Congress won 57 of 81 seats sweeping municipal elections in Maharashtra's Nanded-Waghala
The Congress' big win in the Nanded civic elections in Maharashtra is a signal that the BJP can be defeated, said ally Shiv Sena today, its own debacle consigned to a postscript. The Nanded civic body has been a Congress stronghold for two decades and the party has retained it, sweeping 73 of the 81 seats or wards.
The BJP could win only six, a gain of six since it had won no seat in the last civic elections in Nanded. The Shiv Sena has won all of one seat, down from 14, but the party seemed unmindful of that statistic as it exulted in its magazine Saamna, "The results must have been a shocker for our friend, which saw the dream of a Congress-free India. The message for India through this election is clear - the BJP can be defeated." The Shiv Sena is a partner of the BJP both in Maharashtra and at the Centre, but often aligns with opposition parties in making scathing attacks on it.
The Saamna article alleged that the BJP had made the Nanded election a "prestige issue", with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and his cabinet colleagues campaigning hard. "They were decimated, just like in Delhi by the Aam Admi Party, the Sena said.
On its performance it merely said, "The Shiv Sena had to fight on dual fronts. On one hand was Ashok Chavan's Congress and on other the BJP, which uses all possible means to win an election."
The Congress' state chief Ashok Chawan, whose home base Nanded is, said, "The strategy of BJP has failed in elections completely. Even after making a lot of efforts they have failed in winning. This is a clean sweep.
The BJP had hoped to wrest the Nanded municipality from the Congress this time, extending its spectacular run in the state so far since its first big win in the general elections in 2014. In state elections soon after, it was the single largest party ahead of ally Shiv Sena, which has been struggling since to come to terms with the change in status of its once junior partner.
The BJP has in civic elections held since late last year also won 12 of 16 civic bodies for which elections have been held.
In elections this February to Mumbai's BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation), Asia's richest municipality, the BJP dramatically improved its position coming a very close second to the Shiv Sena with 82 seats to the Sena's 84. It narrowed that gap this week yesterday by winning a by-election to a seat left vacant by the death of a Congress corporator.