Select Page

BMC 2017: Shiv Sena & BJP to battle for top spot in Mumbai, others take backseat

BMC 2017: Shiv Sena & BJP to battle for top spot in Mumbai, others take backseat
BMC 2017: Shiv Sena & BJP to battle for top spot in Mumbai, others take backseat

Shiv Sena and BJP are expected to battle it out for the top spot in Mumbai’s BMC

55 percent of Mumbaikars voted for the all-important BMC elections, which is being viewed by many as a two-way contest between former allies Shiv Sena and BJP.

“56 per cent voters exercised franchise across ten municipal corporations in Maharashtra, including the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation which recorded a 55 per cent turn-out,” state election commission officials said.

BJP and its bickering ally in the state government Shiv Sena, who could not form an alliance for the civic poll in the megapolis or elsewhere this time, fought keenly, lashing out freely at each other during the bitter campaign.

The stakes are high for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who led their respective parties from the front and were involved in a no-holds-barred campaign, relegating the opposition Congress, NCP and other players like MNS and MIM to the background.

In Mumbai, there are 2,275 candidates and 92 lakh voters. The outcome in Asia’s largest civic body, run by the Shiv Sena with the BJP’s support for the last two decades, will decide the fate of the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government.

Retaining the 227-member BMC is vital for Shiv Sena as the city has been its political heartland since its formation in 1966.

The campaign turned into a slugfest between the two parties, throwing up the question if there would be a parting of ways post-election and mid-term elections for the state government.

The BJP, which had been a junior partner of Sena before it gained the upper hand through the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, declined to accept the number of seats offered by the Sena in this poll.

The decision set the stage for a high-voltage electioneering that saw countless mudslinging contests, allegations and rebuttals.

The BJP has its eyes set on gaining power in BMC, one of world’s largest city bodies with an annual budget of over Rs 37,000 crore, undeterred by Sena’s threat of pulling the plug on the state government.

Earlier Thackeray had even put the state government on “notice period” shortly after the campaign started. While BJP harped on transparency and corruption in BMC, Sena campaigned on its performance in BMC over the last two decades.

Larger civic amenities like better roads, water supply and measures to contain pollution were drowned in the political cacophony of the campaign.

Although there is no clear mandate, it is possible for Shiv Sena and BJP to form an alliance post-poll. Even last year, the parties had contested the Kalyan-Dombivli corporation polls separately, but formed an alliance after the polls.

Former partners Congress and Nationalist Congress Party also went their separate way this time. While MNS’ campaign lacked the vigour of the last election season, new entrant MIM campaigned extensively in certain Muslim-dominated pockets.

Meanwhile, the Axis-My India exit poll, carried by India Today, also puts Shiv Sena and BJP at the forefront.

According to the poll, Shiv Sena is expected to get 86-90 seats, and BJP 80-88 seats. Both will each get 32 percent of the votes. Congress may get 30-34 seats with a vote share of 16 percent, while NCP and MNS are expected to get single digit seats.

In the present corporation, Shiv Sena has 75 seats followed by Congress (52), BJP (31), NCP (7), MNS (27), SP (9) and others (32).

Apart from Mumbai, the municipal corporations which went to the polls included Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur. In addition, 11 Zilla Parishads and 118 panchayat samiti polls also went to polls.

The counting will take place on February 23.

Send this to a friend