The Shiv Sena is set to emerge as the largest party in Mumbai, while the BJP is ahead in other cities across Maharashtra in civic polls as trends today showed the Congress and the NCP trailing far behind them.
The Sena is leading in 93 seats and the BJP in 61 as trends of counting of votes for the 227-member Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, where the saffron allies are locked in a battle, poured in.
The Congress and the NCP are trailing way behind the Sena and the BJP, leading in 22 and 7 seats, respectively. The MNS is leading in 10 seats, a State Election Commission official said.
In the adjoining Thane civic body also, the Sena is maintaining its supremacy.
The Sena has been controlling the BMC for the last two decades with the backing of the BJP, but this time the two parties parted ways and decided to go it alone, leading to a high-voltage campaign for the civic election.
Meanwhile, in Pune, Nashik and Nagpur civic bodies, the BJP is ahead of its rivals.
In Pune, the BJP is set to make decisive gains at the cost of Sharad Pawar-led NCP. In Nagpur, the hometown of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, it is ahead of its rivals.
As per trends coming in from the other city corporations, zilla parishads and panchayat samitis, the BJP has won 15 seats and Shiv Sena 9 in the 122-member Nashik Municipal Corporation. Besides, the Shiv Sena was leading in 18 seats, BJP in 14, and MNS, NCP and Congress in 2 seats each in the Nashik civic body.
The ruling MNS appeared to be in for a severe drubbing in Nashik.
The civic polls, especially in the country’s financial hub Mumbai, have generated much political heat on account of the fierce fight between the BJP and the Sena, despite they sharing power in the state and at the Centre.
The battle of the estranged allies has put a question mark on the stability of the BJP-led ministry in the state as the Sena had been tenacious in its attack on the senior partner and the Centre’s demonetisation policy.
The stakes are high for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who led their parties from the front and were involved in a high decibel and no-holds-barred campaign.
Apart from Mumbai, the municipal corporations which went to the polls were Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.
The big poll focus is on the BMC, retaining control of which is vital for the Sena as the city has remained its prime political space ever since the party’s formation in 1966. It has been in power in the BMC for over two decades.