Maharashtra Gram Panchayat election: BJP claims clear lead, win for ruling coalition, MVA dubs claims ‘false’

Candidates file their nomination papers for the Gram Panchayat elections, at an election office, in Karad on December 2, 2022.

Candidates file their nomination papers for the Gram Panchayat elections, at an election office, in Karad on December 2, 2022.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed to have emerged on top in the results to 7,135 Gram Panchayats spread across 34 districts of Maharashtra on Tuesday.

While Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that the ruling coalition of the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction and the BJP had trounced the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance (of the Nationalist Congress Party, the Congress and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena faction), the MVA leaders charged Mr. Fadnavis with making “false claims”.

Sources said that of the results declared to 6,100-odd GPs (of the total 7,135), the BJP had taken a clear lead. According to rough estimates, the BJP’s sarpanch candidates claimed victory in over 2,000 GPs, with the Congress supposed to have been leading on 800 GPs.

However, the NCP is likely to finish a creditable second, leading in over 1,400 GPs.

In the divided Shiv Sena, the Shinde-led faction was leading in nearly 800 GPs while Mr. Thackeray’s camp was winning in over 660 GPs.

However, given that GP elections are not fought on any party symbol, it is unclear whether the ruling coalition was leading. Other sources said the contest was an evenly matched one, with both the Shinde-Fadnavis coalition and the MVA alliance winning 2,800 sarpach seats respectively.  

“The results are proof that the rural populace has shown full confidence in the Eknath Shinde-led ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’ -BJP government,” said Mr. Fadnavis, speaking in the Legislature premises in Nagpur with Mr. Shinde by his side.  

The results were a stamp of approval of the decisions taken by CM Shinde, added Mr. Fadnavis, while lauding BJP State president Chandrashekhar Bawankule’s efforts on ground to help take the party to a resounding victory.

In a jibe at Mr. Thackeray, Mr. Fadnavis said that the results were proof that the public had recognised the current dispensation as the “legitimate government”.

However, Congress State chief Nana Patole questioned Mr. Fadnavis’ claims, remarking that the Deputy CM’s figures were utterly wrong.

“This is a false government used to making phoney claims. For instance, in Nagpur itself, where counting is taking place on 237 GPs, the Congress is winning on 200,” Mr. Patole said.

Likewise, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said anybody could make any claim in the GP poll result as the elections were not fought on any party label.

During the declaration of results, two groups clashed in Jalgaon’s Takli village in Jamner taluk, leading to the death of a BJP worker, said authorities.

The prestige of several big leaders were at stake: In Kolhapur South, Congress’ Satej Patil’s panel trounced his rival, BJP leader Dhananjay Mahadik’s panel. In Nagpur’s Kalmeshwar taluka, former Congress Minister Sunil Kedar retained an upper hand against BJP. Meanwhile, BJP took the lead in Sindhudurg, with Vaibhavwadi BJP MLA Nitesh Rane’s panel leading and Shiv Sena (UBT) trailing.

In Muktainagar, NCP leader Eknath Khadse kept his prestige intact following the victory of his panel as did BJP leader Pankaja Munde in Beed.

Voting to the GPs was held on December 18 and an average turnout of 74% was recorded.

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