Mumbai, April 16 (IANS) Contrary to expectations, the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine performed well in the elections to five municipal corporations, results of which were declared here Monday.
Polling was held Sunday in Latur for 70 seats, Parbhani 65 seats, Chandrapur 66 seats, Malegaon 80 seats and Bhiwandi 90 seats.
Of the total 371 at stake in the five civic bodies, the Congress bagged 149 and NCP secured 64 seats.
Among the other parties, Shiv Sena bagged 46, Bharatiya Janata Party got 28, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena secured three seats, and independents and smaller parties scored in a whopping 80 seats.
The independents and smaller parties could hold the key to deciding which party or group would form the administration in two important civic bodies - Malegaon (Nashik district) and Bhiwandi (Thane district) - both Muslim-dominated towns.
In the city-wise tally, the Congress bagged 49 seats and absolute control over the 70-member Latur Municipal Corporation, which happens to be the home town of Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
NCP came a distant second with 13, SS got six, smaller parties got two while BJP and MNS scored nil, indicating Deshmukh's hold over his native region.
In the 65-member Parbhani Municipal Corporation, the NCP is on the verge of grabbing power with 30 seats under the belt and it needs three more for a simple majority, followed by Congress with 23, SS eight, BJP two, independents two and MNS nil.
The 66-member Chandrapur Municipal Corporation in eastern Maharashtra saw the Congress emerging as the single largest group with 26 seats, NCP four, SS five, BJP 18, MNS one and others 12.
Even if Congress-NCP tie-up they would need the support of at least four more corporators to bag the keys to the corporation.
With 80 members, the Malegaon Municipal Corporation has thrown up a mixed result - with the independents and smaller parties bagging the lion's share of 33 seats.
The Congress managed 25, NCP eight, SS 11, MNS two and BJP nil in the MMC. The possibility of a Congress-led alliance ruling the civic body with the support of NCP and others or independents is not ruled out.
Even the 90-member Bhiwandi Municipal Corporation has thrown up an identical scenario with 31 independents and smaller parties getting elected.
The Congress scored 26, NCP nine, SS - 16, BJP - 08 while MNS scored a nil in the house, again throwing open prospects of a Congress-led alliance in the civic body.
With the state assembly elections due after two-and-half years, both Malegaon and Bhiwandi are considered crucial for the Congress-NCP for the strong contingent of minority votes in the two towns.
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