The Congress has won 73 of the 81 seats in the civic polls in Nanded, the home turf of state party chief Ashok Chavan, as per the final results declared early today.
Denting the BJP's bid to wrest power, the Congress was successful in limiting the saffron party's tally to six in the elections to the Nanded-Waghala Municipal Corporation (NWMC). The results of four seats were kept pending yesterday due to technical reasons and were declared today, an official of the State Election Commission said.
Chavan yesterday attributed the party's win to non-tampering of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and claimed that the BJP's "return journey" has started.
As per the final tally of the total 81 seats, the Congress won 73, followed by the BJP which bagged six seats.
The Shiv Sena just about managed to open its account with one seat. An independent candidate also won a seat.
"The results have proven that the return journey of the BJP has started from Maharashtra. Our ground work in Nanded ensured that there was no tampering of EVMs, which led to our victory," Chavan yesterday told reporters here after taking part in the victory celebrations outside the Mumbai Congress office.
"There is severe discontent among the people due to high fuel prices, farmers' suicides and troubles caused to cultivators due to faulty loan waiver system. People have understood the hollow claims made by the chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis)," Chavan said.
Maharashtra's labour minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar, who was in-charge of the BJP's poll machinery in Nanded, yesterday claimed that the party's vote share rose from 3 per cent in 2012 to 19 per cent this time around.
However, BJP's new ally and Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha (MSP) leader Narayan Rane advised the BJP leadership to do an introspection on why it fared so bad despite the chief minister holding many election rallies in the run-up to the Nanded civic polls.
He, however, dismissed the argument that the Nanded civic poll results would have an impact on the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
The Nanded civic body has been ruled by the Congress, since it came into existence two decades ago. The party-wise strength in NWMC prior to this election was: Congress-41, Shiv Sena-14, AIMIM-11, NCP -10, independents-three and BJP-two.
Notably, the BJP had won 12 of the 16 civic bodies in Maharashtra, for which polls were held this year, expanding its footprint in the state's urban pockets. It had made inroads into the traditional Congress strongholds and also those of partner Shiv Sena.