It was after 1997 for the first time that allies turned foes Shiv Sena and BJP separately fought the elections for India’s richest civic body – the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Since the last few months, the two parties have been involved in a bitter battle of words and propaganda during the BMC polls. The results of the BMC polls, which took place on February 21 along with polls for nine other civic bodies of Maharashtra, are out and although Shiv Sena leads the polls with 84 seats out of 227 seats, the BJP has turned out to be a big gainer as well by securing 81 seats. Congress, which had won 52 seats in the 2012 BMC elections, has performed poorly and has just won 31 seats this time. NCP (Nationalist Congress Party), MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena), Samajwadi Party, AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) have won nine, seven, six and three seats respectively.
The BMC elections have made the political scenario in Maharashtra a lot more interesting. Till now, BJP was always considered to be a junior partner in the BMC polls. Now that it has competed neck to neck with Shiv Sena in the polls, it will be interesting to see what will happen next. A party needs at least 114 seats to claim the Mayor’s post. With both BJP and Shiv Sena at logger heads with each other and both not having the numbers, only time will tell whether these former allies will come together again or try to approach other parties for the support. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has already announced after the results that the party was expecting better results but the Mayor will be from Shiv Sena.
While Shiv Sena is ahead of BJP in Mumbai and Thane, BJP has a big majority in Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Solapur, Akola, Ulhasnagar, Amravati and Pimpri Chinchwad. In Solapur, it’s the first time since the 1960’s that the Congress has not won the civic body elections. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis who led an aggressive campaign for the civic polls thanked the people of Maharashtra for giving BJP the majority in 8 out of 10 places.