After an impressive show in the first phase of council elections, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday registered victory in Pune and Latur districts, which were considered to be strongholds of the opposition, the NCP and the Congress.
In the second phase of polls for 14 civic bodies in Pune and Latur districts, BJP won the president’s post in five and bagged 81 seats. Although it lost some ground, the NCP, too, performed well by winning the president’s post in three civic bodies (one of the presidents came from a local front floated by the NCP) and bagged 93 seats. The Congress was pushed to third position, while Shiv Sena came in fourth.
Thursday’s victory was unexpected for the BJP and comes as a boost for chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who has already earned praise from the party leadership for winning the first phase of polls, which took place within days of the Centre’s demonetisation decision. In the first phase, the BJP won 51 out of 147 municipal councils.
According to party sources, Fadnavis personally paid attention to the election management in the second phase, too, and deputed his ministers to handle the elections where the party had chances to win. The outcome was there to see: The BJP nominees were elected as council presidents in three cities in Pune (Lonavala, Talegaon and Alandi) and two in Latur (Nilanga and Udgir).
In terms of seats, the BJP’s tally went up to 81 from the 17 it had in the 14 councils.