Sena, BJP retain Mumbai corporation

Cong, NCP, BJP manage to hold onto their domains across the state

Sena, BJP retain Mumbai corporation

It was a coup de grace from an old fox. The gambit played by Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on the night before the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, plaintively pleading his estranged nephew and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray to return to “home and fold,” delivered a dividend of 77 seats.

Ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also bagged 30 seats while Republican Party of India though managing to grab only seat, helped the Sena with Dalit vote bank to the 227-seat strong corporation.

Elsewhere in the state which had gone to polls for 10 municipal corporations, councils and 27 Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti, the Sena failed but big-guns Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and BJP managed to retain their hold on traditional turf even as MNS made deep inroads into corporations like Nashik and Pune.

The NCP continued its hold in the interiors like Pimpri-Chinchwad, Ulhasnagar, Pune and Thane municipal corporations, with the support of sugar cooperatives, landlords and big farmers.While the overall performance of Congress, barring Solapur and Akola, was “barely average,” BJP also failed to come up with any spectacular result, displaying its muscle only in its own bastion like Nagpur and Akola.

However, while the report cards from interiors did spring unexpected results except for MNS increasing its share in several places, Mumbai civic elections continued to remain the cynosure of political analysts.

The Congress and NCP wh­ich had teamed up to conquer the country’s richest corporation that has an annual budget larger than Kerala’s state budget, were left with 51 and 14 seats respectively.

The teaming up had started with both sides squabbling and post-results, also saw both sides blaming each other for the dismal performance.

But the worst-hit by BMC results was the “kingmaker-in-waiting,” MNS leader Raj Thackeray.Though on first sight the party seemed to have scored an impressive win of 27 seats, the fact was high exp­ectations and pre-poll overarching confidence, left them stumped. The typhoon-struck MNS in the last civic elections held soon after the formation of party, had secured seven seats.

However, Friday’s results forced MNS leader Raj Thackeray to state: “We will certainly analyse the results and try to find out the causes which led to such a result.”

Deft moves

The Shiv Sena which had been ruling the municipal corporation for the last 17 years with only breaks in-between when Congress managed to wrench it out of their hands, played its moves deftly. After roping in Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Ramdas Athavale for securing Dalit votes, the ageing chief of the Sena showed his political acumen by offering an olive branch to his estranged enfant terrible nephew MNS leader Raj Thackeray.

It was a bolt from the blue, and the nephew’s reaction did not go down well with the lower-middle class Marathi-speaking Mumbaikars. Bal Thackeray’s plea to his nephew to come back to “home and fold,” which despite not being aired, found itself being mentioned in street corners and news reports and tugged the emotional strings. The result was Friday’s brilliant political win.

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