Mumbai, Feb 23: The Shiv Sena is maintaining its hold on Mumbai, leading on 72 seats followed by BJP on 40 seats as trends of counting of votes in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, where the saffron allies are locked in a battle, poured in.
The Congress and the NCP are far behind the Sena and the BJP, leading on 14 and 4 seats, respectively, in the 227-member BMC.
As per trends coming in from the other city corporations, zilla parishads and panchayat samitis, the BJP is ahead of its rivals on 18 seats and Shiv Sena on 7 seats in the Nashik civic body.
The ruling MNS in Nashik, Congress and NCP were leading on 2 seats each.
The civic polls, especially in the country's financial hub Mumbai, have generated much political heat on account of the fierce fight between the BJP and the Sena, despite being partners in governments in the state and at the Centre.
The battle of the estranged allies has put a question mark on the stability of the BJP-led ministry in the state as Sena had been tenacious in its attack on the senior partner and the Centre's demonetisation policy.
The results will determine the fate of 21,620 candidates for 5,777 seats up for grabs in the 10 municipal corporations, 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis for which the elections were held in two phases.
The stakes are high for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who led their respective parties from the front and were involved in a high decibel and no-holds-barred campaign, relegating the opposition Congress, NCP and other players like the MNS and the AIMIM to the background.
Apart from Mumbai, the municipal corporations which went to the polls were Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.
The big poll focus is on the BMC, retaining control of which is vital for Shiv Sena as the city has remained its prime political space ever since the party's formation in 1966. The Sena has been in power in BMC for over two decades. In municipal corporations excluding Mumbai, there are multi member wards where the electorate cast their votes for each of the category in the panel. Each panel has more than two wards.
The districts where elections to 283 panchayat samitis were held are - Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Beed, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Hingoli, Jalgaon, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Wardha, Yavatmal, Ratnagiri,
Sindhudurg, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Solapur, Nashik, Amravati and Gadchiroli.