The BJP has emerged as the leading party in the Maharashtra gram panchayat elections, with the Shiv Sena a close second, tentative results showed on Monday, 18 January.
Of the 11,800 gram panchayats whose results were declared till late on Monday, the BJP is said to have won 2,600, followed by Shiv Sena at 2,570, Nationalist Congress Party at 2,400, Congress at 1,825, and Independents and local panels at 2,335.
The polls in Maharashtra were held for 12,711 gram panchayats last week. While the state election commission had declared polls to be held on 14,234 gram panchayats, in 1,523 of them, 26,718 candidates were elected unopposed.
The polls were held for 1,25,709 seats, with 2,14,880 candidates in the fray.
The elections for many of the gram panchayats were due at various points in 2020, but were postponed in view of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown in the state.
Polls for 162 gram panchayats in Gadchiroli are scheduled to be held on 20 January.
Notably, these gram panchayat elections are not contested on the basis of party symbols, but involve local panels affiliating to one party or the other.
Meanwhile, both the rival political forces of the state – the BJP and the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – claimed victory in the elections.
The election was being seen as a litmus test for the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress MVA government, led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
. Read more on India by The Quint.Marvellous Victory: SRK, Ranveer on Team India's Series Win in AusMaharashtra Panchayat Elections: BJP Leading, Shiv Sena Close 2nd . Read more on India by The Quint.