Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Elections 2017 results are out and there is no clear majority for either Shiv Sena or BJP. While Shiv Sena won 84 seats, BJP did not finish a distant second, with 81 seats to its name. Since none of the parties were able to clear the minimum number of seats to get a majority, that is 114, it remains to be seen which party will govern Asia’s richest municipal corporation, with a budget of over Rs 37,000 crores. Interestingly, BJP has declared party’s win on 81 seats while appealing to 4 other corporators to lend support to the party. However, we cannot rule out Shiv Sena-BJP alliance one again. Here is what we learn from the municipal elections in the state for the year 2017:
‘Saffronisation’ of Mumbai yet again: Both Shiv Sena and BJP are the flagbearers of the colour ‘saffron’. When Shiv Sena had announced a rift with BJP during the elections, there was a chance for Congress to make optimal use of that, yet the people of Maharashtra have completely ousted Congress. It was for the first time in a long time that both the parties departed from each other ahead of the BMC elections. While BJP posed questions on transparency in the civic body, Sena had dissed the demonetisation move by PM Narendra Modi-led government at the centre. But this move to part ways, only resulted in a big win for both the parties separately, because in 2012, Shiv Sena had won 75 seats while its ally BJP won 31 seats.
Big win for Uddhav Thackeray, still trouble looms large: There has not been much of a change in the number of seats for Shiv Sena. While in 2012 Sena had managed to win 75 seats, this time it is 9 more at 84. This is highly significant for Udhhav Thackeray, especially because in 2012, Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray was around. He also undermined his cousin Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) by a big margin. MNS managed to get only 7 seats, while in 2012 it has 28 seats in the BMC.
PM Modi passed the demonetisation test: The election results of civic bodies, not only in Mumbai but also in other big cities in Maharashtra showcase a big win for BJP. While the opposition kept criticising PM Modi’s demonetisation move, it is now clear where the people’s mandate lies. Clearly, the demonetisation did not have a negative effect on people of the state so much so that it could affect the election chances of BJP. Even Uddhav Thackeray’s desperate attempts to diss the note ban move, where he eventually decided to part ways with BJP in the run-up to the polls, did not have any effect on BJP’s chances. With the four independents deciding to join BJP after the results, BJP has emerged as the largest party in BMC, as of now. In 2012, BJP had won just 31 seats. This is almost a 3 fold jump in BJP tally.
Congress, NCP completely decimated: Congress, in 2012, had won 52 out of 227 seats in BMC polls. This time it managed only 31. It is yet another addition of humiliating defeats witnessed by the party. It was practically decimated in a fight between ‘brothers’ Shiv Sena and BJP. The trend is not only in Mumbai but also in other Maharashtrian cities like Pune, Nagpur and Nashik, thereby rendering Congress as irrelevant. Congress has suffered a decline in political presence since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, from the national level to even state level and the failure is no different in the civic polls as well. The civic polls are a big deal in a state like Maharashtra as it helps in survaival at the root, and this time Congress is wiped out.