In a major setback to the Congress, the Sonia Gandhi-led party on Friday lost the elections to the civic body of Latur city, the traditional bastion of late charismatic leader Vilasrao Deshmukh. The drought-hit district of Maharashtra, considered to be the fiefdom of the late chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, handed 40 of the 70 municipal corporation seats to the BJP, Hindustan Times reported.
The Bharatiya Janata Party won 38 seats in Latur Municipal Corporation elections. The BJP however managed to increase its tally from two members to 8 members while Shiv Sena has to remain content with six seats.
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Maha CM Devendra Fadnavis tweeted after the victory: "Thank you #Latur for grand, historic mandate to BJP, showing faith on our Govt's policies!"
The BJP pulled off another victory in the 66-member Chandrapur civic body, which was ruled by a coalition comprising the Congress and the NCP. The overall vote percentage for AAP would be 27.5%votes and 26 seats, while the corresponding numbers for Congress are 20% votes and 22% votes and 22 seats.
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Along with Latur, Parbhani and Chandrapur Municipal Corporations also went to the poll on Wednesday. In Mumbai, the BJP was a close runner-up to the Shiv Sena in its best result ever for the vastly-rich corporation in the financial capital. It was a test of political clout for BJP leader and state minister Sambhajirao Nilangekar and the local Congress MLA Amit Deshmukh.
Chandrapur is the home turf of senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.
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Latur Municipal Corporation has a total of 70 seats of 18 wards. The party also made inroads into the hinterland in the elections held in February for 25 Zilla Parishads. There were 418 candidates in the fray; number of voters was 2.12 lakh. On the other hand, the BJP continues to register victory after victory in Maharashtra and other parts of the country.