Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI triumphs in Mumbai, Thane civic polls; MNS gains

The Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party-Republican Party of India alliance came up trumps in Mumbai and Thane municipal corporations elections, while the Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) did better than expected, marking its presence at several places

Though the Shiv Sena-led alliance fell short of the magic figure in both the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), it is widely expected to retain power with the help of rebels and independents.

As per the latest figures, in Mumbai, the alliance bagged a total of 107 seats, followed by the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) coming a distant second with 64 seats, the MNS with 28, and independents and others bagging 28 seats of the total 227 seats in the house.

In Thane, it bagged 61 seats, followed by Congress-NCP with 52 seats, MNS 7 and independents and others secured 10 seats of the 130-strong house.

The need to ask for MNS support may not immediately arise, though Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray recently expressed willingness to ally with his estranged nephew if the situation so warranted.

In Solapur, while Congress-NCP led with 61, SS-BJP-RPI got 33, and the MNS failed to open its account. Independents and others bagged eight seats in the 102-member house.

In Ulhasnagar, the SS-BJP-RPI alliance got 30 seats, while Congress-NCP got 28. MNS got only one seat. Independent and others bagged 20 seats in a 78-strong house.

In Nagpur, SS-BJP-RPI got 68 seats, while Congress-NCP got 47. MNS got only two seats. Independent and others bagged 28 seats in a 145-member house.

In Akola, Congress-NCP got 23, SS-BJP-RPI got 26, MNS 1, independents and others got 23 in the 73-member house.

In Amravati, Congress-NCP got a relief with 43, way ahead of SS-BJP-RPI's 19, while independents and others secured 25 seats in the 87-strong house.

On the other hand, Pimpri-Chinchwad gave a reason to smile for the NCP which bagged 83 seats, while Congress got 14, SS-BJP-RPI getting just 18, MNS 4 with independents and others getting 9, in the 128-strong house.

The MNS performed better than expected, especially in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, living up to its image of being a potential "king-maker".

Given the low - 54 percent - average state turnout at the polls yesterday, a beaming Raj Thackeray, while demanding strict action against those who do not exercise their franchise, promised to revamp the party organisation in Thane where it fared below expectations.

Giving the full credit for the party's performance to Bal Thackeray, a relaxed Uddhav Thackeray said the mood was for celebrations in the party.

Admitting that he was "dissatisfied" with his party's performance, RPI chief Ramdas Athawale promised to conduct an introspection on why RPI candidates failed to perform as per expectations and rectify mistakes, besides reviewing the support extended by the SS-BJP to RPI candidates.

In contrast, Raj Thackeray expressed satisfaction over the six-year old MNS's performance in Mumbai, Pune and other cities, especially Nashik where it has bagged the civic body.

On his party's limited impact in certain pockets in the state, he said that everything cannot be done simultaneously.

Mumbai Congress president Kripa Shankar Singh, in a terse statement, accepted "the peoples' verdict" in the civic polls.

"The Congress-NCP was expected to score a victory, but people have thought otherwise," Singh said.

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