Surmounting anti-incumbency factor and stiff challenge from the MNS, Shiv Sena-BJP alliance today retained the country's richest corporation BMC.
The biggest triumph for the alliance is in the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which it has controlled since 1996, where it frustrated state's ruling Congress-NCP combine's efforts to wrest power.
The victory in the 227-member BMC, whose budget of 21,000 crore far exceeds that of many states, came despite Congress forging an alliance with NCP for the first time for the civic body election, in order to avoid a split in secular votes. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had assiduously pursued an alliance with his party's fractious ally which at one stage threatened to walk out of alliance talks.
Though the magic figure of 114 eluded the saffron alliance--Shiv Sena 75 and BJP 32-- in the 227-member Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, by just seven seats, it would hardly find it difficult to secure a majority with the help of independents and smaller parties which have secured 28 seats.
While the Congress secured 50 seats, NCP finished with just 14.
Raj Thackeray's MNS did remarkably well with 28 seats, up 21 seats it got in 2007.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan called the result as "surprising" and conceded defeat.
"The result is surprising...unexpected. We tried to consolidate secular votes but could not meet with desired outcome," Chavan told reporters.
In 2007 polls, Shiv Sena had won 84 seats and BJP 28, but obtained a majority with the help of four independents, taking their tally to 116.
Fighting separately, Congress had won 75 seats and NCP 14. Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) won 7 seats and Samajwadi Party 7.
MNS gets the king maker's role in Mumbai and Thane
The Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI alliance does not have a single majority to claim power in Mumbai or in Thane.
They will have to either take support of MNS or independents. If the MNS decides to remain neutral like in Kalyan-Dombivali, then the alliance could come to power.
MNS defeats Shiv Sena in its den
MNS defeated Shiv Sena in its own den i.e. ward number 185, where Sandip Deshpande defeated Shiv Sena candidate Pravin Shetye.
Mumbai heading towards hung house; MNS leads in 25 seats
The country's richest civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, appeared headed towards a hung House, going by early trends and results.
Counting for 10 municipal corporation polls held on Thursday and elections to 27 zilla parishads and 309 Panchayat Samitis held on February 7 began this morning.
In Mumbai, the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP combine was ahead in 75 seats, while the Congress-NCP combine was ahead in 50 seats. Raj Thackeray-led MNS was leading in about 25 seats. The Sena was leading in 8 seats, BJP 3, Congress 3, NCP 1 and MNS 1 as per the results declared so far.
In Thane, the Sena-BJP combine was leading in 45 seats while the Congress-NCP front was leading in 36 seats. In Pimpri-Chinchwad, NCP was leading in 30 seats.
Altogether 2,232 candidates were in the fray for 227 electoral wards in Mumbai.
Elections were also held yesterday for Thane, Pune, Ulhasnagar, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Nashik, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur municipal corporations.
The Shiv Sena-BJP combine rules Mumbai, besides the neighbouring Thane (total seats 130), Ulhasnagar (78), Nashik (122) and Nagpur (145). Congress controls Amravati (87), the Congress-NCP combine rules in Pune (152) and Solapur (102). NCP alone holds Pimpri-Chinchwad civic body (126) while Congress alone rules in Amravati (87).
Akola municipal corporation has 73 seats and was under Congress-NCP rule but was dissolved by state government last year over financial irregularities.