With the win in Bhandup bypoll on Thursday, the BJP has inched closer to the Shiv Sena’s 84 seat tally in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). BJP’s candidate Jagruti Patil won from ward 116 Bhandup (Vihar lake-Powai lake-Paspoli village), beating Shiv Sena candidate Meenakshi Patil by over 4,000 votes. The Bhandup bypoll assumed significance for the parties, both of which are leaving no stone unturned to become the single largest party in the civic body.
The by-election was held for Bhandup ward 116 after the sudden death of sitting Congress corporator Pramila Patil (53), a first time corporator. She died after a cardiac arrest during a visit in her ward on April 25.
The winner, Jagruti Patil, is the daughter-in-law of Pramila Patil. However, unlike her mother-in-law, she joined the BJP ahead of the by-election, along with her husband. “We have worked in the area. Hence, people voted for us. It was not just public sympathy that we got. We got people’s confidence in the form of votes,” said Jagruti.
While the ruling party at the civic body holds 84 of the 227 wards, BJP continues to hold 82 seats in the civic body. The Shiv Sena had emerged as the single largest party in the civic polls held in February. The BJP, however, was a formidable rival with 82 seats. As a result, no party had achieved the majority mark of 114 seats.
BJP’s seat count would have climbed to 83 after the Bhandup by-election. But following the death of one of its senior corporators, Shailaja Girkar, on September 10, its seat in Kandivali fell vacant. Girkar died after suffering a heart attack.
The BJP and the Sena are expected to have another fierce contest for the seat due for a bypoll. “The Sena was and will always remain in the lead. People can celebrate whatever small wins they have achieved,” said Shiv Sena corporator and leader of the house in BMC, Yashwant Jadhav.
Meanwhile, Congress, which had 31 seats, has come down to 30 after Pramila’s death and losing the seat to the BJP in the bypoll held on Wednesday.
“Bhandup was never a Congress stronghold. Pramila asked for the ticket. She belongs to the family of Dina Bama Patil and is the wife of Kamalakar Patil. She won the seat but unfortunately, she passed away. We offered a ticket to her daughter-in-law. However, they decided to go with the BJP. The day they joined the BJP, we knew the results will not be in our favour. Even the Shiv Sena candidate was very strong. It was a tough fight,” said Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam.
Apart from Jagruti and Meenakshi (wife of sitting Shiv Sena MLA Ashok Patil), there were five other candidates who contested the ward — Pramila Singh (Congress), Baby Sawant (Bahujan Samaj Party), Smruti Jadhav (Janata Dal-Secular), Deepika Jadhav (Sambhaji Brigade) and Vaishali Gajdhane (Bahujan Mukta Party).