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In a setback to the ruling BJP, the Congress on Thursday recaptured power in the Nanded-Waghala City Municipal Corporation (NWCMC) by a thumping majority in the high-stake election held on Wednesday.
In what came as a vindication of sorts for Maharashtra’s former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on home turf of Nanded, the Congress had walked away with 69 of the 77 seats in the 81-member NWCMC — for which the results had been declared till 9.30 pm. The results of the remaining four seats were expected later in the night.
The Congress’ victory in the NWCMC poll should be seen in the light of the fact that the ruling BJP had deployed Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and nine of its State Ministers in the extensive campaign it carried out in the run-up to Wednesday’s polls.
The Congress improved its 2012 poll tally of 41 seats in the NWCMC, by bagging 69 out of the 77 result-declared seats, while the ruling BJP in the State won merely six seats as against two seats it had won while it was in the Opposition five years ago. The Shiv Sena, which had won 14 seats in the 2012 NWCMC poll, managed to win only one seat in the latest polls. The NCP, which had put up a respectable performance in 2012 polls by bagging 10 seats, drew a blank in the 2017 poll. The Owaisi brothers-led All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (better known as MIM), which had made a fantastic political debut in Maharashtra by winning as 11 out of 23 seats it had contested in the 2012 NWCMC polls, suffered a major jolt as failed to win even one seat this time around. The MIM, which had for the first time teamed up with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the polls, had contested 32 seats, while the BSP fielded candidates in 22 civic wards.
Describing the NWCMC poll outcome as the “beginning of the ruling BJP’s downfall in Maharashtra”, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan said, “The BJP’s all-out effort to snatch power from the Congress in the NWCMC has miserably failed. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself led the BJP’s campaign in the polls. The BJP had imported candidates from political parties to win the polls. But, the people from Nanded did not fall prey to the blitzkrieg unleashed by the ruling BJP in its campaign”.
It may be recalled that Fadnavis had at his last campaign meeting held on Monday expressed confidence over the BJP’s victory in the polls and said, “Entire Maharashtra is with the BJP today. In the recent elections to 16 municipal corporations across the State, the BJP captured power in 13. The congress is as good as finished”.
The BJP’s debacle in the NWCMC polls is being seen as a personal setback to the Maharashtra Chief Minister.
“The success in the NWCMC polls is a big victory for the Congress. The Congress’ superlative performance in the poll heralds the beginning of the end of the BJP’s rule across the country,” Chavan said.
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