Maharashtra: Local bodies’ elections

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2016, municipal councils: BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena, NCP won

The Times of India, Dec 20 2016

Prafulla Marpakwar

Congress, which was down and out in the first two phases of municipal council elections in Maharashtra, came up with an impressive performance in the third phase, winning the maximum number of seats -126 -out of a total of 409. The BJP came second with 119 seats, followed by the NCP (79) and Shiv Sena (48).

Also, in the 19 councils in the Marathwada region that went to the polls in the third phase, the Congress won the same number of presidents' posts as the BJP: eight. The NCP won only one st of president, while post of president, while Shiv Sena failed to open its account in the region.

However, despite the Congress's comeback in the latest phase on the turf of former CM and state unit chief Ashok Chavan, the Fadnavis-led BJP has emerged as the biggest gainer in the polls, having won the largest number of posts of president and members in 197 councils.

BJP has secured 65 posts of president, followed by 34 by the Congress, 26 by Shiv Sena and 20 by NCP. Out of 4,560 members' seats, BJP has secured 1,093, while Congress won 899.

2017: BJP gains

Prafulla Marpakwar, In 2012, Saffron Party Had Drawn A Blank In Latur, Vilasrao's Hometown, April 22, 2017: The Times of India

Latur, Chandrapur and Parbhani, Success of BJP in civic polls along with seats of other parties; Prafulla Marpakwar, In 2012, Saffron Party Had Drawn A Blank In Latur, Vilasrao's Hometown, April 22, 2017: The Times of India

BJP continued its march in Maharashtra at the expense of Congress, winning a clear majority in the municipal corporation election in Marathwada's Latur, along-time bastion of the the Grand Old Party'.

Latur is the hometown of Maharashtra's late former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, and Congress has held charge of the municipal corporation here for decades. BJP has won 36 of the 70 seats in Latur's municipal corporation, with Congress bagging just 33 despite Deshmukh's sons campaigning for the party.

The elections were considered an acid test for the Deshmukh family , especially since they were fought under the leadership of the late Congress veteran's MLA son Amit. In the 2012 civic election, BJP had not won a single seat in Latur, while Congress bagged 49, NCP 13 and Shiv Sena six. The situation was better for Congress in Parbhani, another Marathwada city , where the party wrested control from NCP. In the 65-member civic body, Congress won 31 seats, NCP 18, BJP eight, Shiv Sena six, and Independents two.

In 2012, Congress had won 23 seats in Parbhani, NCP 30, Shiv Sena eight, BJP two and others two.

However, the 66-member civic body for Chandrapur, led by a Congress-NCP coalition since 2012, in Vidarbha saw a BJP victory . BJP doubled its 2012 tally here, winning 36 seats.

As for others, Congress won 12 seats, NCP two, Shiv Sena two, BSP eight, MNS two, and Independents four.In 2012, Congress won 26 seats in the civic body, BJP 18, NCP four, Shiv Sena five, BSP two, MNS one, and Independents ten.

Hailing BJP's performance in the polls, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said, “The BJP is creating history yet again.“

In this February's polls to 10 corporations, BJP had pushed Congress to single-digit figures in many cities. Last month, BJP won the post of president in 10 of 25 zilla parishads. (Inputs from PTI)

2017, municipal corporations: BJP wins 8 of 10 corporations

BJP cuts Tiger's tail, wins 8 of 10 Maha corporations, Feb 24, 2017: The Times of India

In the hierarchy of elections, municipal elections are generally considered a lowly third, after Lok Sabha and assembly . But the very bitter falling-out between allies BJP and Shiv Sena had already injected a strong element of both political and personal drama into the elec tions to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the country's richest civic body, which the Thackerays have controlled for two decades.

Maharashtra CM Devend ra Fadnavis had all but staked his reputation on the outcome of civic elections across the state, more so in India's financial capital. The first twothree hours of counting of vo tes seemed to suggest that he had gambled foolishly .

Then, fortunes swung.What had initially seemed to be a one-sided game turned into a last-ball cliffhanger. The Sena finished just two seats ahead of BJP in BMC, while BJP swept 8 of 10 corporations in the state. Uddhav Thackeray's par ty, which had said BJP didn't deserve more than 60 seats in a seat-sharing pact, ended the day as the single largest party but by a mere whisker -a couple of seats ahead of its estranged ally, which ran a high-decibel campaign against rampant corruption and lack of transparency in the Sena-dominated corporation, richly harvesting the anti-incumbency vote despite having been a junior partner in the ruling civic alliance.

The results are a major boost to BJP , which swept eight out of 10 corporations in the state that went to the polls, and a serious setback for the Sena in its bastion, Mumbai, where it was born in 1966.Though it held on to its Marathi votebank, it failed to come within striking distance of the majority mark of 114 in a house of 227 and was matched in tantalizing fashion, as the day of counting progressed, seat for seat, by BJP which drew heavily on Gujarati-Marwari and North Indian votes and a section of the Marathi-speaking population as well.

But with the two parties falling 28 and 30 seats short of the majority , all eyes are now on the possible permutations and combinations that could help one of them win the mayoral election, unless they now choose to bury the hatchet and join hands. Elsewhere, BJP was the single largest party in Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.

For the 25 zilla parishads, BJP won 397 of the 1,509 seats.It was followed by the NCP with 336, Congress with 293 and Shiv Sena with 259. MNS got one and others 147. Results of 76 seats were still awaited.

2017: Mumbai divided by language?

Feb 24, 2017, BMC poll results reveal 'linguistic polarisation', claims BJP leader: The Times of India


Lower middle class and the working class among Marathi-speakers voted largely for the Shiv Sena, claims BJP leader Soumen Mukharjee

'The upper middle class and areas with large number of Gujarati-speakers and North Indians voted for the BJP'

MUMBAI: The results of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls+ hint at polarisation along linguistic lines between the BJP and the Shiv Sena+ , claimed a BJP leader. The bickering alliance partners in Maharashtra, who parted ways ahead of the civic body elections, seemed to have divided the voters on regional or linguistic lines, going by the voting patterns, said Soumen Mukharjee, co-convener of BJP's media cell. Lower middle class and the working class among Marathi-speakers voted largely for the Shiv Sena, while the upper middle class and areas with large number of Gujarati-speakers and North Indians voted for the BJP, the voting patterns show, said Mukharjee. Also, the 'old Mumbai' city seemed to have supported the Shiv Sena, while the BJP, which attained its highest-ever tally by winning 82 out of 227 seats, only two less than the Sena, gained more in suburbs, especially the western ones.

"The polarisation has taken place over the linguistic base. Non-Marathi speaking voters have largely voted for the BJP. On the other hand, the old city areas have voted the Shiv Sena because of its strong network of party workers developed over the last so many years," Mukharjee said. As per the data given by the State Election Commission, of the 114 seats in the western suburbs from Bandra to Dahisar, which have a sizeable population of North Indians and Gujarati-speakers, the BJP won 52 and the Sena 38. The exception to this pattern was Bandra East, where Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray lives. BJP did not win a single seat here, while the Sena won five and AIMIM won remaining one seat. A Sena leader pointed out, speaking on the condition of anonymity, that though Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar represents the Bandra constituency in the state Assembly, in the BMC elections+ his party drew a blank in the area. The eastern suburbs had a neck-and-neck contest between the BJP and the Sena. Of the 57 seats, the Shiv Sena won 18 and the BJP 17. Rest went to the NCP, Congress and others.

However, the exception was the suburban Mulund area, a stronghold of BJP MP Kirit Somaiya who had targeted the Sena leadership aggressively during the campaign. In Mulund, which has a sizable Gujarati-speaking population, the BJP won all the six seats. In old Mumbai, which has slums, tenements (chawls) and old 'waadis' (old one-two storey settlements), Sena had an upper hand. Out of the 56 seats, it won 28, while the BJP won 13, Congress 11, MNS two, SP one and the Akhil Bhartiya Sena one. This area comprises Sion-Koliwada, Wadala, Dharavi, Mahim, Worli, Shivdi, Byculla, Mumbadevi, Malbar Hill and Colaba.

The BJP did not win a single seat in Dharavi, known as Asia's largest slum area, Worli and Shivdi. "Sena's appeal to 'sons of soil' (native Maharashtrians) received a good response in the Mumbai city area. On the other hand, the BJP's plank of development and transparency was appreciated by western and eastern suburbs," Mukharjee said.

2017, All 27 BJP Muslim Candidates Defeated In Civic Polls

BJP fails to woo Maha Muslim-majority towns, May 27 2017: The Times of India

All 27 Muslim Candidates Defeated In Civic Polls

The BJP bagged the Panvel civic body in Maharashtra's Raigad district, but was virtually rejected in the Muslim-dominated Bhiwandi and Malegaon towns as per election results declared, the day when the NDA central government celebrated its third year in power.

In Panvel Municipal Corporation's first civic polls after it was elevated to a corporation last October, the BJP secured 51 of the 78 seats where it contested the polls independently . The Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and Peasants & Workers Party which fought in alliance, secured 27 seats, of which the PWP bagged 23 and the other two partners secured two each.

The BJP had virtually made it a prestige issue to win the civic body and left no stone unturned to capture the corporation, and in the process, Shiv Sena, other parties and independents were wiped out.

Panvel and surroundings are considered critical in the near future with the upcoming new international airport, the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link and a new city , Naina, which will attract investments in excess of Rs 60,000 crores. In Malegaon Municipal Corporation with 84 seats in the Nashik district, the Congress emerged the largest single party with 28, followed by Nationalist Congress Party's 20.

The Shiv Sena stood third with 13, the BJP secured nine, the AIMIM bagged seven, the Janata Dal six and a sole independent was elected.

The BJP has contested 55 seats including around 27 Muslim candidates hoping to exploit the triple talaaq issue, but all its Muslim candidates were defeated.

While the Congress, BJP and Shiv Sena fought the polls independently , the NCP fought in alliance with Janata Dal in the elections held on May 24. The Congress came up trumps in the 90-seats strong Bhiwandi-Nizampur City Municipal Corporation in Thane district, by bagging 47 seats and will elect its mayor.

The BJP came a distant second with 19 seats, the Shiv Sena won 12, the Republican Party of India-A four, the Samajwadi Party two, and other smaller parties and independents bagged the remaining six seats.

The Congress bettered its performance dramatically over the last elections in 2012, when it held only 26 seats, but the SP took a massive fall from 17 seats then to just two now.The Congress announced on Friday that it would govern both BNCMC and MMC which has thrown up a hung house by getting its mayors elected in the two civic bodies.

Of the total 252 seats in the three civic bodies, the BJP won 79, Congress 77, Shiv Sena 25, PWP 23 and NCP 22. The AIMIM bagged seven, the JD six, the RPI-A four, the SP two, other parties and independents won seven.

2017, Mira-Bhayander civic polls

Ambarish Mishra and Sandhya Nair, August 22, 2017: The Times of India

BJP swamps Sena, wipes out NCP in Maha's Mira-Bhayander civic polls

Although it had overtaken the BJP by just a couple of seats in the BMC election cliffhanger in February this year, the Shiv Sena was left way behind by its long-time ally in the Mira-Bhayander municipal corporation polls. The BJP won 61seats -a clear majority -in the 95-strong civic body on Monday, while the Sena, notwithstanding the fact that party president Uddhav Thackeray had personally monitored the poll campaign, won 22.

The BJP had 31seats in the previous civic body, and the Sena 14. Though the earlier House was ruled by the BJP-Sena combine, the two parties, currently together in the state government, contested the August 20 polls separately. So did the Congress and NCP. While Congress came in third with 12 seats (it had 19 earlier), the NCP failed to even open its account this time. TNN


Jan: Gondia zilla parishad

Prafulla Marpakwar, Cong, BJP join hands in Maha local election, January 18, 2018: The Times of India

The talks between Congress and NCP for an alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra polls got a jolt as Congress decided to join hands with BJP for elections to the posts of Gondia zilla parishad president and vice-president.

Though NCP secured 20 seats, followed by BJP (17) and Congress (16), the saffron party supported Congress nominee Seema Madavi, who was elected president, while Congress backed BJP’s Hamit Akbar Ali, who became VP. State Congress chief Ashok Chavan said bitterness between his party and NCP in Gondia is well-known. While state NCP chief Sunil Tatkare expressed displeasure over the Congress-BJP alliance, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said his party didn’t approve of the alliance.

March: Yuva Sena sweeps Mumbai University senate elections

Yogita Rao, Aditya Thackeray’s outfit sweeps Mumbai Univ polls, March 30, 2018: The Times of India

It was a clean sweep for Aditya Thackeray-led Yuva Sena at Mumbai University’s senate elections on Thursday. Sena won 10 of the 10 seats in the graduates constituency.

Raj Thackeray’s MNVS, which had two seats in the last senate body, seemed to have conceded defeat even before the elections. The MNVS did not officially contest the elections, though two of their candidates did run as Independents. ABVP candidates were at a distant second. Yuva Sena’s Pradeep Sawant said all Shiv Sena ‘shakha pramukhs’ were asked to mobilise voters in their locality. “The planning worked in our favour. None of the other parties had enough voter base. In the reserved category seats, our candidates have won with huge margins,” said Sawant.

Aug: BJP wrests 2 civic seats from Sena, Cong-NCP

Prafulla Marpakwar, BJP wrests two civic seats from Sena, Cong-NCP, August 4, 2018: The Times of India

Continuing its electoral march in the state, BJP wrested the Congress-NCPruled Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad and Shiv Sena-controlled Jalgaon municipal corporations in wester n and norther n Maharashtra, respectively.

After the victories, CM Devendra Fadnavis emerged more powerful as BJP was not expecting easy wins, considering that voting was held in the backdrop of the anti-BJP atmosphere over Fadnavis’ failure to tackle the Maratha reservation row and dismal implementation of the Rs 32,000-crore loan waiver scheme.

“Despite adverse circumstances, we have won the elections and with huge margins. It indicates faith in the leadership of PM Modi. People have accepted our development model,’’ said Fadnavis.

Dec: Ahmednagar Mayoral Election and the NCP

Prafulla Marpakwar, NCP men defy whip, vote for BJP’s nominee, December 29, 2018: The Times of India

In a major setback for the Sharad Pawar-led NCP, his party’s councillors in the Ahmednagar municipal corporation on Friday defied the party whip and voted in favour of BJP mayoral nominee Babasaheb Wakale. All 18 NCP councillors voted in favour of Wakale, as a result of which he was unanimously elected mayor of the Ahmednagar civic body by 37-0 votes.

In the House of 68, no party had a clear majority. The Shiv Sena had 24 members, followed by NCP (18), BJP (14), Congress (5), BSP (4), SP (1) and independents (2).

A month ago, state NCP president Jayant Patil, in the presence of senior NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal and Dilip Walse Patil, had asked Ahmednagar-based party activists to ensure the NCP councillors did not vote for a BJP or Sena nominee. While the Sena did not put up any candidate, it appears the NCP councillors did not take the directive seriously.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik told TOI that the councillors defied the party whip, following which a show-cause notice has been served to all 18 councillors. “They have been asked to reply within a week. We will decide the course of action against the erring councillors after receiving their reply,” he said.

He said since NCP had contested the civic polls jointly with Congress and other like-minded parties, it was expected that NCP councillors would vote for a joint candidate or if there is no candidate, they would not participate in the voting process. “We are concerned over the way our councillors defied the party whip,” Malik said.

The outcome of the mayoral elections comes as a boost for BJP, particularly for Girish Mahajan, who has succeeded in securing control over all the municipal corporations in Northern Maharashtra. After Jalgaon, Dhule and Nashik, BJP has now gained control over the Ahmednagar civic corporation.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said a show-cause notice had been served to all the 18 councillors who have defied the party whip

Dec: Dhule, Ahmednagar: BJP, Shiv Sena win

Ranjan Dasgupta, Maha civic polls: BJP tastes maiden victory in Dhule, December 11, 2018: The Times of India

BJP’s juggernaut through the major cities of north Maharashtra continued with the party securing a comfortable majority in the Dhule Municipal Corporation (DMC) elections for the first time. In Ahmednagar, Shiv Sena won the maximum number of seats (24) but the 14 winners from BJP could decide the next governing body of the local municipal corporation.

Voting for both municipal corporations took place on Sunday and the counting of votes was done.

The BJP, which had just three members in the outgoing DMC, managed to win 50 seats in the 74-member House, despite facing rebellion from party heavyweight Anil Gote. The ruling NCP-Congress coalition had to be content with 14 seats as against the 41 seats it had last time.

In Ahmednagar, the Sena is short of 11 votes to secure a majority. The NCP is the second largest party with 18 seats, while the BJP has 14 seats.

With the hung verdict in Ahmednagar, all eyes are on the state leaderships of the BJP and the Sena to see if they form a post-poll alliance to retain power.

“We will live up to the firm faith that voters in Dhule have shown in our development plank. We will create a clean and fearfree administration for the citizens. We have improved our performance in Ahmednagar, but it is not as per our expectations. We will introspect where we fell short at the local level. We remain committed to planned development of both these cities,” said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

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