The Congress came out on top in the Nanded Municipal Corporation elections, bagging 41 of the 81 seats.
In contrast, the Nationalist Congress Party failed to make much headway, bagging a mere 10 seats despite the campaigning by top leaders including the former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister R.R. Patil.
The elections, in which the Congress decided to fight alone, have assumed significance in view of the scam-battered former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s stamp in the party’s victory. Nanded is Mr. Chavan’s hometown and he did some hectic campaigning. The victory has sparked off rumours of his coming back into mainstream politics.
“The win is in large part Mr. Chavan’s victory,” said Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre.
The victory has also increased the chasm between the coalition allies, with the NCP accusing the Congress of winning the elections on money power.
Mr. Chavan rubbished this allegation, saying it was people’s faith in him and teamwork that resulted in the Congress victory. “We do not want to comment on the NCP’s remarks… But the party has been working at cross –purposes with us even at the State level.”
The Opposition came a cropper with the Shiv Sena bagging 14 seats and its ally the Bharatiya Janata Party securing just two. The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which contested 42 seats, drew a blank. But Mr. Thackeray did not campaign before the polls.
In a surprise upset, the Hyderabad-based Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen snared 10 seats and succeeded in denting the Congress’ Muslim vote-bank in South Nanded.
Three seats were bagged by independents.