The Opposition Congress managed to salvage some pride in the third round of polls in Maharashtra wherein 19 municipal councils and two nagar panchayats went to the elections, as the results started coming this afternoon.
Congress won 113 seats and bagged eight posts of municipal council president, while the ruling BJP won 114 council seats and seven seats of council president in Maharashtra polls.
At the end of three phases, BJP continued to remain the single largest party with 1,061 seats, while Congress finished with 885 seats, followed by NCP at 785 and Shiv Sena at 590.
In the third phase, BJP won seven and Congress won eight seats of municipal council president. NCP and an independent candidate bagged one seat each.
So the break-up of council presidents’ tally at the end of phase 3 is: BJP 63, Congress 33, NCP 21. Sena had won 26 council chief posts earlier but drew blank in the third phase.
Independents bagged two council president posts.
Elections were held in Aurangabad, Bhandara, Gadchiroli and Nanded districts in the third phase.
Apart from BJP and Congress, NCP won 77 municipal council seats in the third phase, independents 28, Lok Bharati five, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha two, Samajwadi Party one and Shiv Sena 38.
In Nanded district, MIM bagged five seats while BSP won two.
State Congress chief Ashok Chavan managed to defend the Congress bastion to some extent in his home district of Nanded, where the party won 72 of the 197 seats. Congress also won six municipal council presidents’ post in the district.
BJP did well in Bhandara and Gadchiroli, winning 70 of the total 132 seats in the two districts.
In Umari municipal council in Nanded district, NCP swept all the 17 seats.
State BJP president Raosaheb Danve thanked the people for reposing faith in his party in the third phase as well.
This success was an endorsement of the change at the Centre and in Maharashtra in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in 2014, and development agenda of BJP governments, he said.
Ashok Chavan expressed satisfaction over phase 3 results, noting that in Nanded district, where Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis addressed five rallies on a single day, people still backed Congress.
BJP’s use of money power in the elections was evident from Danve’s statement during the campaign (where the BJP leader asked people to “accept goddess Lakshmi coming home on the eve of polls), he said.
Goverment’s misuse of official machinery was also proved when Animal Husbandry Minister’s Mahadev Jankar was seen (in a video clip) pressurising election officials to reject a Congress candidate’s nomination, Chavan alleged.
Last phase of polls is yet to take place.