Mumbai Police's Special Branch predicts that Shiv Sena might not find it easy to claim majority at the civic body, while BJP is expected to close in on its former ally - all thanks to an increase in the number of voters getting inked
None of the parties can take their position for granted. If the intensive analysis by Mumbai Police's Special Branch (SB) is to be believed, no single party will get a clear mandate in the civic elections — not even Shiv Sena, which was earlier tipped to reach the magical figure of 112 seats.
The credit for this upset goes to an increase in footfall at polling booths, as the voting percentage jumped from last year's figure of 44.75% to 55.28%. With the number of voters increasing, the result also becomes more unpredictable. SB officials anticipate that Sena might no longer be able to cross 100 seats.
The department had stated, in its earlier report to the home department, that the Sena wave was undeniable, and it would leave BJP behind by winning 95-110 seats (close to the majority figure of 112 seats). But considering the change in overall voting percentage and the mood outside the polling booths, the department indicated there may be a decrease in Sena's and increase in BJP's figures.
Their latest prediction shows an impressive increase for BJP, likely to grab 65-80 seats against the 31 seats they scored in 2012. This means BJP could emerge as the second largest party (last time it came third) after Sena, resulting in nail-biting competition between the former allies.
"We tapped the response of people to every big statement made by top leaders of the political parties, and tried to understand the hold of the political parties in particular areas. Past performance and controversies were also looked into deeply. The impact of demonetisation was also looked into," said an IPS officer.
As per SB's calculated predictions, most of the political parties are likely to lose seats. The biggest loser will likely be Congress, expected to drop down from number two to number three this time, with just 30-35 seats (it had won 52 seats in 2012). The department cited internal fights of leaders in the congress major reason for its downfall.
Apart from BJP and Sena, only the NCP is anticipated to gain a few seats — likely to win 12-15 seats, as compared to last years seven seats. As per SB's predictions MNS could get 8-12 seats, and MIM and SP will be restricted to five and four seats respectively.