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In a stunning comeback after a series of electoral debacles and splits in the party, Shiv Sena on Friday surged ahead with its ally Bharatiya Janata Party to retain power in the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and was tipped to capture three other cities while Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party may bag four towns.
The Shiv Sena-BJP combine secured 111 seats, 3 short of majority in 227-member civic body, official sources said.
The Congress-NCP combine finished second, bagging 85 seats. Congress was leading in a ward where a repoll has been ordered in a polling station due to failure of electronic voting machine.
Written off by pollsters after splits effected by Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray and the routs in successive assembly bye-elections, the saffron combine retained the BMC in the country's financial capital for a second term.
Rane, now revenue minister in the Maharashtra government, and Raj Thackeray, who floated his own outfit last year, did not dent Sena poll prospects. This was evident from the victory of Sena nominees in Chembur in Central Mumbai, the stronghold of Rane, and the failure of Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which secured a paltry seven seats. However, Sena's tally dipped compared to the last BMC polls in 2002 when it got 104 seats.
Firecrackers were burst and sweets distributed outside Matoshree, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's home in suburban Bandra, as news of the victory reached party supporters who had gathered there in large numbers.
Mumbai's voters reposed their faith in the combine despite the Sena-led civic body facing a lot of criticism for a spate of problems, as was evident during the deluge in July 26, 2005.
Congress, stung by feud between Union Minister Vilas Muttemwar and Maharashtra Minister Satish Chaturvedi, has been voted out of power from Nagpur Municipal Corporation as BJP-Shiv Sena emerged as the single largest alliance in the civic body and was poised to capture power.
The saffron combine won 63 seats and fell five short of majority in the 136-member civic body. However, the alliance is likely to get support from independents and rebels besides RJD, which has bagged three seats.
Congress and NCP, which fought separately, bagged 33 and eight seats respectively. The splinter groups of Dalits parties also failed to make any impact and ended with winning one-two seats each.
RPI (2), Bahujan Republican Ekta Manch (2), Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh (2), Republican Party (Khobragade) (1), Republican Morcha Aghadi (1), RPI (Athwale) (1) and independents (10) are the other winners.
One seat was countermanded following accidental death of a NCP candidate during campaign, Returning Officer, Lokesh Chandra said.
The BJP-Sena secured 40 seats in the Nashik Corporation but failed to muster a majority, resulting in a hung House.
Shiv Sena won 26 seats and became the single largest party in the NMC while its ally BJP has bagged 14 seats. Both Congress and NCP contested polls on its own and the former won 21 seats while the Sharad Pawar-led party 17.
Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which won 12 seats, and 10 independents would play key role in forming majority in this civic body.
The Congress-NCP combine is set to win the Akola Municipal Corporation polls, dislodging the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance from power.
Congress won 19 seats while its ally NCP won 11 in the 71-member corporation elections for which were held yesterday. One candidate of Congress has been already declared elected unopposed, according to election office sources.
Akola was the only municipal corporation where Congress and NCP had a pre-poll alliance. Sena and BJP failed to retain power, winning only 11 and 7 seats respectively.
Lok Janshakti Party of Ramvilas Paswan and Samajwadi Party won two seats each. Azad Hind Congress, floated by local leader Hidayat Patel, bagged one seat. Republican Party of India (Bahuhan Mahasangh) led by Prakash Ambedkar won 10 seats.
Notable winners included city Congress president Madan Bhargad, Congress women front city chief Usha Virak and Vijay Agarwal, president of the local BJP unit.
Noted criminal lawyer and BJP candidate Motising Mohta, Sunil Shukla (BJP), Corporation's standing committee chairman Sanjay Shelke (Shiv Sena), former standing committee chairman Ghaslet King Aziz Pahelwan (NCP) and Kazi Nazi Moddin (Congress) were the prominent losers.
In the 144-member Pune Municipal Corporation, no party could muster absolute majority and the state's ruling Congress put up a poor performance.
Congress managed 35 seats -- a sharp drop from its tally of 61 in the previous polls. The NCP put up an improved performance winning in 42 wards -- almost double the number last time.
BJP bagged 25 seats and its ally Shiv Sena (20), Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Nirman Sena (8) and independents (14).
In Pimpri-Chinchwad, adjacent to Pune, NCP won 60 of the total of 105 seats on its own and was in a position to run the civic body without the support of Congress.
Congress won 20 seats followed by BJP (nine), Shiv Sena (four), RPI (one) and independents (11).
Overcoming revolt in its ranks, Shiv Sena emerged as the single largest party with 48 seats but failed to get majority in its stronghold Thane Municipal Corporation.
In a bid to retain the civic body that borders Mumbai, Sena chief Bal Thackeray had addressed an election rally here and made an emotional appeal to vote his party back to power. The move seems to have paid off as Sena captured 48 seats in the 116-member civic body.
However, Sena's ally BJP managed to win just five seats, nine less than the previous tally of 14. The newly floated Maharashtra Navnirman Sena of Raj Thackeray opened its account winning three seats. NCP and Congress, which fought the civic polls separately, won 25 and 16 seats, respectively.
The surprise in the pack was Samajwadi Party, which had a lone Corporator last time. The party bagged five seats this time while Bahujan Samaj Party won two and Independents 11.
Sena will have to seek support of smaller parties and Independents to secure a simple majority of 59. Some of the prominent losers were former Mayor Manohar Gadve, sitting corporators Raju Kale, Madhavi Naik and Veena Bhatia while major winners included Mayor Rajan Vichare and former Mayor Ashok Raul.
In the 76-seat Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, Sena-BJP combine bagged 27 seats compared to 20 of the Congress-NCP combine, which was in power.
In Amravati, the Congress-NCP combine looked set to retain power. Congress secured 22 seats while the NCP bagged 16, BJP 15 and Sena 11. Four candidates from BSP were also elected along with 13 Independents.
Congress emerged as the single largest party in the Solapur Municipal Corporation with 40 seats but failed to secure majority in the 98-member body.
Nationalist Congress Party won 14 seats, two more than the last elections, while the BJP bagged 15 wards. Shiv Sena won seven seats.
The BJP was the biggest loser, as its tally came down from 29 while Sena lost two seats.
Though Congress emerged as the single largest party, it too lost two seats. The party had 42 Corporators in the outgoing civic body.
Jansurajya Shakti Party, a local outfit that made its debut in the corporation polls, opened its account by winning three wards. Bahujan Samaj Party won two seats, one more than last time, while the CPI-M bagged three wards. The Republican Party of India -- Ramdas Athawale and R S Gavai factions -- won one seat each.
List of local bodies that went to polls on Thursday:
Mumbai: 227 wards; Thane: 116 wards; Ulhasnagar: 76 wards; Pune: 144 wards; Pimpri-Chinchwad: 105 wards; Nashik: 108 wards; Solapur: 98 wards; Akola: 71 wards; Amravati: 81 wards; Nagpur: 136 wards.
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