The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have scored victories in one municipality each in the fresh round of civic body elections held in the state while in the third, the Congress is likely to join hands with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to get a mayor elected.
Winning 51 out of 78 seats in the Panvel Municipal Corporation, the BJP proved that winning seats has become almost a habit for the party in the state.
The Congress retained its hold on the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation, which is important for the grand old party as it shows that the minority voter still backs it.
In Malegaon, Congress has to form an alliance with the NCP and Janata Dal to get a mayor in the city.
Winning Panvel is a significant for the BJP, as the city is known as the gateway to the Konkan region. While the BJP has been victorious in the state, it has failed to make in-roads into the Konkan. With the next Assembly elections looming closer, the party leadership is working hard on this region and the victory will boost the morale of its cadre in Konkan. Similarly, winning Bhiwandi and Malegaon was an important for Congress’ ‘secular’ plank, as both cities have sizable number of Muslim voters.
After winning 12 out of 14 municipalities, the BJP did extremely well in Panvel. Earlier, the city was in the grip of the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) and Congress alliance. This time, the BJP — which was contesting the polls alone — was up against a formidable alliance of the PWP, Congress and NCP. The Shiv Sena too went it alone for the elections. However, the BJP ultimately stood head and shoulders above the rest, bagging 51 seats out of 78. The PWP won 23 seats whereas Congress and NCP managed with two seats each. Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), meanwhile, scored a duck