About 1.25 lakh candidates on Monday emerged victorious in the Gram Panchayat elections held in Maharashtra last week, the outcome which the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) claimed a “huge win” while the opposition BJP said it had come out stronger. Though the village panchayat elections are not fought on party symbols, panels are fielded by political parties or local leaders.
Leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) claimed that the MVA comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress has scored a big win in the polls, counting for which was held on Monday. On the other hand, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the BJP has emerged as the single largest party in these elections. BJP leader Keshav Upadhye too claimed that the saffron party is at “number one position” in the elections.
Polling for elections to 12,711 gram panchayats was held in 34 of the total 36 districts on January 15. Polling was held for 1,25,709 seats, for which 2,14,880 candidates were in the fray.
Of the total 2,41,598 candidates who were in the race post scrutiny and withdrawal of nominations, 26,718 candidates faced no rivals, so they would be declared elected unopposed, the state Election Commission had said. Elections to 14,234 gram panchayats were announced on December 11 last year, but in some local governing bodies elections were held completely or partially unopposed.
Later, the elections got delayed mainly because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gram Panchayats are considered the third tier of governance. Elections for them are not held on party lines or using party symbols. Candidates are allotted election symbols from a list of free symbols.
Speaking to reporters in Pune, senior NCP leader and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said, “As per inputs, the results of Gram Panchayat elections are good and are in favour of the MVA. Party workers of the Congress, Sena and NCP have clinched the victory. In most of these places, the Congress, NCP and Sena retained seats in their respective strongholds. I congratulate all these members for this success”. Pawar also said the overall (political) picture in Maharashtra seems to be changing post the results of Legislative Council elections held last year, in which the BJP had suffered a setback.
Another senior NCP leader and state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said in Nashik that the MVA has achieved a “huge success” in the Gram Panchayat elections as per trends and results. Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat claimed that 80 per cent of the seats in Gram Panchayats that went to polls were won by the constituents of the MVA.
“The MVA alliance has won 80 per cent villages in this elections while Congress alone has won 4,000 gram panchayats.This is a strong message to the BJP and its style of working,” he said.
However, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, said, “As MVA parties have come together, we got a lot of space to expand. The BJP has emerged as the single largest party in the Gram Panchayat polls”. “Following a natural calamity, this MVA government has failed to resolve woes of the people. The poll outcome is a strong message to the state government,” the former chief minister said.
(With PTI inputs)