BJP clear winner in M'rashtra civic polls

The BJP is the clear winner in the Maharashtra civic body elections, with the Shiv Sena coming in the second position and the Congress and the NCP not finding themselves even in respectable third positions and ending up as clear losers. The BJP has won eight of the 10 municipal corporations and almost tripled its seats in the prestigious Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), leaving the Sena, which has dominated the Corporation, with an edge of just two seats. The allies in state government parted ways and fought separately after the Sena refused to give more than 60 seats to the BJP in Mumbai. The BJP has now won 82 on its own and proved that it is the main political force everywhere in the state. The only consolation for the Sena is that the challenge from its rival, the MNS, has fizzled out. The civic poll results mark a decisive stage in the growth of the BJP in the state and the evolution of its relations with its partner. The Shiv Sena was the dominant partner in the alliance but the relative positions have shifted in the recent past. The BJP did better than the Sena in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and so wanted

a better share of the seats in the assembly elections. The alliance broke down when the Sena refused, but again the BJP came on top in the elections, which the two contested separately. The partnership in government has since been an uneasy one, and the Sena has behaved more as an opposition party than as an alliance partner. If it thought it could prove its strength in the local body elections, it has failed again. Whatever the future of the troubled alliance, the BJP has shown that it can hold its own in any contest at any level, and is the dominant party in the state now. Much of the credit for the victory will go to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the campaign and has now emerged as the party’s top leader in the state. The Congress which once ruled the state, and the NCP which dominated some regions, have declined precipitously, after suffering severe blows in the past. They could not take advantage of the split between the BJP and the Sena which ironically helped the BJP more than others. The Congress has not been able to live down the stigma of corruption and poor administration, and has no credible leadership at any level. It has lost the organisational base it once had and it could not present a convincing plan or programme to the people. It does not seem to learn too.

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