BJP-Sena Make Big Gains In Maharashtra 'Mini-Elections' Held After Notes Ban

BJP has taken a strong lead in Maharashtra civic body polls


  • Polls being held for 212 civic bodies in Maharashtra over 4 days
  • After first day of voting for civic polls, BJP-Sena take strong lead
  • Polls held amid protests against currency ban and impact on people
Mumbai: The ruling BJP in Maharashtra made big gains on Monday as votes were counted after the first phase of civic polls described as a "mini-election" amid political sparring over the currency ban.

In the results available on Monday evening, the BJP had won 851 seats across 164 urban local bodies, making in-roads into the traditional strongholds of the Congress and Sharad Pawar's NCP or Nationalist Congress Party.

Elections were held for 3,705 seats spread over 147 municipal councils and 17 Panchayats. BJP nominees won in 52 of the councils, where municipal chiefs were elected directly.

The Shiv Sena, which had a tie-up with the BJP, won 514 seats. The NCP won 638 and the Congress 643.

In the 2011 municipal elections, the BJP had won 298 of these seats, the Sena 264, Congress 771 and NCP 916. Since then, the BJP has tightened its hold in Maharashtra with two major poll victories - the national and the state election.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the civic poll results as a "win for pro-poor and development politics of BJP."
 Two state ministers, Pankaja Munde and Raosaheb Danve, however, suffered setbacks in their constituencies as the BJP lost most of its seats in these areas.

"I accept the people's verdict. I will analyse what went wrong and what led people to give this verdict," Ms Munde said.

Opposition politicians Prithviraj Chavan and Narayan Rane of the Congress also lost seats in their strongholds.

There are a total of 212 municipal bodies. After the first phase on Sunday, voting will take place in the rest of the seats on December 14, 18, and January 8.

The elections, held against the backdrop of the currency ban, were seen as 'mini' assembly polls and a test of popularity of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who led the BJP's campaign to extend his party's influence in the rural areas, where the Congress and NCP have had an upper hand for long.

Mr Fadnavis said the BJP's wins show that the people are with PM Modi's vision of ending corruption and black or untaxed money by banning 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.

The results came on a day opposition parties protested across the nation against the notes ban and its impact on people, who, they say, have been suddenly left facing a cash crunch.

BJP chief Amit Shah, in a series of tweets, called the results a wake-up call for parties that are campaigning against the notes ban.