Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls in Mumbai registers highest voter turnout in 25 years, 55% people cast their vote.
The BMC polls got underway on Tuesday, with 2,275 candidates in 227 municipal wards in the fray. The vote is expected to be a referendum on the BJP-led Devendra Fadnavis government. With all four main parties – Shiv Sena, BJP, Congress and NCP – striking out on their own, each is looking at these elections with an eye on the next big one, the 2019 assembly polls. Besides, there are parties such as the MNS, which is fighting for relevance in state polity, and the AIMIM, which is trying to register its presence in Maharashtra.
Polling for the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and 9 other civic bodies across Maharashtra took place on Tuesday with estranged allies BJP and Shiv Sena at the forefront of this battle of might. Apart from the 10 civic bodies, the second phase of polling for 11 Zilla Parishads (ZPs) and 118 panchayat samitis was also conducted.
Stakes are high for Fadnavis and Thackeray, who have led their respective parties from the front and were involved in a high decibel and no holds barred campaign. The big poll focus is on Brihanmumbai Municipal Cooperation (BMC) — one of the world’s largest city bodies, boasting of an annual budget of over Rs 37,000 crore — retaining control of which is vital for Shiv Sena as the city has remained its prime political space ever since the party’s formation in 1966.
Fadnavis exuded confidence that people will support the party on basis of the work it has done. Fadnavis, along with his wife Amruta and mother, voted in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation election at a booth near their residence in Dharampeth in Nagpur. In Mumbai, NCP chief Sharad Pawar was among those who voted early as polling began at a brisk pace this morning.
Pawar voted at a polling booth in Ward 214 here which incidentally doesn’t have an NCP candidate. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, wife Rashmi and sons Aditya and Tejas voted at a booth near their residence in suburban Bandra. Other leaders who were among early voters in Mumbai were former CM Manohar Joshi, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan and Shaina NC.
Several eminent personalities and celebs including former Mumbai Police Commissioner Julio Ribeiro, Joint Police Commissioner (law and order) Deven Bharti, Election Commissioner KS Saharia, BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, actress Anushka Sharma, Rekha; filmmakers Zoya Akhtar and Gulzar besides former cricketer Sandeep Patil also exercised their voting rights.