10 takeaways from BMC elections

Seema Gupta
Seema GuptaFeb 23, 2017 | 22:36

10 takeaways from BMC elections

History has been written in Maharashtra by the BJP. This has never happened before. Although the Shiv Sena on Thursday emerged as the largest party in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections with 84 seats, it was the BJP that made massive gains, with 82 seats in hand.

The party dashed all of Sena's hopes of crossing the 100 mark in the Mumbai BMC poll. While initially the Sena made big gains, by 3 pm it was a different man who emerged as the big boss - Nagpur boy and CM Devendra Fadnavis. The BJP started celebrating. In other big cities such as RSS den Nagpur too, the BJP recorded a bumper profit with figures crossing over 70 of 145 - way more than the last election of 2012.


The BJP claims to have got a big chunk of zilla parishad votes, a bastion of Congress and NCP with farmer support, but this time the voters ditched the secular parties to make the right-wing party their big daddy. Some say better coordination between the state and Centre resulted in a better deal for people on the ground. 

The BJP also claims to have got the maximum corporators in 10 municipal corporations that had gone to the polls. If that is to be believed, the saffron party is standing at the number one position with 521 corporators of 666.

Here are the key takeaways from the results:

1) Devendra Fadnavis is the big boss of Mumbai

The number 40 was the maximum mark the BJP had achieved till now. But this time, it has had a bumper jump of 50 seats. A new Brahmin face as CM, Devendra Fadnavis, has been one big reason. The last Shiv Sena CM Manohar Joshi was popular with the people. Congress leaders remained busy fighting among themselves, while MNS's inefficient performance disappointed Mumbaites. North Indians got a bad deal when Sanjay Nirupam and Kripashankar couldn't come up as strong leaders, while Narayan Rane also could not lure Marathi voters. The BJP got both Congress and MNS votes. MNS has been limited to six seats from 21 in the last election. PM Narendra Modi did not hold a single rally or public meeting and Fadvanis remained the face of the BJP in the state. The BJP slogan goes "Narendra in country and Devendra in state".


2) Who will be the big brother of Mumbai? 

With none of the two parties getting a majority in the poll and the Shiv Sena ahead, the question is who would be the big brother? It is likely that BJP and Sena will go for a coalition and the next few days will see the parties trying to increase their numbers by claiming support from Independents. But the Sena this time may need to mend its ways as it's only Thane where it has majority while all other strongholds have been conquered by the BJP. Having good relations with BJP will only help them.

3) Nitin Gadkari passed the litmus test in Nagpur

BJP had a clean sweep in Nagpur, which was a litmus test for Gadkari since he and Fadvanis had made a deal to differentiate their work ground. Gadkari got a bumper win crossing 70 seats. Apart from local work, his big achievement remained getting all four seats in the Muslim-majority area of Mommin Pur. Earlier, Congress used to score heavily here. The announcement of the Mumbai-Nagpur special corridor by Gadkari also helped him to victory.

4) Big setback for Ajit Pawar, Raj Thackeray, Pankaja Munde, Sanjay Nirupam and Sushil Kumar Shinde


- Face of Maharashtra irrigation scam Ajit Pawar's big hold in Pimpri Chinchwad and Pune is over, with his loyalists joining Fadvanis.

- Raj Thackeray lost heavily and was left with double digits in Mumbai and Nasik.

- Pankaja Munde, daughter of BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who was embroiled in a controversy over taking selfies in drought-hit areas, lost her father's Parli on all six seats. All went to NCP.

- Sanjay Nirupam of Congress had to resign. The party suffered such a big loss in Mumbai that it can't even make second position.

- Former Maharashtra CM and home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde lost heavily in Solapur. Congress lost this to BJP. 

5) Future of big mouth Raj Thackeray is diminished

It's a big setback for Raj Thackeray who has lost his base in Mumbai and Nasik with less than 10 seats in number. His high hopes were deflated because of lack of groundwork and losing active workers. He promised big but couldn't achieve a little.

6) Asaduddin Owaisi's MIM opened its account in Mumbai with three seats in Muslim-majority areas

Who doesn't know Owaisi's speeches and his habit of polarising votes by attacking saffron and secular parties. The election has borne him fruit. A close watch has to be kept on Owaisi's party. 

7) No effect of demonetisation seen in Maharashtra

The winning strategy was more of individual and local than a big one. Getting winning candidates and Fadnavis's face helped. Political pundits may have to rethink BJP's prospects in state Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur. 

8) Right-wing vs right-wing in Maharashtra

For the first time in Maharashtra, it was a fight between the right-wing and right-wing. No secular party like the Congress or NCP could hold its ground. The future will show whether these dynamics will change politics in Maharashtra. Another party with extreme ideology, the MIM, is also making inroads for the first time. This may force other parties to change their game-plan.

9) BJP has recorded many firsts. Conquered west (Pune, Pimri, Solapur) and north Maharashtra (Nasik) 

- Nasik has been a big setback for the Thackeray brothers. While the Shiv Sena came to second position crossing 20 seats, Raj Thackeray's MNS was diminished to six seats while it had 40 last election. Analysts believe the mandate went to BJP when Fadnavis's speeches gave high hopes. He said: "I have adopted Nasik, you don't have any leader now. If I don't undertake development in five years, I will not show you my face next time." The people believed him and the rest is history. Nasik faces the problem of air connectivity despite having an airdrome. The city also lacked a leader and Fadnavis touched a nerve while the MNS did not fulfil any promise.

- Big setback to NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad corporations. Cracking this bastion was not easy. Fadnavis roped in all those who had been associated with NCP in Pimpri Chinchwad and Shiv Sena in Pune. Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar's nephew's associate Laxman Jagtap joined hands with the BJP and with one more MLA, led the campaign. Basically, the same names with different party symbols. After Congress lost the popular face of Suresh Kalmadi in Pune, it was Shiv Sena that took the baton but had to transfer it this time to the BJP. Plus, Pune's Brahmin majority voted for Fadnavis. Independent Rajya Sabha MP from Pune Sanjay Kakde led the campaign in the city. Earlier, he was associated with the Congress and NCP.

- BJP won Sindhi Belt Ulhasnagar near Mumbai by making Pappu Kalani's son Omi join the party. 

10) Next generation in Maharashtra politics 

This will include Kirit Soumya's son Neil (win), BJP's Raj Purohit's son Akash (win), BJP's Ashish Shelar's brother Vinod (lost), Mumbai don Arun Gawli's daughter Geeta (win) and Sharad Pawar's grandson Rohit Rajender Pawar (win).

Last updated: February 23, 2017 | 23:10
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