Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis along with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. (Press Trust of India file photo)
The Shiv Sena has won the most seats in the civic elections held in Kalyan-Dombivali, adjacent to Mumbai, which became a prestigious battle between the party and its ally, the BJP, after they decided to contest separately.
While the Sena won 52 of the 122 seats, it will be disappointed to fall short of the half way mark of 62. The BJP came in second, winning 41 seats, in a substantial jump from the last time. The two parties had fought together in 2010 and had won a total 40 seats, managing to grasp power in the municipality with the support of independents.
Allies at the Centre and in Maharashtra, the BJP and the Shiv Sena dismantled their alliance for this municipal election days after they exchanged strong words over the Sena's stance against Pakistani artists performing in Mumbai.
The Shiv Sena's announcement that it would fight alone was seen as a move to test the ground for a separate contest in the crucial Mumbai local body elections in 2017.
Today's results dealt another humiliating blow to Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which had won 27 seats in 2010. Today, it managed only eight. The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party were worse off winning only four and two seats respectively.
The Congress and the NCP, former allies, are doing much better in the Kolhapur municipal election. They contested independently, but are in a position to retain power with a total of 42 seats. NCP sources confirmed to NDTV that they will support the Congress.
The BJP and their ally, a local party called Tararini party have won 32 of the 81, but too are short of the halfway mark at 41.
Though the campaign for the Kalyan-Dombivali election was bitter, exposing a high level of toxicity in the BJP-Sena relationship, sources indicated that the BJP could support the Sena to retain power in the municipality, much like the Sena did last year after the Maharashtra state elections last year.