Congress sweeps Nanded civic polls

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Nanded is Chavan's home turf.

Congress is in power in Nanded since its foundation.

Mumbai: After a year-long winning spree in local elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra on Thursday suffered a severe blow in the elections to the Nanded Municipal Corporation in Marathwada, with the Congress registering a landslide.

Meanwhile, the biggest loser was turning out to be the AIMIM, which had not yet managed to open its account in the 81-seat civic body. NCP is contesting on 57 seats, Shiv Sena is contesting on 76 seats (73+3), AIMIM and BSP are together contesting on 49 seats, Samajwadi Party is contesting on 24 seats.

Out of 81 seats, 41 seats are reserved for women candidates, 15 seats for SC candidates, 2 for ST and 22 seats for Backward Class communities. The numbers in bracket are of 2012 elections. He said MIM helped BJP win several elections by dividing the secular votes. He said the Congress tally could cross 70.

Attributing the outcome to the people of Nanded, Chavan said they had "reposed full faith" in the developmental agenda of the Congress and rejected the "divisive politics" plus "below-the-belt" campaigning indulged in by BJP leaders.

However, Minister for Labour Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar, who was in-charge of the BJP's poll machinery, claimed that the party's vote share rose from three percent in 2012 to 19 percent this time.

The Congress also built up strong leads in at least another 20 seats in the NWCMC, a stronghold of Maharashtra party chief Ashok Chavan and one of the last surviving bastions of the party in the state. The 11 October election in Nanded saw a 64.82% turnout. "The people have realised that only Congress is the option against BJP", said Mr. Chavan. Mopalwar has been divested from the post of Managing Director of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) after an audio clip in which he was purportedly heard fixing a deal of plot became viral on social media.

Asked whether the party will now unite under his leadership to take on the state government, he said, "It is important to work as a team".

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