oppn parties Maharashtra Civic Polls: Scales Tip in BJP's Favour

News Snippets

  • Citizenship Bill to be tabled in the Lok Sabha today. Heated debate likely
  • Domestic tourism in Kashmir slumps by 87% in August-November period
  • Prime Minister Modi says police must make women feel safe
  • West Indies beat India by 8 wickets in the second T20 at Thiruvananthpuram
  • Rahul Gandhi says the NDA government kept Chidambaram in jail for so many days in order to take revenge
  • Kohli reclaims the top spot in ICC rankings from Steve Smith
  • Cabinet clears the Citizenship Bill. It will be placed in the Lok Sabha in a day or two
  • Hindu Jagran Manch members clash with the police in Kolkata after being refused permission to take out a rally
  • West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar says important files were sent late to him and his delay in signing them draws criticism from the TMC. It also brings the state assembly to a halt
  • 92,000 BSNL & MTNL employees apply for early retirement taking advantage of the new government offer. It will result in an annual savings of Rs 8.700 cr for the merged entity
  • Dengue deaths multiply in Kolkata even as the CM, Mamata Banerjee, asks the opposition not to politicize the matter
  • Government orders inquiry into the breach of security at Priyanka Vadra's house
  • Chennai-based engineer Shanmuga Subramanian helps Nasa find the pieces of Vikram lander on the Moon's surface
  • New Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray says his administration will take back cases against Dalits and activists in the Bhima Koregaon case
  • Dhawan calls his dismissal "nonsense"
43 killed in a fire at units in illegal building in heart of Delhi
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Maharashtra Civic Polls: Scales Tip in BJP's Favour

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-02-23 13:58:26

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The early trends in counting of votes in BMC elections show a hung corporation with Shiv Sena being the clear leader. Going by the trends, Shiv Sena is poised to get between 90 to 100 seats, BJP 55 to 65, MNS 5 to 10, Congress 10 to 20 and the NCP between 5 to 10 seats (The final tally stands at Sena 84 and BJP 81). Since the halfway mark is 114, no party seems to be getting a majority. Under the circumstances, the richest corporation in India will, in all likelihood, be controlled once again by the Shiv Sena as the single largest party if they spurn the alliance with the BJP. That would make for an uneasy arrangement. The trends for other civic bodies in Maharashtra are showing clear winners. BJP is leading in Pune, Nashik and Nagpur.

The Shiv Sena and the BJP have been at loggerheads since Uddhav Thackeray has been making statements unfit of an alliance partner. Since the two are ruling Maharashtra in alliance, Uddhav’s remarks are very disturbing for the BJP. But maybe Uddhav is doing it on purpose as he wanted to gain an upper hand in the BMC elections.

The problems before the Shiv Sena are two-fold. It knows that if it remains in a condescending mode, the BJP as the larger national party will assert itself and reduce its importance. Hence, Uddhav thinks that he needs to remind the BJP who is the boss at the local level. Secondly, the Shiv Sena is strapped of resources. They have fought three elections since 2014 – Lok Sabha, state and now local. If there are to be mid-term state elections, the Sena will be hard pressed to make its presence felt.

Hence, Uddhav knows he cannot cross a line. He will continue to needle the BJP, including PM Modi, to show his local power. But he will take pains to insert the needle only till a point it doesn’t pierce the raw nerve and becomes unbearable. One can expect the alliance to traverse choppier seas in the days ahead, more so after the Sena’s relatively better performance in the BMC elections.

The BJP, on the other hand, has done well elsewhere in Maharashtra. It is poised to win big in Pune, Nagpur and Nashik. It will use this to counter the Sena’s claim of being the regional boss by saying that Mumbai does not make Maharashtra. This will also give the party the leverage to issue the threat of mid-term elections if push comes to shove. This will keep Shiv Sena in check to an extent. Overall, the results have balanced the scales and another round of tug-of-war will ensue, with the Sena thumping chest in Mumbai and the BJP counting on the rest of the state.

Latest Update: In a late burst, the BJP has moved neck to neck by winning 81 seats to Sena's 84 in its best ever performance in Mumbai. Whether Sena likes it or not, this BJP performance has reduced its importance in state politics and taken away a huge chunk of its bargaining power. Devender Fadnavis had a lot at stake in the BMC elections as he campaigned as if they were state elections. He stands vindicated as BJP has gained both seats and vote share. The Congress has been decimated, like elsewhere. These results are going to change the political scenario in Maharashtra, with BJP becoming the biggest player form now on.