Chavan's 'inconsequential' remarks fired up Sena supporters

 In the run-up to Mumbai municipal corporation elections, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had remarked that the Bal Thackeray-led Shiv Sena will become ''inconsequential'' after the February 16 civic polls.

The results today have proved that 86-year Thackeray is still relevant in local politics, as the Sena-BJP combine look set to retain power in Mumbai civic body, where they have reigned since 1996.

The results are a "slap on the face" of Chavan who has nowhere to hide, Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said.

Before the polls, Chavan had exuded confidence that the elections will see the Congress-NCP alliance ousting the Shiv Sena-BJP combine from the country's richest civic body.

Today, it appears that the techno-savvy politician, deputed by the Congress high command to move from Delhi to assume reigns of the state in 2010, may have overestimated the voter's anxiety to get rid of the 16-year old 'misrule' (as he termed it) in Mumbai.

What had prompted Chavan to cobble up an alliance at the local level with NCP was the fact that in the last elections, the total vote share of the Congress and NCP (which had then contested the BMC poll separately) had added up to 132 seats.
"Hence, getting a simple majority of 114 seats in the 227-member BMC should not be difficult," he had said.

Chavan had been saying that MNS support base, which has widened markedly since the 2007 BMC poll, would benefit the Congress-led DF, as the Raj Thackeray-led party would eat into the Sena-BJP alliance votes as it did in the past.

The MNS polling percentage may go up but not enough to make them winners, Chavan, who played a key role to hammer the alliance with NCP, had said.

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