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BJP, Shinde faction capture power in 299 Maharashtra gram panchayats

Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in alliance with the Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena emerged victorious in as many as 299 out of 547 gram panchayats that went to polls on Sunday, in the second round of local body elections. On the victory bagged by the party, Maharashtra BJP President, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, said, “Around 259 candidates endorsed by the BJP and 40 endorsed by the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena were elected as sarpanches in the gram panchayat polls.”

Lauding the win, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The BJP and the Shiv Sena have both emerged victorious in these elections. It indicates that people have accepted this alliance. This is truly the beginning of things to come.” “The media has been calling it the Shinde faction, but this is the real Shiv Sena which has stayed true to (party founder) Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideals of Hindutva. The other (Uddhav Thackeray-led faction) is the ‘shillak’ (remaining) Shiv Sena,” said Fadnavis on Monday. The state election commission (SEC) held elections of 608 gram panchayats on Sunday. Out of these, members of 51 gram panchayats were elected unopposed. As a result, polling was held at 547 gram panchayats in 16 districts of the state.

According to available data, an estimated 76% polling percentage was reported on Sunday. The election of the sarpanches heading the panchayats was voted for directly by the electors and not office-bearers. “The results of the 547 gram panchayats are being declared today (Monday). Since these elections were not held on official party symbols, the commission cannot provide any party-wise data,” an SEC spokesperson told First India. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) showed its dominance in Nashik (41 out of 88 gram panchayats), Pune (30 out of 61) and Ahmedabagar (20 out of 45) districts, while the Congress won 33 out of 72 GPs in Yavatmal district of Vidarbha region, followed by the BJP with 20 wins. The BJP dominated polls in Dhule and Nandurbar districts, bagging 32 out 33 seats and 42 out of 75 seats respectively

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