Mumbai: Bharatiya Janta Party continues its winning streak in the results of the first phase of polls winning 39 municipal chief’s posts of the 147 urban local bodies and 17 nagar panchayats, while it has been a blow to the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party. The BJP also played a gamble for allowing direct polls to municipal council presidents’ that on surface seems to have yielded positive results. The results are indication of grassroot elections which have attracted praises even from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP has been power for the last two and a half years at the centre and state and the party has gained a stronghold in new pockets doubling their share from previous elections.
In the last elections, which were held five years ago, Congress had won 1111 and NCP 1124, while BJP had won 396 and Shiv Sena 356. In these elections the BJP has gained over previous by double. For the immense opposition shown by the Shiv Sena since demonetisation, it has been reduced to a fourth place.
Individually, leaders from the ruling and Cong-NCP have got a setback. The biggest loss in the ruling has been for Minister for Women and Child Development, Pankaja Munde in Parli, Beed which has been the stronghold of their family primarily due to her father the late Gopinath Munde. Pankaja was outsmarted by her cousin and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde who is also the leader of opposition in Legislative Council. Their panel won 27 of the total 33 seats in Parli. All candidates of Pankaja for whom it is a big setback, whose name has been linked in the chikki scam. The state president of BJP, Raosaheb Danve too suffered a loss. He is the Member of Parliament and his son the Legislator from Jalna and their candidate lost.
From Congress the former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has suffered huge a setback in Karad, who criticised the BJP for aligning with All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM). The other Congress leader, Narayan Rane in Konkan could have done better. Even though Deepak Kesarkar, his immediate rival made a loss, overall the Sena has more seats than Congress. Among the NCP leaders to have received setback has been Jayant Patil from Sangli and Chhagan Bhujbal in Yevla.
The NCP has made losses in its stronghold, but has made gains in Marathwada. Meanwhile, the leaders in Congress continue to conflict as Rane blamed the state leadership for not opposing the government aggressively.