01 May 2017 | Last updated 11:58 PM

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BJP wrests Civic bodies
Rohit Chandavarkar | Thursday, 23 February 2017 AT 09:12 PM IST
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Gains for BJP; warning signs for other parties

With urban vote-bank consolidated, BJP makes inroads in rural areas.

The civic polls in Maharashtra have tossed up somewhat trendsetting results. Two regional (state-level) political parties, which now face the danger of becoming irrelevant in urban areas of Maharashtra, are the NCP and Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS), while the BJP has clearly surged ahead in urban centres as well as districts such as Latur, which till now were totally dominated by the Congress.

For Shiv Sena too, not getting a complete majority in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may be seen as a warning bell and an indication that the party may be headed for tougher times in the future.

Apart from the Congress, NCP too has been given a big jolt in its bastion of Pune district in two municipal corporations, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. The party may have done well in the district council polls in districts such as Pune, Satara and some places in Marathwada, but the urban voter has clearly rejected the NCP. The young urban voter has also obviously rejected Raj Thackeray’s MNS.

Pune is NCP President Sharad Pawar’s home district, but he has not been able to dominate the Pune Municipal Corporation in a single handed way. NCP always had to tie up with the Congress in Pune. But now, for the first time in the history of the city, the BJP will dominate the corporation as the single largest party with a clear majority. 
The election to 10 municipal bodies, 11 district councils and rural self government bodies in Maharashtra was almost given the status of mini-assembly polls. The results have very clearly shown that people want to support the BJP in Mumbai, but with a rider that they better continue in alliance with the Shiv Sena, while in rest of the urban centres in Maharashtra such as Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nashik, the tilt is clearly in favour of the BJP as the lone force. Thane is the only urban centre where Shiv Sena has been given a clear mandate.

Congress and NCP, the traditional parties that dominated Pune, Nashik and some other centres such as Amrawati and Akola since many decades, have got a huge setback in these elections and have been almost given a warning by the voters to perform or perish.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has undoubtedly emerged as the biggest gainer of these civic elections, while the losers are Ajit Pawar, who could not retain his bastion in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, as well as Raj Thackeray, who now faces the possibility of becoming irrelevant in Mahrashtra politics as the voters in Nashik (where he controlled the municipal body) have totally rejected him.

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