Stage is set for polls to 10 municipal corporations, 26 zilla parishads and 296 panchayat samitis
: Voting for the 10 municipal corporations, including the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) controlled BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), will take place on February 21. Besides the BMC, polling for nine other corporations includes Thane, Ulhasnagar, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nagpur. The nomination will begin on January 27, while the last date for filing nominations is February 3. The last date for campaigning is February 19. Polling is on February 21 and counting is on February 23.
Further, the polling for the 26 zilla parishads, which are currently dominated by the Opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), will be held in two phases on February 16 (for 15 zilla parishads) and on February 21 (for 11 zilla parishads). The counting for these bodies is also slated for February 23. This accounts for more than 80 per cent of the total voters in the state. Maharashtra Election Commissioner J S Saharia, on Wednesday, announced the poll schedule and the application of the model code of conduct.
The ruling BJP and Shiv Sena will make every attempt to further consolidate their position, while the Congress and the NCP will attempt to regain their past glory. Incidentally, the BJP and Shiv Sena, who until recently were engaged in a verbal duel on going solo in the election to the 227-member BMC with an annual budget of Rs 37,000 crore, on Wednesday initiated seat-sharing talks. Both the saffron parties have been ruling the BMC for the past 25 years. However, the Congress and the NCP are still divided over the poll alliance.()