BMC Elections 2012: The saga of Retaining, Rising and Losing Power

Posted on February 23, 2012 in Politics at Play

By Prerna Tyagi:

Since its inception in 1882, India’s first municipal corporation BMC, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is not only India’s richest municipal organization but is also one of the largest local governments in the Asian continent. Its annual budget of approximately Rs. 21000 crores is even more than that of some of the small states of India.

The recent wide scale and massive coverage of the BMC 2012 Elections by the media did justice to the much popular and the country’s richest civic body.

The BMC Elections, taking place after a five year term, had 2,232 candidates contesting for 227 electoral wards in Mumbai this year. The elections saw the participation of about of many political parties and other individual candidates.

Together with both Indian National Congress (INC), the party forming the government at the center, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the opposition party at the centre, the elections had heavyweights like Shiv Sena led by veteran Bal Thackeray, National Congress Party (NCP) led by Union Minister Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) led by Raj Thackeray, Republic Party of India (RIP), Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and other parties fighting for power in the commercial capital of India.

Mumbai marked a turnout of only 45 percent in the municipal elections despite a huge population comprising of youth in the city; however, a top civic officer said that the voter percentage rose by 3 percent as compared to 2007.

In power since 1996, Shiv Sena and BJP alliance once again emerged victorious, claiming power to 107 seats where as the state’s ruling government, the INC and NCP alliance had to face defeat as it pocketed just 74 seats.

The surprising element was the remarkable show put up by Raj Thackeray, the estranged nephew of the Shiv Sena head. It finished with 28 seats, up 21 seats it got in 2007.

The efforts by Chief Minister Prithvi Raj Chavan, who had pursued an alliance with his party’s fractious ally NCP, could not yield the expected result as the incumbency of Shiv Sena and BJP alliance in the BMC had much frustrated the Congress Party. The Chief Minister called the results as surprising and conceded defeat.

The victorious Shiv Sena heir Udhav Thackeray dedicated the win to his father Bal Thackeray and his cousin Raj Thackeray seemed to be quite satisfied with his own party’s performance.

Billed as a mini-assembly elections, the polls were not just a test for Shiv Sena Patriarch Bal Thackeray and his son but was also a pointer of Chief Minister Prithivi Raj Chavan’s strength in the state politics.

With the result not going in their favor, the congress leaders might be spending sleepless nights as the 2014 Lok Sabha elections are not much far away.

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Yeshu Aggarwal

UPA would have lost the previous general election if the people had a better alternative. BJP, as the largest opposition, did not fight the elections strategically well enough to win.

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