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Maharashtra local polls: Shiv Sena storms ahead of BJP in Mumbai, Thane

Maharashtra

Mumbai: Counting was underway today for polls to 10 civic bodies, including cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis across Maharashtra, the results of which are likely to have a bearing on relations between BJP and Shiv Sena.

The Congress and NCP are also in fray in the polls, dubbed as the ‘mini-general elections’.

The prime focus is on the cash-rich 227-member Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation with the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena at the forefront of this battle of might.

Shiv Sena took an early lead in the BMC polls, with its candidates ahead in 36 seats as against BJP’s 24, Congress’ 6, NCP 2 and MNS 4.

In Thane, Shiv Sena is leading in 10 wards, followed by NCP and MNS in 1 each.

The results after the counting, which began at 10 AM today, will determine the fate of 21,620 candidates for 5,777 seats up for grabs in the 10 municipal corporations, 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis for which the elections were held in two phases.

Nearly 56 per cent voters had exercised their right to franchise during the elections to the 10 municipal corporations held on Tuesday. The Mumbai civic body BMC recorded about 55 per cent turn-out.

Besides, 69 per cent of the electorate cast their votes in the zilla parishads and panchayat samitis.

The stakes are high for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who led their respective parties from the front and were involved in a high decibel and no-holds-barred campaign, relegating the opposition Congress, NCP and other players like the MNS and the AIMIM to the background.

Apart from Mumbai, the municipal corporations which went to the polls were Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.

In Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, there are 2,275 candidates.

The big poll focus is on the BMC, retaining control of which is vital for Shiv Sena as the city has remained its prime political space ever since the party’s formation in

1966. The Sena has been in power in BMC for over two decades. In municipal corporations excluding Mumbai, there are multi-member wards where the electorate cast their votes for each of the category in the panel. Each panel has more than two wards.

The districts where elections to 283 panchayat samitis were held are – Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Beed, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Hingoli, Jalgaon, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Wardha, Yavatmal, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Solapur, Nashik, Amravati and Gadchiroli.

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