MUMBAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has bagged 724 seats in the state Gram Panchayat elections and emerged as the top party. Its allies, the Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde group and NCP’s Ajit Pawar group, have also made substantial gains, with 263 and 412 seats, respectively.
The elections involved a total of 2,359 Gram Panchayat seats and saw a voter turnout of 74 per cent. In Baramati Taluka, traditionally known as the den of Sharad Pawar, the Ajit group won unopposed. Elsewhere too, the group made impressive gains, winning 29 out of 31 seats from which it had contested. The other two seats were won by BJP candidates.
This victory comes after extensive discussions following the NCP’s split. Many speculated about the level of support for Ajit Pawar’s leadership in Baramati Taluka, but the Gram Panchayat results show that the public has reposed its faith in him.
NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal stated that the results show the BJP in the lead, followed by Ajit Pawar’s NCP group and then the Shiv Sena’s Shinde group. He emphasised that even combined, the opposition does not have the support of even 50 per cent of the votes.
Shrikant Shinde, son of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, expressed gratitude to the people for their trust, emphasising that the victory was a result of the public’s faith. He highlighted the welfare schemes implemented by the Government, which garnered support from the people.
He also pointed out that the Thackeray Government had previously confined Shiv Sena to Mumbai and the surrounding areas, but under Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s leadership, the party has expanded its reach to every village. Despite having fewer legislators in the places where elections were held, the party performed well.