Cong wins 73; NCP, MIM draw blank in Nanded civic polls

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The Congress meant to send the BJP packing but what it ended up doing was burying the Shiv Sena as well as the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

THE Congress has won 73 of the 81 seats in the civic polls in Nanded, the home turf of state party chief Ashok Chavan, as per the final results declared early on Friday.

The BJP, stunned with the sudden development, responded by hurling allegations of "horse-trading" and lodging complaints with the Maharashtra State Election Commission, Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Konkan Development Commissioner.

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In 2012, the Congress bagged 41 seats, Shiv Sena 14, AIMIM 11, NCP 10, BJP two while independents notched three seats. For the first time both Shiv Sena and MIM came to the rescue of the Congress, he said. Ahead of the municipal elections, the BJP had inducted Chavan-rival Prataprao Chikhlikar in the party.

Among other parties, a prominent contender, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), was overwhelmed by the Congress juggernaut and finally lost the race in this Sikh pilgrimage centre. The BJP leaders point out that Chikhlikar's induction in the BJP hurt old loyalists in the party and did not elicit the expected support from non-BJP voters as well.Several BJP leaders spoken to said that the Nanded polls should be an eyeopener and the party should decide where to stop when it comes to empow. Chavan on Thursday attributed the party's win to non-tampering of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and claimed that the BJP's "return journey" has started. He added that the BJP's vote share had gone up from around 4 per cent to 25 per cent. "What happened today (MNS corporators joining the Sena) was just "ghar wapsi" (homecoming)", Uddhav Thackeray said. And this is what they got?

Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe hit back, saying the outcome was "a result of people's anger against the BJP's policies and a setback to Fadnavis". This is the third successive failure of the BJP to shake the Congress bastion in Nanded, which has political and emotive connect with the Chavan family.

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