The significant victory in Maharashtra civic polls shows that acche din for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are continuing. BJP won every civic body handsomely barring Thane where Shiv Sena got a clear mandate. In BMC, BJP has risen to 82 from 31 corporators from its 2012 election tally. Out of 1268 municipal seats, in all over the state, BJP own 628 — by tripling its 2012 performance. There could not have been a better affirmation of support from the citizens to Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in the state. Chief Minister Fadnavis staked his political reputation in the civic polls but in the end, he has the last laugh. The resounding victory in Nagpur, Pune, Nasik etc. is nothing but success for the Fadnavis government.
CM Fadnavis’ clean image gave a fillip to the party. His promise to usher in transparency in the civic body and change the way tenders, contracts were given out resonated with citizenry, fed up with the city’s abysmal state of civic amenities. The CM’s performance in the state in the last two years, where he had speeded up several infrastructure projects like Mumbai Metro, airport, sea bridges , worked in the party’s favour.
Shiv Sena never wanted to give more than 60 seats to BJP, therefore pre-election tie-up between BJP and Shiv Sena could not materialised. By winning more than 80 seats, BJP shows that Mumbai is no longer the bastion of Shiv Sena. In 2014, BJP, for first time in the history of Maharashtra politics, emerged as the biggest party of the state. Now, Shiv Sena is the younger brother of BJP in state’s politics. BJP’s tactics of not going with Shiv Sena in the polls turned out to be beneficial for the saffron party.
BJP’s presence in Mumbai was very limited until the 2014 Assembly polls, in which the party got its 15 legislators elected. To prepare itself to contest all 227 wards in the civic polls, it started building its base tasking all its legislators and three Mumbai Members of Parliament to strengthen locality level organization. The party also appointed an organizational secretary, from the RSS, only for Mumbai.
Oppositions’ crocodile tears on note-bandi seemingly did not work at all in their favour in the election. It is worth mentioning that BJP won every election held after November 08, 2016 — be it Chandigarh Municipal election, By-elections for Lok Sabha seats or Odisha Panchayat election. People recognized that PM Modi’s demonetization move was to curb black money menace and build a better corruption-free economy.
Most of the cities in Maharashtra lack good sanitation system, robust healthcare system, better infrastructure and education, so people posed their faith in BJP’s good governance, which is clearly visible at the Centre and State levels. The BJP government improved the poor shape of the cities in the state because of the poor governance in the past by various parties, which brought the party the common men. BJP fielded strong candidates, rose above the sectarian politics and made development the only mantra in the polls.
The Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) were decimated in the most of the cities and reduced as minor players in some of the corporations. In 2012 in BMC, Congress had 52 corporators in its tally, but this time it could not replicate its performance. After the disastrous performance in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress not only lost its strategy to fight elections but also people’s faith for the party was vanished. Mumbai unit Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam offered to resign from the party post. And it seems there is in-house fighting within the Congress party.
Congress leader and former union minister Milind Deora blamed Mumbaikars for the defeat in the polls. He tweeted that the conclusion one can draw from BMC election results is that Mumbaikars seem content living with potholes, flooding, malaria & water tankers (sic). If leaders will go near people with such mindset then the result is very much predictable. The Congress runs with some immature dynastic leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Tarun Gogoi, Milind Deora etc., therefore it is bound to be vanquished party.
BJP is now one step closer to ‘Congress-mukt Bharat.’ Rahul Gandhi’s zombie, rambling and lacking will power is one of the assets of BJP. Amit Shah successfully makes BJP the central pole of the politics, a position Congress held for decades. This is not only because of Narendra Modi’s and other central leaders’ charismatic leadership but also because of regional satraps like Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh, Vasundhara Raje, Devendra Fadnavis etc. who compete effectively at the regional levels. On the other hand, Congress’ decade-long mis-governance is still hurting it the worst. It has completely lost to regain the national relevance. However, BJP is reviving its lost glory gradually in Odisha, Assam, etc.
by Sanjay K Bissoyi