NAGPUR: The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine handed a humiliating defeat to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the elections to the prestigious Nagpur Zilla Parishad — the home turf of Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — officials said here on Wednesday.
Besides Nagpur, the BJP was vanquished in Palghar, Nandurbar and Washim, was neck-to-neck with Congress in Dhule, while the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) bagged surprise control of Akola Zilla Parishad (ZP).
Of the total 332 seats for which voting was held in six ZPs, the BJP bagged 103, Congress 73, NCP 46, Shiv Sena 49, VBA 42, while Independents and others secured 14 seats.
In the 58-seat Nagpur ZP for which polls were held, the Congress bagged 30, the NCP 10, while the BJP managed only 15 seats.
The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) ally Shiv Sena chose to contest alone in Nagpur ZP and had to be content with just one seat, while two seats were won by Independents and others in this prestigious local body.
In Palghar ZP of 57 seats, the Sena got 18, NCP 14 and BJP 12, while five seats went to CPI(M), three to Independents. The Congress bagged only one seat.
However, the BJP had reason to smile in Dhule where out of the 56 seats, it secured 39, followed by Congress at seven, Sena four and NCP three, besides three Independents.
In Nandurbar, there was a neck-to-neck fight for the 56 seats in which BJP and Congress got 23 apiece, Sena seven and the NCP three.
The BJP suffered a jolt in Washim ZP where of the total 52 seats, the party got only seven, NCP bagged 12, Congress nine, Sena six, VBA 15 while Independents bagged three seats.
The VBA — which had failed to open its account in the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections — has bagged the 53-seat Akola ZP with 22 seats, followed by Sena at 13 seats, NCP four, Congress three and Independents four.
The elections for the 58 Zilla Parishad seats and 116 Panchayat Samitis were held on January 7 and the results were declared on Wednesday.
Even in the six Panchayat Samiti (PS) polls, there was a shock in store for the BJP which bagged only 194 out of the total 664 seats for which elections were held.
The Congress bagged a handsome 145 seats, Shiv Sena 117, NCP 80, VBA 78, Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena 02, CPI(M) 12, CPI 01, Independents and others 34.
Among the highlights was Congress’ Mahendra Dongre winning the seat in Dhapewada — the native village of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Congress’ Nana Kambale dealt another blow by bagging the Koradi seat — the hometown of former BJP minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule.
Salil A. Deshmukh, the son of NCP’s state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, won from Metpanjara while another senior NCP ex-minister Ramesh Bang’s son Dinesh R. Bang bagged the Hingna seat.
The Nagpur ZP and several other local bodies were under the control of the BJP-Sena when they were allies, till the Sena joined the MVA with Congress-NCP in November 2019.
The BJP’s defeats came despite a high-profile campaign launched by a battery of top-notch state leaders for all these civic bodies.