Putting his personal stamp on the party’s triumph across Maharashtra Thursday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis led the BJP as it stormed the Shiv Sena citadel of Mumbai, made giant strides in elections to civic bodies across the state and marginalised the Congress and NCP.
WATCH VIDEO | A Quick Look At Final Tally Of BMC Election & PMC Election Results 2017
In Mumbai, the BJP won 82 of 227 seats — almost a threefold increase — in the fiercely contested Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls, just two short of the Sena tally. With both parties well short of the 114 score needed to control the country’s richest civic body, a return to the alliance appeared inevitable — the Sena and BJP had called off the pact before the polls to go separate ways. The MNS dropped to 7 from its 2012 score of 28 seats.
Across Maharashtra, the BJP made impressive and decisive gains as the Congress and NCP were routed, losing strongholds like Pune. While the Sena improved its showing in Mumbai and Thane, the BJP looked set to control the remaining eight corporations — Ulhasnagar, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Nashik, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.
The Congress plummeted to a new low — the tally of 31 seats is its lowest in the BMC and the party lost Solapur and Amravati to the BJP. The NCP surrendered Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
In elections to Zilla Parishads too, the BJP tally suggested a threefold increase. Of the 1509 seats, the scorecard od the results declared read: BJP 410 (up from 165); Shiv Sena 264 (233); Congress 293 (419); NCP 346 (511); MNS 1 (17); and, Others 152 (170).
The first indication of a possible rapprochement between the BJP and Sena came almost immediately after the results. Maharashtra’s senior BJP minister Chandrakant Patil said, “The BJP and Shiv Sena should come together.”
The Shiv Sena took comfort from the fact that it had expanded its footprint in the Maharashtrian-dominated belts and had increased its overall tally. But the advantage was clearly with the BJP.
Chief Minister Fadnavis, who had made transparency in civic governance his party’s main poll plank, said: “Mumbaikars have voted for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s transparency agenda. This is our victory. We sought votes on transparency and people came out in support.”
“The verdict is a telling comment that people across Maharashtra have given huge support to the policies of Modiji. Our entire campaign was for development which people, both in urban and rural Maharashtra, have supported,” he said. “I have always maintained that politics cannot be for power and money making. If it is driven on the development plank and for people, we don’t have to worry about results. It was team work.”
His government has been pushing reform and social welfare measures, including the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan which has helped 11,500 villages in becoming drought-free. Infrastructure projects have been another focus area and formed part of the poll campaign. Fadnavis also did not give in to pressure for waiving farm loans, focusing instead on long-term agriculture reforms for sustainable livelihood and development in rural areas.