Maharashtra civic polls: BJP shrugs off demonetisation hurt, wins five out of 14 seats in Phase II

The central government's decision to demonetise high-value Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes hasn't affected the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra, with the party recording significant successes in the second phase of municipal council elections. Out of 14 seats which went to polls in the second phase, BJP emerged successful in five. The party had also emerged victorious in 52 council posts in the first phase.

The 14 councils and a total of 324 seats located in Pune and Latur districts declared results on Thursday. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) emerged the big winner on the day, winning 93 seats out of 324, while BJP came second with 81. Over 893 corporation seats in 165 municipal councils declared results in the first phase, where BJP was successful in 52. The results seem to indicate that the demonetisation, followed by widespread public anguish, hasn't affected the BJP's poll prospects.

 Maharashtra civic polls: BJP shrugs off demonetisation hurt, wins five out of 14 seats in Phase II

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis campaigned personally in Latur. PTI file image

But in both phases, while the BJP won maximum number of council president posts, the number of corporators elected from the party has dropped. In Pune, NCP won the high-profile Baramati Municipal Council election by a thumping majority, both in terms of corporators elected and naming its president.

Baramati has been a stronghold of NCP founder Sharad Pawar, and his nephew and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. It was expected to be a tighter contest this time, especially since chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had personally campaigned in the constituency. It had become a prestige battle, with Fadnavis and Pawar both eyeing a win here. But it wasn't to be, as voters stood firmly with the Pawar clan. Of the 39 seats, BJP won just four, while NCP won the remaining 35. NCP leader Poornima Tawre will be council president.

Meanwhile, it has been all gloom for the Congress. The party lost all four council president posts. Defeat in Latur will be especially tough to digest, as it's the stronghold of late Congress leader and former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. His son Amit couldn't manage to retain the civic body with the Congress, as BJP won two president posts in Latur — at Nilanga and Udgir. NCP won at the Ausa municipal council.

While the Congress claimed 45 seats, the Shiv Sena fared even worse, winning only 23. Local leaders, independent candidates and others combined to win 82. Of the 14 president posts, BJP claimed five, Congress three, NCP two and Shiv Sena one.

The 14 councils went to polls on Wednesday. There was a good voter turnout of 72.18 percent. Polling was conducted to elect 324 corporators and 14 presidents. In all, there were 1,326 candidates trying their luck. Similarly, 106 candidates were in the race for the the posts of municipal council presidents in the two districts of 14 municipal bodies in Pune and Latur districts.

Talking to Firstpost, BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhey said the results once again shows that Modi's demonetisation decision is good for the country. Moreover, he credited proper planning by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and state president Raosaheb Danve that took the party to top place in the state.

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Updated Date: Dec 16, 2016 13:41:49 IST