The Congress on Thursday swept municipal polls in the prestigious Nanded-Waghala City Municipal Corporation (NWCMC), by winning 71 of the 73 seats in the 81-seat body and crushing the opposition. The BJP was placed at a distant second with juts four seats.
The Congress, according to an IANS report, was expected to win a few more seats as it led in another five seats in the NWCMC, a stronghold of Maharashtra party chief Ashok Chavan. Elections to the civic body were held on Wednesday.
Not only did the Congress retain the civic body but also hugely improved its tally compared to 2012 when it secured 41 seats, proving a major morale-booster for the party reeling under a saffron onslaught.
A jubilant Chavan tweeted, “The return journey for the Congress in Maharashtra has begun in Nanded. The Congress wipes out BJP,”
— Maharashtra Congress (@INCMaharashtra) October 12, 2017
He said the people of Nanded had “reposed full faith” in the developmental agenda of the Congress and deserved credit for its victory.
The AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen), which had 11 corporators could not win a single seat.
Similarly, the Congress’ ally, the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), failed to secure a single seat, a State Election Commission (SEC) official said.
In 2012, the Congress bagged 41 seats, Shiv Sena 14, AIMIM 11, NCP 10, BJP two while independents notched three seats.
The 2017 elections outcome proved a huge setback to the Sena, NCP and AIMIM though some BJP leaders claimed the party which held two seats earlier (2012) had doubled its performance by capturing four seats.
Another NDA ally, Maharashtra Swabhiman Party President Narayan Rane, minced no words in criticizing the BJP-Sena saying they should do “serious introspection and soul-searching” in the wake of the Nanded result.
“The Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) and Shiv Sena President (Uddhav Thackeray) personally held so many election rallies. And this is what they got? Their leadership must carry out a serious introspection and soul-searching.”
For the first time in Maharashtra, the SEC deployed VVPAT (voter verified paper audit trail) voting machines in 31 polling centres in Ward No 2 as a pilot project in the elections which recorded a 65 per cent turnout.