BMC Election 2017: 'Ringmaster' Fadnavis, Uddhav's gamble and how the media interpreted results

Results to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election were announced on Thursday, and while Shiv Sena emerged the single largest party with 84 seats, it was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that surprised everybody, winning 82 seats, a 164 percent increase from its tally of 31 in the 2012 BMC election. And unsurprisingly, newspapers on Friday chose to focus on BJP's resurgence, paying glowing tributes to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, crediting him with the fine showing.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis celebrates his party's performance in the BJP elections. PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis celebrates his party's performance in the BJP elections. PTI

The Indian Express, in a report titled, 'Behind BJP’s art of winning, there’s craft too', wrote: "This election offered a perfect timing for the BJP to test its mettle in the megalopolis. The gamble worked to an extent that BJP has shown a nearly 300 percent growth. It had three distinct advantages over the Sena. One, the people of Mumbai were tired of the Sena’s childish politics; two, the city has witnessed a huge influx of north Indians which are not sympathetic to Sena and the last is chief minister’s Devendra Fadnavis’s own image."

The Times of India also paid glowing tributes to Fadnavis, calling him the "ringmaster" who tamed the tiger, referring to the Shiv Sena, the self-proclaimed Tiger. "He plunged into the campaign, and pegged it to transparency. In rally after rally, he explained to the people of Mumbai the corruption in BMC in allotment of contracts for roads, garbage transport, and de-silting. Fadnavis seemed to have succeeded in convincing the people of Mumbai that there was a lack of transparency in policy decisions taken by Shiv Sena and all decisions were taken only for the benefit of a few chosen contractors," the report said.

The Hindustan Times looked at what the future holds in store for the two big parties of Mumbai politics. In a report titled 'Will the Fadnavis-Thackeray friendship see achche din again?', the publication's senior editor Shailesh Gaikwad wrote: "They need each other. The Sena emerged as largest party in the BMC but is 30 short of a majority. Thackeray will need the BJP to rule the BMC — unless he teams up with the Congress, which is unlikely. Fadnavis too will need the Sena in some local bodies where the BJP has not got a clear majority. The two sides could work out a power-sharing formula in the next few days. For Thackeray, the best bet would be to stick with the BJP at a time when people across the state have favoured that party."

However, the most intriguing sidelight in the entire political over Uddhav Thackeray's future. The Indian Express carried a report analysing the Shiv Sena executive president's future in light of the recent setback. "While Uddhav left no stone unturned in terms of effort — having addressed over 30 rallies in a fortnight — questions have been raised about his political acumen. There had been rumblings in the party over the decision to snap the alliance with the BJP, and many agree that Uddhav has a lot of work to do before he joins the ranks of satraps who dominate in their states," it said.

Mumbai Mirror also chose to focus its article on Uddhav Thackeray's political graph. A report titled 'Clinging on to past did Uddhav no good' says the Shiv Sena chief's gamble to go it alone in the civic polls may become one of his bigger mistakes. "Uddhav was betting big on the 13 Gujarati candidates the Sena had fielded in Mumbai. A few of them were poached from the BJP. Not one of them managed to win, which only goes to show that Gujaratis in Mumbai voted for the BJP. The party even managed to rope in Patel community leader Hardik Patel, a BJP baiter, to campaign for one of its Gujarati candidates, but it made no difference in Mumbai," it said.

The election were also the latest in a long list of successive failures the Congress party has had across the country. In the BMC, it went from 52 to 31 seats, a drop of 21 constituencies, making it even more evident that things will only worsen before they get better for a party that ruled the state until two years ago.

A report in DNA analysed the Congress' downward spiral. "Congress’ problems in Mumbai are a perfect microcosm of the issues hampering the grand old party across the country. The truth is that no one is willing to seat down the top leadership and tell them they’ve a problem, as they stumble from one loss to another. The ones that do, like Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, end up leaving and helping the enemy," it said, "It's sad when you consider the party's history but it seems till the time Congress is willing to do an honest introspection and re-haul, it is consigned to be a minor player in several upcoming elections."

Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to and hit the Subscribe button.

Updated Date: Feb 24, 2017 12:40:37 IST

Also See