Despite coming to power for the third time in Maharashtra, the Congress was routed in the elections to two prestigious corporations and two municipal councils.
In a major upset for the Congress, the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party combine retained the Aurangabad corporation in Sunday's elections. Minor clashes marked the stiffly contested polls in Aurangabad and Navi Mumbai.
It was widely expected that the election to the 99-member corporation, held by the saffron combine for the past 20 years, would go in favour the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, which jointly contested along with Shiv Sainik rebel Pradeep Jaiswal's party, the Shahar Pragati Aghadi. Mr. Jaiswal's party won three seats. The Sena and the BJP won 30 and 15 respectively, the Congress got 19, the NCP 11 and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena its maiden seat. Of the 20 Independents who won, at least four or five are with the BJP, party sources said and the saffron combine would have the majority in the corporation.
The election was a prestige issue for Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who hails from Nanded in the Marathwada region, and other big guns of the Congress who hoped to trounce the Sena, which fared miserably in the last Assembly elections, thanks to Mr. Jaiswal who rebelled and won the Aurangabad central seat as independent.
For the Sena-BJP, which did badly in the Marathwada region as a whole in the Assembly polls, this win in the corporation will prop up its sagging image.
Before the election, Minister Abdus Sattar (Congress) got into a scuffle with irate party workers who demanded ticket.
In the Navi Mumbai corporation, Minister for Excise Ganesh Naik managed to get the NCP back in power for the third time — every time without the Congress as its ally. The Congress won 13 seats, and the NCP, which contested on its own, won 55 of the 89 seats, according to State Election Commission figures. The Sena won 16, while the BJP got one. Of the four independents who won, two are supporting the NCP.
Supremacy in Ambarnath, Badlapur
In the elections to the municipal councils of Ambarnath and Badlapur in Thane district, the Sena-BJP combine retained its supremacy. The MNS has won three seats in Badlapur and six in Ambarnath.
In Badlapur, of the 34 seats, the Congress won one, the NCP 10, the BJP 7, the Sena 12, the MNS 3 and Independents one. In Ambarnath, of the 50 seats, the Congress won 3, the NCP 9, the BJP 1, the Sena 16, the MNS 6, Independents 7 and others eight.