Mumbai, February 21: The mini-battle of cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and nine other civic bodies across Maharashtra begins as the polling started on Tuesday morning. BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress, NCP, MNS are competing in elections. But everyone will keep a close eye on the fate of Shiv Sena and BJP as both the parties have gone solo in the civic polls of Maharashtra this time.
In the financial capital Mumbai, there are 2275 candidates and 92 lakh voters. The election result for Asia’s largest civic body which has been run by the Shiv Sena supported by the BJP for the last two decades will decide the fate of the Devendra Fadnavis government.
Polling began at 7.30 AM at 43,160 polling stations spread across the state and will end at 5.30 PM. There will be 2.76 lakh election staff and the equal number of police personnel on the duty. Bollywood actors like John Abraham, Ranbir Singh, several politicians and few known businessmen have already cast their vote.
Notably, the big poll focus is on 227-member Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), retaining control of which is vital for Shiv Sena as the city has remained its prime political space ever since the party’s formation in 1966. Shiv Sena has been in power in BMC for over two decades. BJP, which had been a junior partner of Shiv Sena before it gained the upper hand through the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, declined to accept the number of seats offered by the Shiv Sena. It has set its eyes on gaining power in BMC, one of the world’s largest city bodies, boasting of an annual budget of over Rs 37,000 crore.
Apart from the ten civic bodies, the second phase of polling for 11 Zilla Parishads (ZPs) and 118 panchayat samitis are also conducted today. The districts going to polls in the second phase are Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Solapur, Nashik, Amravati and Gadchiroli. A total of 3.77 crore voters will determine the fate of 17,331 candidates for 3210 seats up for grabs in 10 municipal corporations. Counting of votes will be taken up on February 23.
For 1268 seats of the ten municipal corporations, there are 9208 candidates; for 11 zilla parishads there are 2956 candidates for 654 seats and 5167 candidates for 1288 seats in 118 panchayat samitis. The first phase of 15 Zilla Parishad and 165 panchayat samitis polling was held on February 16 where 69 percent voters exercised their franchise.