Civic elections in three municipal corporations, Panvel, Bhiwandi and Malegaon in Maharashtra concluded on Wednesday, 24 May. 55, 53 and 60 percent of voters were witnessed respectively in each municipality. Approximately 12.96 lakh people were eligible voters in these elections.
Panvel, a neighbouring town of Mumbai in Raigad district was upgraded to Municipal Corporation in October last year and went for the elections first time. Panvel Municipal Corporation comprises of the town and 29 nearby villages. In the 78-seat Panvel Municipal Corporation, the contest was between Shiv Sena, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Peasants and Workers’ Party (PWP)- allied with Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). BJP fielded its 60 candidates and faced its opponent Shiv Sena which was in alliance with Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS).
Currently Bhiwandi-Nizampur City Municipal Corporation is being ruled by Congress-Shiv Sena alliance and an alliance of NCP and Teesra Mahaj rules Malegaon Municipal Corporation.
According to the officials, a total of 1251 candidates contested the civic elections on 252 seats across the three civic bodies. These candidates included 189 candidates from BJP, 152 from Congress, 144 from Shiv Sena, 90 from NCP, 32 from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), 46 from All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), 22 from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), 4 from Janata Dal (U), 10 from Janata Dal (S) and 355 independents candidates.
According to a report of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), of the total 1251 candidates, 195 candidates had criminal cases registered against them and 141 were facing serious criminal cases. The report also stated that 7 of the BJP’s candidates had serious criminal cases against them while the Congress has 25, Shiv Sena 14, NCP 13 and MNS had 6 such candidates.
According to the announcement made by Chief Election Commissioner of India Naseem Zaidi on 12 May, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) equipped with VVPAT (Voter-verifiable paper audit trail) machines, were to be used during these elections. However, JS Saharia, the state election commissioner said that use of VVPAT machines would not be possible in these civic elections.
The results of these elections will be declared on Friday, 26 May.