve today said his party may be able to rule the cash-rich body with the support of some independents. "The figures show that we are gaining in the BMC. We may rule (the civic body). Some independents have extended support to us. Once the figures are finalised, we will be able to give a better picture of the BJP's position," he said.

Congress says its a setback, but points to rural areas

The results have seen the Congress plummeting to a new low with the lowest ever tally in the BMC. The party could barely manage to win 30 seats in Mumbai while it lost power in Amravati and Solapur civic bodies as well as Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad where it shared power with NCP. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) conceded that the results so far have signalled a setback for the party. "The results are mixed with the party doing well in Zila Parishads while suffering reverses in the municipal corporations. It is definitely a setback," party vice president and spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan told PTI.

Mahajan said the results have been unexpected and need to be analysed on the organisational level at the popularity level. "Whether there has been a disconnect between voters and the party leaders should be seen," he said, adding that Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti results are yet to come and Congress is expected to do well in the rural areas.

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