Despite Congress making a clean sweep in the Nanded-Waghala Municipal Corporation election, the Shiv Sena remained unfazed by its own failure and took potshots at the BJP on Friday, saying the results sent a message that the saffron party can be defeated.
The Congress won 73 of the 81 seats in the Nanded-Waghala Municipal Corporation polls in Nanded, the home turf of state party chief Ashok Chavan, denting the BJP's bid to wrest power and limiting its tally to six.
As per the final results declared by the State Election Commission on Friday morning, the Sena managed to get one seat and an independent also won a seat in the civic body.
"The Shiv Sena had to fight on dual fronts. On one hand was Chavan's Congress and on other the BJP, which uses all possible means to win an election," an editorial in the party's mouthpiece, Saamana, said.
The Sena does not believe in playing casteist politics, it said.
The BJP had made the election a prestige issue, with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and his Cabinet colleagues taking part in campaigning, but they were decimated, just like in Delhi by the AAP, the Sena said.
"The results must have been a shocker for our friend, which saw the dream of a Congress-free India. The message for India through this election is clear – the BJP can be defeated," the NDA's ally at the Centre said.
The biggest lesson to be learnt from this election is that politics of money, power and poaching does not always work, and that Chavan, whose home turf is Nanded, has managed to cease the winning spree of the BJP, it said. The NCP and the AIMIM, which had 10 and 11 corporators, respectively, in the outgoing civic body, failed to open their accounts this time.
Chavan on Thursday attributed the party's win to non-tampering of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and claimed that the BJP's "return journey" has started.
"The results have proven that the return journey of the BJP has started from Maharashtra. Our ground work in Nanded ensured that there was no tampering of EVMs, which led to our victory," Chavan told reporters after taking part in the victory celebrations outside the Mumbai Congress office.
"There is severe discontent among the people due to high fuel prices, farmers' suicides and troubles caused to cultivators due to faulty loan waiver system. People have understood the hollow claims made by the chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis)," he said.
Maharashtra's labour minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar, who was in-charge of the BJP's poll mach0inery in Nanded, on Thursday claimed that the party's vote share rose from 3 percent in 2012 to 19 per cent this time.
However, BJP's new ally and Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha (MSP) leader Narayan Rane advised the BJP leadership to do an introspection on why it fared so bad despite the chief minister holding many election rallies in the run-up to the Nanded civic polls.
He, however, dismissed the argument that the Nanded civic poll results would have an impact on the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
The Nanded civic body has been ruled by the Congress, since it came into existence two decades ago.
Prior to this election, Congress had 41 seats in the NWMC, while Shiv Sena had 14, and AIMIM had 11. The NCP had 10 seats, while three seats were occupied by independents and two by BJP.
Notably, the BJP had won 12 of the 16 civic bodies in Maharashtra, for which polls were held in 2017, expanding its footprint in the state's urban pockets. It had made inroads into the traditional Congress strongholds and also those of partner Shiv Sena.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Oct 13, 2017 13:10 PM