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Continuing its winning streak in Maharashtra, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday won Latur and Chandrapur municipal corporations, out of three civic bodies that went to polls on April 19.
Defeat in Latur came as a major embarrassment for the Congress as the district has traditionally been the bastion of the party stalwart and former chief minister (late) Vilasrao Deshmukh.
The results of the elections held for the three municipal corporations were declared today.
The consolation for the Congress was the Parbhani municipal corporation, where the party improved its tally compared to the 2012 polls to retain power.
In 65-member Parbhani civic body, the Congress won 31 seats, NCP 18, BJP 8, Shiv Sena 6, and Independents 2.
In 2012 polls, the Congress won 23 seats, NCP 30, Shiv Sena 8, BJP 2 and others 2.
The BJP's victory in Latur stands out as the saffron party, which drew a blank in the 2012 elections, bagged 36 seats today in the 70-member civic body. The Congress won 33 seats while one seat went to the NCP.
The Latur debacle reflects poorly on the leadership potential of Amit Deshmukh, the MLA son of late Vilasrao, who was steering the Congress in elections.
In 2012 polls to the Latur civic body, the Congress won 49 seats, NCP 13, and Shiv Sena 6. Remaining two seats were won by the smaller parties.
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.
Chandrapur is the home district of the senior BJP leader and Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.
The final tally is: BJP (36), Congress (12), NCP (2), Shiv Sena (2), BSP (8), MNS (2), and Independents (4).
In 2012, the Congress won 26 seats, BJP 18, NCP 4, Shiv Sena 5, BSP 2, MNS 1, and Independents (10).
Hailing the BJP's performance, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, "BJP is creating history yet again."
He thanked the people of Latur and Chandrapur for the mandate to his party and for showing faith in his government.
The CM also congratulated the party workers for the victory.
"We will work harder and continue to work for every citizen with our mantra of good governance to serve the last man," he tweeted.
In the elections held to the ten municipal corporations across the state in February this year, the BJP won eight civic bodies. The party also made inroads into the hinterland in the elections held in February for 25 Zilla Parishads.
In Latur Zilla Parishad (ZP) polls, the BJP had breached the long-standing Congress citadel.
For the April 19 elections to the three civic bodies, 1,284 candidates were in fray for total 201 seats.
In Chandrapur 460 candidates were in the ring, followed by Parbhani (418) and Latur (406).
A total of 7,93,621 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in the three corporations, where 62 per cent voting was registered.
Meanwhile, Mungantiwar, the Guardian minister of Chandrapur district, thanked the voters and party workers for the party's victory.
He attributed the victory to the BJP's agenda of development and transparency.