MUMBAI: The BJP had all but eroded the Shiv Sena’s early lead by 4 pm on Thursday and votes were counted in Mumbai’s civic elections on Thursday. The Shiv Sena is now leading in 84 of the 227 seats in Mumbai’s Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or BMC, with the BJP ahead in 80, making the biggest gains of the day. The party is also set to win eight out of the 10 major Maharashtra municipalities where elections were held. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who led from the front, has sailed through another big test.
Here are the 10 developments in this big story:
With the gap narrowing, either the Shiv Sena, which has controlled the BMC for the last 20 years, or the BJP could be the single largest party, but both are likely to fall short of majority at 114 seats.
The Shiv Sena’s Anil Desai said there was “no chance” of his party taking support of the BJP if it is short of a majority. The parties, allies for two decades, contested these elections separately.
This year’s BMC election was seen as a prestige battle for both Shiv Sena chief Udhav Thackeray and Mr Fadnavis, who said he would take responsibility for a BJP loss but would credit the party for a victory.
The Sena has pointed out that the BJP has made gains not at its cost but at that of other parties like the Congress, which has been crushed to a far away number 3 with 28 seats. Sharad Pawar’s NCP will settle for seven, Raj Thackeray’s MNS for six. The Congress’ Mumbai chief Sanjay Nirupam has offered to resign
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has said that his party might withdraw from the central and state governments led by the BJP after the civic polls. “I foresee mid-term elections,” he had told NDTV.
Mr Thackeray called off the alliance after the two parties failed to agree on seats sharing for the BMC elections. The Sena has been a bitter ally ever since it lost political space with the BJP dominating the last national and assembly elections to redefine itself as the senior partner in the alliance after years of playing junior.
The BJP has wrested Pune today from the NCP and is ahead in Pune, Nashik, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Akola, Amarawati, Nagpur, Solapur and Ulhasnagar. The Shiv Sena is ahead in Mumbai and its suburb Thane.
In the first round of civic elections held late last year and early this year, the BJP was the major gainer, making significant inroads in the Congress and NCP’s traditional strongholds in rural Maharashtra.
It has been called a “mini-assembly election” with voting also held for 11 zilla parishads and 118 panchayat samitis. All votes are being counted today
The BMC, Asia’s richest civic body, has an annual budget of 37,000 crores, more than that of some states. 55 percent voted in the Mumbai civic polls on Tuesday, the highest voter turnout in 25 years.