Local Congress leaders' fears proved true with the Adarsh scam affecting the party's performance in the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) polls. It won only 15 seats in the 107-member Corporation.
The elections to the KDMC and the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation were held on Sunday.
Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) put in an impressive performance, winning 27 seats in Kalyan — the highest tally it has managed so far in an election — and it could become a decisive factor in the formation of the Corporation.
In the KDMC, the MNS defeated the sitting Mayor, and there are talks that, after a bitter countdown to the polls, this party and its parent organisation, the Shiv Sena, may come together to rule the Corporation.
The ruling Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party managed to get 31 and nine seats. The Congress won 15 and its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), badly bruised by the MNS, got 14 seats.
Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe said the Mayor would be elected from the Sena itself as it was the single largest party; however, a decision would be taken by the party leader. The Congress and the NCP announced that the alliance would not stake claim, she said.
If the Sena and the MNS support each other, it will not be a first-time happening. For, they had an understanding during the civic polls in Ambernath in May and the possibility cannot be ruled out in the KDMC.
The Congress is content to take a back seat and will watch what happens, say party sources. “The Congress is in no hurry, we could even sit in the Opposition.”
One of the NCP-supported independent MLAs, Ganpat Gaikwad, had put up 12 rebel candidates as part of the Vikas Aghadi. This dented the Congress chances further, resulting in its defeat in most of those 12 wards.
While the fight in the 77-member Kolhapur Municipal Corporation was between the Congress and the NCP, which did not have a pre-poll alliance — the Congress won 31 seats, the NCP which allied with the Jansurajya Party, 29; the Shiv Sena four and the BJP three. The Congress performance, better than the NCP's, is a solace to the beleaguered party.
In Kalyan, the Congress, which tied up with the NCP, had a reasonable chance of denting the Sena in its bastion till a few days ago, party sources said. But the Adarsh Housing Society scam cast its shadow on the elections and the Congress lost 8-10 seats narrowly. It could not triumph in the close contests, as the indecisive voter did not vote for the Congress.
The MNS' gains have affected both the Congress and the NCP, and damaged the BJP the most. The verdict against the Congress is also a result of neglect of the area. The KDMC, in Thane district with four Lok Sabha and 24 Assembly constituencies, has very little representation in the government.