Marathwada strongman Ashok Chavan passed,but barely,his first major test after he was forced to quit the post of Chief Minister as Congress scraped through in Nanded Municipal Corporation elections on Monday.
The party won 41 seats in the 81-member House and does not need support to claim power.
Nanded is the home constituency of Chavan and the polls were considered crucial to his political future. He has been looking to consolidate his position in Marathwada after the demise of Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Chavan was given a free hand in the election and his supporters had said Congress would win close to 50 seats. But the party fell well short of the target.
Congress won 39 seats in 2007 and came to power with the support of five independents.
We have increased our tally by two and do not need the support of any party to come to power. It is a win for Ashok Chavan and his leadership, said Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chairman Manikrao Thakre.
Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen made big gain in the election,increasing its tally from one in 2007 to 11. Party founder and MP Asaduddin Owaisi had drawn huge crowds during campaign in 25 minority dominated areas.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won 10 seats. The Sena-BJP-RPI alliance had fielded 72 candidates,but BJP won two seats and Sena 14.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena failed to retain the one seat it had won in 2007.