BJP, which put up a spectacular show in the elections to municipal corporations, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads in Maharashtra, has left the Congress and NCP far behind in terms of number of seats won and vote share. The party has also made inroads into the vast rural stretches of the state, shaking the Congress and NCP citadels. As per State Election Commission data, in the all-important Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, BJP was a close second with 27.92 per cent votes against Shiv Sena’s 28.83 per cent votes.
While the Uddhav Thackeray-led party polled a total of 14,46,428 votes, BJP garnered 14,00,500 votes in the megapolis, where the saffron parties faced off, despite being partners in the state and central governments. Congress finished on the third spot with a 16.54-per cent vote share (8,29,894 votes). Raj Thackeray-led MNS secured 3,95,047 votes with a 7.88-per cent vote share and the NCP with 2,48,566 ballots and a 4.96-per cent vote share.
The figures show that the BJP’s vote share increased sharply from its 2012 account of a mere 8.64 per cent, when Shiv Sena was way ahead with 21.85 per cent, Congress 21.23 per cent and MNS 20.67 per cent votes. BJP, known to be an urban-centric party, has this time made deep inroads into the rural areas, seriously denting the Congress and NCP in their traditional strongholds. In 25 zilla parishads, BJP polled 63,76,054 votes with a 24.91-per cent vote share. NCP came second with 22.95 per cent (56,93,694) votes. Congress finished a distant third with 19.43 per cent (49,72,272) votes, followed by Shiv Sena with 18.52 per cent (47,39,976) votes. Of the 1,509 seats in the zilla parishads, BJP won 406, NCP 360, Congress 309, Shiv Sena 271 and MNS one.
In the 283 panchayat samitis, where 2,990 seats were up for grabs, BJP emerged as the winner with 831 seats, NCP 674, Congress 591 and Sena 581. In the case of the municipal corporations too, BJP topped with 35.36 per cent votes, leaving behind its rivals Sena at 18.13 per cent, NCP at 14.88 per cent, Congress at 13.14 per cent and MNS at 3.96 per cent. Of the 2,168 seats across 10 municipal corporations, BJP bagged 628, followed by the Sena with 268, NCP 131, Congress 121 and MNS 15 seats.