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BJP may push for control of cash-rich BMC, Congress licks its wounds

Source: PTI
February 23, 2017 18:14 IST
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As the fierce contest between estranged saffron allies Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party to win the BMC continued, Maharashtra BJP president Raosaheb Danve Thursday said his party may be able to rule the cash-rich body with the support of some independents.

"The figures show that we are gaining in the BMC... We may rule (the civic body). Some independents have extended support to us. Once the figures are finalised, we will be able to give a better picture of the BJP's position," he said.

He said Thursday's mandate across the ten municipal corporations and 25 Zilla Parishads was directly linked to BJP's good governance in New Delhi and Maharashtra.

"Last time (in 2012), we had won 32 seats in BMC elections. Now, we have gained significantly and we may win more seats," Danve said as the BJP put up a stellar
performance in the civic and local bodies across the state, counting for which is underway.

As per the trends so far, the Sena and BJP are locked in a photo finish contest and either party is seemingly unlikely to garner the requisite numbers on its own to rule the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporations (BMC).

In such a scenario, the alliance seems inevitable, though it is not yet clear whether the saffron allies will get back together or new combinations will emerge.

When asked about the bitterness during the campaign, as the Sena and BJP had contested the polls separately, Danve said, "Everybody needs to forgive and forget the allegations as well as the strong language used during the campaign. Now, the mandate is out and we respect it."

He said the mandate was the result of the collective efforts of BJP leaders and party workers.

"We will continue our service to people hereafter as well," he added.

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Its definitely a setback, says Congress

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee on Thursday conceded that the results for the ten municipal corporations, 25 Zilla Parishads and 283 Panchayat Samitis across the state have signalled a setback for the party.

"The results are mixed with the party doing well in Zilla Parishads while suffering reverses in the municipal corporations. It is definitely a setback," party Vice
President and spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan said.

He said the results have been unexpected and need to be analysed on the organisational level at the popularity level.

"Whether there has been a disconnect between voters and the party leaders should be seen," he said.

Mahajan said even though the elections should have been fought on local issues, it looked as if the hangover of the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls remained.

"The high decibel campaign by the Sena and BJP showed as if the two parties are the only alternative to each other. Due to the aggressiveness of both parties to take on each other, opposition Congress and NCP virtually did not exist," he said.

Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti results are yet to come and Congress is expected to do well in the rural areas, he said.

The party could barely manage to win 30 seats in Mumbai while it lost power in Amravati, Solapur civic bodies as well as Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad where it shared power with NCP.

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