Mumbai: The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi partners - Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress - have claimed that together, they have outdone the BJP by winning in 80 per cent of the villages in the gram panchayat polls. On the other hand, BJP has hinted that it was down but not out, claiming victory in over 6,000 gram panchayats. Touted as mini assembly elections, the results of the 12,711 gram panchayat polls, held on January 15, were declared on Monday. Polling was held for 1,25,709 seats, for which 2,14,880 candidates were in the fray.
The MVA and the BJP made claims and counter-claims of gains in these elections, in which candidates were allotted election symbols from a list of free symbols. The MVA partners said it was a mandate for the ruling partners and for the government's work. The Shiv Sena, which has a strong presence in Konkan and Marathwada, emerged victorious, with the help of the NCP and the Congress in western Maharashtra.
However, the BJP noted that with the victory on Monday, it had laid the foundation for similar gains in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai municipal corporation elections, slated to be held in the future.
Bigwigs like state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, union minister Raosaheb Danve, BJP MP Udayanraje Bhosale, former ministers Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Ram Shinde faced defeats on their own turf, with the ruling MVA managing to defeat the BJP in its strongholds. On the other hand, the BJP consolidated its grip in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, which happen to be the Shiv Sena’s stronghold. Similarly, the NCP and the Congress faced defeats in some of their bastions in western Maharashtra and parts of Vidarbha and Marathwada.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party has opened its account in Dapkyal Gram Panchayat in Latur district, where it has won five of the total seven seats.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said the results of the gram panchayat elections were good and in favour of the MVA partners. ‘’The overall political picture in Maharashtra seems to be changing after the results of the legislative council elections held last year,’’ he viewed.
Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said, ‘’I believe that the people have faith in the Maha Vikas Aghadi, including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat. They are doing good work."
State Congress chief and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said, "The MVA alliance has won in 80 per cent of the villages in this election while the Congress alone has won 4,000 gram panchayats. This is a strong message to the BJP and its style of working." He added that people have shown faith in the MVA government and are satisfied with its work.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said the BJP had emerged the single largest party in the gram panchayat elections. "The results have proved that the voters have expressed disenchantment against the MVA government,’’ he noted.