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The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald
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February 17, 2012

Mumbai remains Shiv Sena citadel, Cong-NCP fail to exploit anti-incumbency in municipal election, Raj Thackeray's hopes to emerge as king-maker dashed

Thackeray's Mumbai: Clan rule continues
Even after ruling the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for 17 years, Shiv Sena-BJP coalition was again poised to emerge as the leading group in the elections for the civic body, the results for which were emerging on Friday.

Despite fighting the election together for the first time in Mumbai, the NCP-Congress failed to make any impact and couldn't exploit the anti-incumbency. Though Shiv Sena-BJP didn't seem to get absolute majority, the performance defied all expectations.

Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) didn't do as well either. The trends for the 227 seats suggested, Shiv Sena-BJP heading for 105 seats, which is short of majority. Congress-NCP getting close to 65 seats followed by MNS (30). SP and independents form the rest (25).

In 2007 elections, Shiv Sena-BJP had won 112 seats while Congress had 71 seats, NCP had 14 councillors (corporators) while Samajwadi Party had eight seats. Seven MNS candidates had won in the municipal election then. In a 227 member house, a party needs 114 members to get majority.

Though Shiv Sena-BJP had easily won the corporation last time, on this occasion their seats have reduced slightly. But with the help of independents, they may be in a position to get hold of the corporation which has a budget of Rs 32,000 crores (including Rs 10,000 crore grant from Centre).

It was expected that MNS might be able to play the role of king-maker. But Raj Thackeray's hopes were dashed as Shiv Sena-BJP have almost managed to retain the number of seats and won't have much trouble in seizing power in the cash-rich municipal corporation.

Clearly, Uddhav Thackeray has survived the rebellion in Shiv Sena. MNS hasn't reached the expected strength in BMC that would help it dictate terms or ally with other groups to stop the Sena. Bombay remains Bal Thackeray's family pocket borough.

TIH Bureau

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