The first phase of polls to 164 Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats in Maharashtra saw several leaders from different political parties tasting defeat in their own backyard. The results of the polls were declared yesterday.
The BJP had to face defeat in Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde’s Parli municipality where her estranged cousin Dhananjay Munde led the NCP to a clear victory.
State Water Supply Minister Babanrao Lonikar’s wife Manda was defeated in Partur municipal council president poll. Congress could retain only Shirdi municipality in Ahmednagar, the stronghold of Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.
In Rahata municipality, BJP won the president’s post while the Congress got majority. BJP won the Karad municipal council presidentship in the constituency of former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, while Congress won the Bhokardan municipal council presidentship in BJP state chief Raosaheb Danve’s constituency.
In Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar’s constituency Sawantwadi, Shiv Sena won the municipal president’s post but did not get majority, while in Vengurla, the council president’s post went to BJP.
In NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal’s constituency Yeola, BJP bagged the municipal council president’s post while in his son Pankaj’s constituency Nandgaon, the Sena won the Nandgaon and Manmad municipalities.
In Islampur, NCP leader Jayant Patil’s constituency, the BJP-led local outfit won the municipality president’s post. In Congress leader and Legislative Council deputy chairman Manikrao Thakre’s constituency Darwha in Yavatmal district, the Sena came to power and also won the council president’s post.
In Khed, the constituency of Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam of Sena, the MNS candidate won the municipal council president’s post. According to political observers, BJP’s success is a “personal victory” for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who “led the party from the front”.
They said the state government’s decision in October this year to extend fee waiver to all students whose family income limit is less than Rs 6 lakhs, for professional and higher education courses including medical, helped the BJP.
The ‘Rajrishi Shahu Maharaj Fee Pratipurti Yojana’ was earlier implemented for SC/ST and OBC students. But, with the Fadnavis government extending the scheme to students of all castes, the Maratha youths’ grievances regarding opportunities in education was addressed, the observers felt.
Similarly, after the November 8 demonetisation move, Fadnavis allowed citizens in urban local bodies to pay their dues like property tax, water bill and other arrears in the scrapped notes and the local bodies received dues worth over Rs 1,000 crore in 15 days.
“This move is also likely to have helped BJP in the semi-urban areas,” an observer said.