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BJP wins big in Maha municipal councils

Demonetisation seems to have held no demons for the BJP, at least in Maharashtra. In what was touted as a mini-referendum on the Modi government’s move towards a `less-cash’ society, BJP came out on top in key elections to municipal councils and nagar panchayats in the state on Monday, notching up the highest number of seats (851 as against 396 in the previous polls in 2011) and getting the maximum number of council presidents (47) against its name.
In doing so, it continued the series of successes it has had in Maharashtra ever since its victory in the 2014 assembly elections.
Shiv Sena, BJP’s alliance partner, emerged as the clear number two, and Congress and NCP , which have traditionally dominated local body polls, continued their bad run despite their hope that the effects of demonetisation in India’s smaller towns would usher in a bad spell for BJP .
Of the 147 municipal councils that went to polls, BJP was able to bag 47, followed by Shiv Sena (27), Congress (23), NCP (21) and various local fronts (28). In terms of seats too, the saffron surge was clear, with BJP increasing its tally substantially . Though Congress came in second in terms of seats won at 643, it marked a sharp drop from the 1,111it held previously .
BJP’s performance was also seen as a victory for CM De vendra Fadnavis who chalked out and led the party’s poll campaign. After 2001, this was the first time direct elections were held for the posts of chairpersons. In 2001, then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh had introduced the system of direct election, but it was later withdrawn. After Fadnavis took over the state’s reins, he amended the law to provide for direct election. The strategy, said observers, paid off.
However, the polls came as a setback for controversial state minister and still-CMaspirant Pankaja Munde. In her hometown Parli-Vaijnath, BJP was defeated roundly .
Modi hails win, Shah targets oppn
PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah celebrated BJP’s im pressive show in the Maharashtra civic polls. “I thank the people of Maharashtra for placing their faith in BJP in local body polls. This is a win for pro-poor and development politics of BJP,“ the PM tweeted.The party’s performance belies the opposition’s claim that demonetisation has not gone down well with the masses. Modi added, “I laud BJP karyakartas, Devendra Fadnavis and Rao Saheb Danve. Their grassroots level work ensured people place their valued trust in BJP.“
Shah called the outcome a rebuff to the opposition’s anti-demonetisation stand. “Maharashtra result should be a wake-up call for the opposition attempting to mislead people,“ Shah tweeted.

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