Mumbai/Nagpur, Feb 23: BJP everywhere; Shiv Sena somewhere, NCP hardly anywhere and Congress nowhere. This is the sum total of the Maharashtra Civic Bodies election results announced on Thursday.
The municipal corporation elections in Maharashtra, especially the election to Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has attracted the attention of the entire country, mainly because the 25-year-old alliance of Shiv Sena and BJP wedded to the ideology of Hindutva, contested these elections separately divorcing the alliance.
Mumbai has been the citadel of Shiv Sena for decades and as such, they were confident to defeat any party, including the BJP. But the results sprang surprises for the political observers.
The BJP deserved the credit of surging their tally from 31 in 2012 to 81 in 2016 single handed in a neck-and-neck fight with its one-time ally Shiv Sena. The Sena benefitted with the lowest margin of 9 seats taking its tally to 84 from 75 in 2012.
The Congress and NCP, two other allies, who separated for this election, failed to register their victories to be taken cognizance of. The Congress somehow saved its face by bagging 30 seats while the NCP got just ten seats. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) of Raj Thackeray had to satisfy itself on just 7 seats.
Expressing satisfaction Union Surface Transport Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari congratulated the leadership of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis and party workers for this ‘unprecedented success’. “For the first time, the BJP has got such unprecedented success. I congratulate Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP workers”, Gadkari said.
Education Minister Vinod Tawde said that his party has emerged as the overall leader in elections to 10 municipal corporations and 25 Zilla Parishad.
“The BJP is the number one party in Maharashtra,” Tawde, told reporters outside the party office amid bursting of firecrackers by BJP workers, who were celebrating the party almost doubling it's 2012 poll tally in BMC. “This result is a befitting reply to Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, who had said the BJP did not have the ‘aukat’ (ability) to win even 40 seats in the BMC,” Tawde said.
Apart from Mumbai, the BJP secured number one position in almost all the Municipal Corporations barring Thane and event at the Zilla Parishads the party emerged as victorious. Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis said that the victory of the party in Mumbai was ‘unprecedented’ and a vote for ‘transparency’.
Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar said, “BJP’s win is bigger than Shiv Sena’s. While Shiv Sena seats gone up marginally from last elections, our seats have gone up three times.
Eknath Shinde of the Shiv Sena commented, “We don’t work to take credit. We work to give people resources they deserve. In Mumbai and Thane, Shiv Sena is there for common people during their happy and sad times. People have rewarded Shiv Sena for that. People have given importance to our work. There is no water shortage in Mumbai because of Shiv Sena’s efforts. In Thane also, we are working towards overall growth”.
The Congress is the biggest loser in this election. Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam has offered his resignation taking the responsibility of the defeat of the party. He said, “I have offered to resign. We accept people’s verdict. I cannot make the whole party win. There is no unity within the party. There is in-fighting. One person’s hard work is not going to make the party win. There are people who consider themselves bigger than the party. Hence it is a disappointing result for us. In a party, people need to stand together and that’s not happening.”
Besides Mumbai, the BJP has secured a majority in Akola, emerged as the number one party in Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Amaravati, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, and Nagpur. The party is heading towards clean sweep in Nagpur while it is heading to grab power in Pune, Nashik and Ulhasnagar municipal corporations.
Meanwhile, State Minister Pankaja Munde offered to resign owing to bad performance of the party in her own constituency. However, the indicated to not entertaining her resignation.
BJP National President Amit Shah has congratulated the people of Maharashtra for supporting the BJP. In a tweeter message, he offered congratulations to chief minister Devendra Fadanvis and State BJP President Raosaheb Danve and all the party workers.
This spectacular victory of the BJP is sure to change the political equations in the state in coming days. Already, speculations are on as to with whom the Shiv Sena or BJP go to form a stable government at the Mumbai Municipal Corporation. There are some other corporations where such a tactical alliance will have to be worked out.
One thing is sure. The BJP has started to fill the political vacuum created by the depleting influence of the Congress party and its ally NCP in the state. Shiv Sena has remained confined to its stronghold in Mumbai-Thane-Nasik region while the MNS has been reduced to a non-performing party.