In a major setback to the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance, the Shiv Sena-led combine on Friday retained control — against expectations — of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for the fourth time in succession.
While Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had predicted that the Sena would become irrelevant after the elections, the party won 75 seats, nine less than it had in 2007, and its alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), won 32 seats, four more than last time, and its new-found ally Ramdas Athavale's Republican Party of India (RPI) picked up one seat.
The winning combine has 108 seats, and in a house of 227, it needs 114 for a simple majority which it can cobble together with the help of independents who have already offered support, the BJP sources said.
Of the 75 winners from the Sena, 44 are women and one is a 21- year-old student from Dharavi. Both Mayor Shraddha Jadhav and the former mayor, Shubha Raul, were re-elected.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) won 28 seats, 21 more than last time, in a major show of strength. Embattled with internal divisions and rebels, the Congress managed 50 seats against 71 in 2007 and the NCP did not gain or lose over last time, winning 14 seats.
The Sena-BJP-RPI alliance has also retained Thane, Nagpur and Ulhasnagar corporations. The NCP won Pimpri Chinchwad and was the largest party in Pune, while the Congress did well in Solapur and Amravati and could share power in Akola, according to State Congress president Manikrao Thakre.
Mr. Chavan told the media after the defeat that the result was unexpected. With a secular alliance in place, he believed that it would do well in Mumbai and Thane, which didn't happen. While the Sena has lesser seats, the Congress too lost out, he said.
“We thought an alliance to unite the secular vote would benefit us. Now we will have to introspect. The number of independents has increased and the Samajwadi Party has got more seats and this has divided the secular vote,” he said. The SP won nine seats this time, one more than in 2007.