Counting of votes began this morning in the election to 147 municipal councils and 17 nagar panchayats across 25 districts in Maharashtra, seen as a litmus test for the Devendra Fadnavis’ government.
Early results showed a big setback for BJP after it reportedly suffered a massive setback in its own stronghold.
According to Maharashtra Today, in Deogad MC on all the 17 seats Congress got a thumping success. Here, Narayan Rane’s son Nitesh Rane was successful winning establishing his power in BJP’s so called fort.
In Sawantwadi Municipal Council, an important constituency in Sindhudurg district, Congress won 8 seats out of 17 while Shiv Sena got 7, BJP 1 and Independent 1.
NCP was leading in 8 seats at 12 noon, while the BJP had won just 4 seats.
The early jolt for the saffron party came after Congress candidate won Bhokardan Municipal Chairmanship.
Congress candidate Rachnatai Modi then won the chairman’s post of Ambejogai Municipal Corporation. Ambejogai falls in Marathawada region, a constituency represented by Pankaja Munde.
In Munde’s home town, Parli Municipality, NCP won 27 out of 33 seats.
BJP was reported to be doing well in Vidharbha region, where the party won all 23 seats in Arvi Municipality besides wresting control in all three Amravati municipalities.
Congress’ Amrish Patel, who’s also an MLC, retained the party’s control in Shirpur municipality. His daughter Jayshreeben was elected chairperson. Congress won 21 out of 30 seats, while BJP won 5 and independent 4.
As many as 15,826 candidates are in the fray for 3,705 seats spread over the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, where voting was held yesterday in the first phase with around 70% of the electorate exercising its franchise.
No nominations were received for Shirala Nagar Panchayat in Sangli district while 28 candidates were elected unopposed.
Polling was also held for the municipal council presidents post in 147 places for which 1,013 candidates are in the race.
The polls are being viewed as ‘mini’ Assembly elections and a test of popularity of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the BJP campaign to make inroads in the rural areas where Congress and NCP hold sway.
This is for the first time that presidents of municipal councils will be elected directly by people.
The second phase of elections to 14 municipal councils will be held on December 14.
Demonetisation, farm distress, improvement in rural infrastructure and caste tensions due to morcha by various communities in the run up to the polls were the main issues apart from local matters.
While ruling alliance partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, had tied up for the polls, the opposition Congress and NCP didn’t formally announce any alliance.
While BJP projected development as its main plank, during the campaign Fadnavis hailed the demonetisation move as a major attack on black money.
The Congress highlighted the hardships being faced by the poor and common man due to demonetisation among other issues.
In total, including yesterday’s phase, elections are being held for 212 civic bodies, comprising municipal councils and nagar panchayats, in four phases.