The Shiv Sena emerged as the largest party in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections with 84 seats, but the BJP, which made massive gains, said it could take control of the civic body with the backing of independents.
Shiv Sena activists celebrated earlier in the day as it appeared it was set to take control of the BMC, but at the end it finished with just 84 of the 227 seats. The BJP came close with 82 seats.
Any party or combine will need 114 corporators for a simple majority.
BJP Mumbai president Ashish Shelar said the party had bagged 82 seats in Mumbai and had the support of four independents and that it was in a position to claim the crucial post of mayor.
“This is a historic victory for the BJP. We are only three seats less than the Shiv Sena. The credit goes to the development agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis,” he said.
An aggressive Shiv Sena had snapped ties with the BJP ahead of the municipal elections and its leader Uddhav Thackeray had expected the Sena to win at least 100 seats, if not an outright majority.
The BMC, which is also the country’s largest municipal body, has an annual budget of Rs 37,000 crore in 2016-17.
The Congress trailed at a distant third in Mumbai, forcing its city unit chief Sanjay Nirupam to accept moral responsibility. He has offered to resign from the post.
The BJP’s solid gains came in other major cities of Maharashtra.
The BJP raced towards victory in the Pune Municipal Corporation, pushing the ruling NCP to a poor second spot. The Shiv Sena, the MNS and the Congress fared poorly in the state’s cultural and IT capital.