Mumbai, Feb 24: A strong saffron wave came to the fore in Maharashtra on Wednesday, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerging victorious in eight out of ten urban civic bodies contested. However, the electorate in Mumbai gave a hung verdict. Shiv Sena, the Hindutva alternative, succeeded in safeguarding its bastion – the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).Also Read - BJP Would Remain at Centre of Indian Politics For Years to Come: Prashant Kishor's Latest Comments
Despite winning 82 seats, BJP still remained inches behind Shiv Sena. The latter emerged victorious on 84. Being able to still survive as the single largest party in BMC, Shiv Sena has set its own terms before joining hands with BJP. In its editorial published in party mouthpiece Saamna, Shiv Sena states, “We will not relinquish the post of Mayor. Shiv Sena is the choice of Mumbai. BJP should respect that. Despite leading such a misleading campaign, such an expensive campaign, they failed to dislodge us from BMC.” Also Read - Bigg Boss 7 Fame Kamya Panjabi Breaks Silence on Joining Politics: 'Not Hungry For Power, Want to Work'
Congress and NCP were completely decimated from Maharashtra. While Congress lost control over four municipal corporations, NCP has been swept away from 2. Both the parties have failed to gain majority in any of urban bodies in this round of elections. In BMC, Congress emerged a distant third in the race, winning 31 seats. NCP bagged only 9, down from 13 it won in 2012. Also Read - He Can Get Me Shot, Says Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Lalu Prasad Yadav's 'Visarjan' Claim
- Round of side-corner talks began between Shiv Sena and BJP following the elections. Unofficial interaction took place between senior leaders Sanjay Raut and Vinod Tawde following the election results.
- Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray did not comment on post-poll alliance, following the results. “Now is the time to distribute sweets. We will take decision on alliance later,” he said, while interacting with the press.
- Union Minister Nitin Gadkari appeared optimist about the Sena-BJP coalition for BMC, saying, “The mandate of Mumbai has left no other option. Shiv Sena and BJP should join hands.” Both the parties have left the decision to their core committees.
- Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis changed his tune towards Shiv Sena. Despite leading a hard-hitting campaign against the latter, Fadnavis now appeared soft, saying, “We never said Shiv Sena is a foe.”
- BJP leader Prem Shukla lambasted Shiv Sena following the election results. “BJP is not opposed to aligning with them. But will they ever allow someone else to keep the post of Mayor and Standing Committee’s chairman. We are not opposed to aligning with them, provided they commit to the principle of transparency and zero tolerance on corruption.”
- Congress held a meeting in Mumbai today to discuss rout suffered by party, not just in Mumbai but across the state. The meeting was called by state party president Ashok Chavan.
- Following the meeting, Chavan stated that the party would take course correction methods. Commenting on the immediate options before Congress, Chavan said, “Congress is positive towards a post poll alliance with NCP in 25 Zilla Parishads in Maharashtra.”
- Chavan also hinted that Congress is open to an alliance with Shiv Sena. “If Shiv Sena will withdraw from the state government, we will extend support to them in BMC.”
- Meanwhile, three independents, including Changez Multani have extended support to BMC. They met Uddhav Thackeray earlier in the day.
- However, the prospects of Shiv Sena or BJP reaching the majority figure in BMC without each other’s support is bleak. Out of the 14 seats bagged by non-major parties, 3 each belong to AIMIM and Samajwadi Party. Both of them are unlikely to extend support to either Shiv Sena or BJP.
- Meanwhile, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray is yet to comment on the dismal performance of his party. From 28 seats, MNS has now been reduced to 7. The elected corporators of the party met Raj Thackeray today at his residence.