Maharashtra Municipal Elections 2016: BJP emerges clear winner, Congress & NCP lose big in Phase I

Maharashtra Municipal Elections 2016: BJP emerges clear winner, Congress & NCP lose big in Phase I
CM Devendra Fadnavis at an election rally. Picture Courtesy: PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday emerged as a major winner in the first phase of Maharashtra’s civic body polls, winning the highest seats and president posts. In contrast, NCP, who along with Congress was banking on the perceived fallout post demonetization, lost big.

For the 212 civic bodies in the state, elections will be held in four phases and for the first time, presidents of municipal councils will be elected directly by people.

In the first phase, voting for the for the 3,706 seats spread over 147 municipal councils and 17 Nagar Panchayats across 25 districts in Maharashtra was held on Sunday. The polling saw 65 percent average voter turnout.

A total of 15,826 candidates were in the fray for 3,705 seats across the 164 municipal councils.

The election commission began counting votes at 10am today.

Results:

Prior to elections, a majority of municipal councils were controlled by the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The tally at the end of last elections stood at, BJP: 298, Sena: 264, Congress: 771 and NCP: 916.

Minutes after the results were declared, PM Narendra Modi thanked the voters for supporting the party and congratulated the Maharashtra Party unit for their stellar performance.

What’s next:

The next rounds of voting are scheduled for December 14, December 18, and January 8. Meanwhile, 27 candidates have been declared elected unopposed and no nominations were received for Shirala Nagar Panchayat in Sangli district.

The polls, which are being viewed as a prelude to the Assembly elections, will test the popularity of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the BJP campaign to make inroads in the rural areas where Congress and NCP hold sway.

According to PTI, demonetisation, farm distress, improvement in rural infrastructure and caste tensions due to morcha by various communities in the run up to the polls were the main issues apart from local matters.

While ruling alliance partners, BJP and Shiv Sena, had tied up for the polls, the opposition Congress and NCP didn’t formally announce any alliance.

While BJP projected development as its main plank, during the campaign Fadnavis hailed the demonetisation move as a major attack on black money. The Congress highlighted the hardships being faced by the poor and common man due to demonetisation among other issues.

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