M A I N   N E W S

Civic Polls
Sena-BJP back, jolt for Cong

Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, February 2
Urban Maharashtra’s honeymoon with the Congress is clearly over with the party holding onto just a single civic body on its own.

Despite being buffeted by defections of both former Chief Minister Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray, the Shiv Sena along with its ally, the BJP, managed to bag six of the 10 civic bodies that went to the polls on Thursday.

The Shiv Sena-BJP combine retains the prestigious Mumbai and Thane municipal corporations apart from Ulhasnagar, Nagpur, and Nasik. The NCP has retained Pimpri-Chinchwad and toppled the Congress in Pune. The Congress has just the Solapur council while in Akola it had a pre-poll tie-up with the NCP.

In Mumbai, the Shiv Sena-BJP in power since 1980, retains the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation albeit with a reduced majority. The alliance bagged 111 seats, 3 short of majority, in the 227-member House. The Congress-NCP combine bagged 85 seats. The Congress was leading in a ward where a repoll has been ordered in a polling station due to failure of electronic voting machine.

In Nasik, the two saffron parties have bagged 40 of the 108 seats and are negotiating with Independents.

In Amravati, the Congress-NCP combine looked set to retain power. The Congress got 22 seats, NCP 16, BJP 15 and Shiv Sena 11. The BSP, which secured a seat in Mumbai, also saw four of its candidates getting elected in Amravati. Thirteen other candidates were also elected.

Though the secular alliance managed to hold on to the Pune civic body, the Congress here has been upstaged by the NCP. While the Congress won 35 seats, the NCP bagged 42 thereby emerging as a senior partner.

The Congress here had 61 seats in the outgoing House.

In the neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Mr Sharad Pawar’s NCP won 60 of the 105 seats.

In the 76-seat Ulhasnagar municipal corporation, the Sena-BJP bagged 27, compared to 20 of the Congress-NCP, which was in power.

Of the 71 seats in Akola, the only city where the Congress and the NCP had a pre-poll alliance, the two parties are set to regain power dislodging the saffron combine. The Congress got 19, NCP 12 while the BJP got 10 seats, Sena 7, MNS 1 and others 21.

Meanwhile, in Nagpur the BJP is all set to upstage the Shiv Sena and come close to a majority on its own.

A clearly deflated Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh of the Congress blamed the results on the breakdown of seat sharing talks with the NCP. “It would have been better if there was an alliance with the NCP,” Mr Deshmukh said when most of the results were in. Two parties have a tie-up only in the Akola civic body where they won comfortably.



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