A large number of people had gathered outside Krishi Bazaar Centre to know the fate of their favourite candidates. This year both Bihar and KDMC elections were crucial for the BJP. The declining popularity of Modi and BJP has begun to show its consequences. The Shiv-Sena, which ruled the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) with the support from BJP for the last five years, but this year the rift between two parties is clearly visible. Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray was constantly in attacking mode whereas BJP was very arrogant in its approach.
Shiv Sena has performed impressively in the KDMC polls. Surprisingly even three of the total seven candidates of the Asaduddin Owaisi led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) fielded in the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) 2015 elections have been declared winners. MIM candidates Tanzila Ayaz Maulvi and Seema Khan have been declared winners. While Tanzila Maulvi contested the polls from Gowind Wadi Ward no 34, Seema Khan won from the Kachore. Ward no 45. Kalyan-Dombivli is a traditional Hindu belt but winning of MIM shows the blunder which Congress has done with minorities. This is perhaps a reply to that.
The Shiv Sena delivered an impressive performance with a clear lead in as many as 38 wards. Pramila Patil, Devanand Gaikwad of Shiv Sena have already been declared winners. Likewise, Santosh Tare has also won the KDMC 2015 polls on the NCP ticket. Santosh Tare was the first corporator declared elected, somewhere NCP managed to open its account. However, in a major setback for the Shiv Sena its candidate and ex-Mayor of KDMC, Kalyani Patil lost civic polls by 50 votes against BJP candidate.
Finally, the Shiv Sena emerged as the single-largest party in the high-voltage civil polls after the Uddhav Thackeray-led party and the BJP decided to contest separately and the campaign was marked by bitterness between the ruling allies. The outcome of the civic polls may change the power dynamics in the coalition Maharashtra government.
Trends available for 118 of the 122 seats showed the Sena leading in more than 50 seats, the BJP ahead in over 40 wards, and a rout for other parties such as the Congress and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, all likely to be reduced to single-digit tallies. The Sena has fallen short of the majority mark of 62 by 10 seats but may seek the support of smaller parties such as the MNS instead of joining hands with the BJP.
In western Maharashtra’s Kolhapur, Congress turned out to be the single largest party with 27 seats and is likely to run the municipality with the help of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) which won 15 seats. The civic polls for the Mumbai suburb of Kalyan-Dombivli hit headlines after a bitter verbal war between the Sena and the BJP with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray threatening to walk out of the state government after party workers complained the BJP was using police machinery to harass Sena workers.
The Sena-BJP combine has controlled the civic body for the past two decades but the final phases of campaigning saw an acrimonious public spat between Thackeray and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, underscoring souring ties between the allies.
The polls are billed as a semi-final for the prestigious Mumbai civic elections in 2017 and is said to be an important indicator of public perception in urban areas. The results are also a litmus test for Fadnavis’ popularity as it is the first big election since he assumed power last year.
The coalition has been rocked by controversies, most recently over Sena workers hurling ink at Observer Research Foundation chief Sudheendra Kulkarni for organizing the book launch function for a former Pakistani minister. Fadnavis spoke out against the incident and said he couldn’t let the state turn to a “banana democracy”, a comment that triggered angry reactions from the Sena.
Anyways, slowly Sena’s staunch Hindu approach continues to support them in firming their roots in Marathi soil, whereas BJP is losing its sheen with time. Let us wait for Bihar results to draw clear conclusion.