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Maharashtra municipal council polls: BJP gains big, Congress emerges number two

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday emerged as the biggest winner in Maharashtra municipal council polls, crushing the Congress and Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday emerged as the biggest winner in Maharashtra municipal council polls, crushing the Congress and Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Elections were held for 3,705 seats spread over 147 municipal councils and 17 Panchayats, of which results have been announced for the 3,510 seats so far. Counting for rest of the seats was still on.

Of the 147 municipal councils that went to the polls on November 27, the BJP won 52, The Shiv Sena, the BJP’s alliance partner, emerged as the clear number two, winning 27 councils. The Congress bagged 23 while and NCP won 21, which have traditionally dominated local body polls.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded Fadnavis and Maharashtra BJP president Raosaheb Danve for the “grassroot level work”. “I thank people of Maharashtra for placing their faith in BJP in local body polls. This is a win for pro-poor & development politics of BJP,” Modi tweeted.

The BJP won 851 seats as against 396 in the previous, 2011 polls. Though the Congress came in second in terms of seats won at 643, it marked a sharp drop from the 1,111 it held previously. The NCP won 638 seats, the Shiv Sena 514, the MNS 16, local fronts 384, smaller parties 119, independents 324 and the CPM 12.

Two BJP ministers, Pankaja Munde and Raosaheb Danve, however, suffered setbacks in their constituencies as BJP lost most of its seats in these areas.

In the 2011 municipal elections, the BJP had won 298 of these seats, the Sena 264, Congress 771 and NCP 916. After 2001, this was the first time direct elections were held for the posts of chairpersons. After Fadnavis took over the state’s reins in 2014, he amended the law to provide for direct election.

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