MUMBAI -- The BJP is set to make decisive gains in civic polls in Maharashtra even as it is locked in a neck-and-neck fight with its bickering ally Shiv Sena in Mumbai, the latest counting trends suggest.
The Congress and the NCP were headed for a rout across the state including some of their strongholds like Pune.
While the Shiv Sena slightly improved showing in Mumbai and Thane, the BJP is set to retain Nagpur, Akola and wrest Pune and Ulhasnagar from NCP and Nashik from the MNS.
But, as the counting progressed into final rounds, it appears that the Sena is unlikely to touch the half-way mark of 114 seats in Mumbai, where the BJP is poised for a big leap after fighting the polls on its own.
The BJP is likely to come to power in at least six civic bodies -- Pune, Nashik, Ulhasnagar, Akola, Nagpur and Amravati -- out of the 10 corporations for which the elections were held on Tuesday.
Apart from Mumbai, the city corporations which went to polls were Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.
In Pune, the BJP is leading on 74 out of the total 152 seats, in Ulhasnagar on 32 (78 total seats), Nashik-32 (122), Nagpur-72 (145), Amaravati-21 (87) and Akola-31 (73).
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena is leading on 84 seats in the 227-member BMC, while BJP is ahead on 81.
In the 131-member Thane civic body, the Sena has so far won 43 seats, BJP-17, NCP-22, Congress and MIM 2 each, and Independent-1.
Though the BJP made major inroads in the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and neighbouring Thane, it is not sure if Sena will be ready for a post-poll pact, after a no-holds-barred fight between the allies, which often turned a murky slugfest.
The party is also doing well in the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, as per the latest trends.
NCP, in the power here in Pune since 2007, is trailing behind the saffron party.
In Pune's neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, the BJP has dented the NCP by leading on 26 seats and won on 22 seats, whereas NCP is leading only on 14 seats.
The BJP appears to have expanded its base in Pimpri Chinchwad, despite fierce competition from the NCP.
The results of 10 municipal corporations in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, have seen the Congress plummeting to a new low with the lowest ever tally in the BMC and losing Solapur and Amravati to the BJP.
(This is a developing story. More details are awaited.)
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