BJP won 51 of the 78 seats. Pic/PTI
After securing the Mayor's chair in the Mumbai municipal polls, the Shiv Sena was not able to bag even one seat in the Panvel civic elections. The party's former ally, the BJP, dominated the polls, results for which were announced yesterday, winning 51 seats out of 78. But top Sena leaders see this loss as a silver lining - for the Assembly elections in 2019.
The leaders stated that the party has managed to increase its voter base in Panvel. Aadesh Bandekar, Sena spokesperson, who was also in charge of campaigning for the Panvel polls, said, "We did not have an existence in Panvel earlier, and now we have received about 48,000 votes, which is only a positive thing for us, from 17,000 votes that we earned in the 2014 Assembly polls."
"We had 65 candidates [in Panvel] who will now be working work to develop a good ground for us for the upcoming assembly elections. Yes, we agree that we should have won, but this is a good start and the voter base will only grow in the future."
Sena had gone solo for the first Panvel Municipal Corporation election and contested on 65 seats of the total 78, but did win even one seat, despite rallies by party chief Uddhav Thackeray. The Bhartiya Shetkari Kamgar Paksh also known as the Peasants and Workers Party of India, which earlier dominated the area, managed to win only 23 seats, after shifting its loyalties towards BJP in the 2014 assembly polls.
Sena workers are still upset by the loss. A Sena worker said, "There was no coordination and we also had no strong candidates could have helped us win. The party is currently not doing anything to revive and gain its vote bank, which is slowly turning towards BJP. The top leaders didn't even have a number in mind that they wanted to achieve."
This is not the first major defeat for the party, and is now in need of restructuring the party with eight losses in its kitty to its former ally BJP. The BJP, meanwhile, has come out as a major game-changer in rural Maharashtra after winning municipal council polls while Sena has only been successful in retaining its title solely in Thane.
65 Seats Sena contested
78 Total seats in the corporation
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