Panvel civic polls: Mumbai’s satellite town Panvel is voting in its first municipal elections after becoming a municipality in October. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in alliance with Union Minister Ramdas Athawle’s Republican Party of India (RPI) are hoping to win at least 60 of the 78 seats in the fray, according to the Indian Express. Voting began at a slow rate as Panvel residents cast only 34 percent of votes till 1:30 pm in the first Panvel municipal corporation polls. 418 candidates are contesting for 78 seats in the elections. The municipality contains areas such as Panvel Old City, areas under CIDCO such as Kharghar, Kamothe, Kalamboli, New Panvel, Taloja, and also 29 villages, according to an Indian Express report.
The BJP and RPI alliance will face the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) which has a strong backing in the area. PWP has formed an alliance with the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) while the Shiv Sena formed an alliance with MP Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, according to the Indian Express.
BJP leaders have told the Indian Express that the party has received a huge response from the people. BJP legislator Prashant Thakur said, ”We have faces such as PM Narendra Modi and CM Devendra Fadnavis, these leaders have delivered on development. Our poll plank is the development of the city. People will vote for us.” Thakur has led a panel which has controlled Panvel for the last 10 years.
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The PWP, on the other hand, has a strong base in the area and has run a campaign focused on opposing BJP and Thakur, highlighting his failure to carry out development in the last 10 years. PWP claims that their alliance will win over 50 seats in the local body polls. Shiv Sena which has a negligible presence on the ground says that it does not know how many seats they will win but expect their seat share to double in the polls, according to the Indian Express.
Bhiwandi and Malegaon are also casting their votes in municipal elections along with Panvel. 1,251 candidates are contesting the elections according to the state election commissioner. Nearly 13 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes in the civic body elections.
BJP has fielded 189 candidates, 90 NCP candidates are contesting the elections, Congress has fielded 152 candidates and Shiv Sena is contesting 144 seats. 355 candidates are also in the fray. Apart from the major parties, AIMIM has fielded 37 candidates in Malegaon and 9 candidates in Bhiwandi. MNS is contesting seven seats in Bhiwandi and 25 in Panvel, according to a PTI report.
Of the 18 municipal corporations in Maharashtra which have completed their term, polls were held in 10 civic bodies in February, while Latur, Parbhani and Chandrapur went to polls