Mumbai: Ousting NCP, its ally in the state and central government, Congress on Monday bagged control of the Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad Municipal Corporation in western Maharashtra, winning 40 of the 78 seats.
NCP, which controlled the corporation for the last five years, managed to win only 18 seats. The NCP-led `Maha aghadi` alliance had then bagged 37 seats. Congress, which had won 24 seats then, has improved its tally to emerge the clear winner this time.
Swabhimani Aaghadi, a front which included candidates of BJP, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana and some independents, won eight seats. Independent candidates won in 9 wards, while MNS candidate won in a single ward.
The result is a major setback to NCP and a boost for Congress. The contest was deemed prestigious as top state-level leaders, including Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, had taken part in the campaign.
NCP leader and Home Minister R R Patil was accused of campaigning for the party`s "tainted" candidates, including some accused in the 2009 riots. The then mayor of Sangli, Moinuddin Bagwan, was an accused in the riots case and contested as an NCP candidate.
While the election results are good news for union minister Prateek Patil and state minister Patangrao Kadam of Congress, they are a setback to NCP ministers Jayant Patil and RR Patil, who hail from Sangli district.