Aurangabad/Mumbai: The Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) emerged as the second largest party in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation elections and is poised to become the main opposition party, in the results declared here on Thursday.
AIMIM secured 26 seats in the 113-member civic body, pushing behind the Congress, which secured 11 seats, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with two seats, while other smaller parties and independents bagged 23 seats.
The ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance secured control over the civic body by bagging 52 seats, emerging as the single largest group, but falling short of a simple majority in the civic house, in the elections held on Wednesday.
In terms of individual party performance, with 26 seats, the AIMIM stood in second position just behind the Shiv Sena's 28 and ahead of the BJP with 24 seats in the civic elections, followed by the other parties.
The AIMIM, which had at least three Dalit candidates besides non-Muslims, emerged as the principal opposition party in the city, renowned globally for the nearby Ajanta-Ellora caves.
Elsewhere, in Navi Mumbai, the NCP retained control over the civic body, bagging 52 seats in the 111-member house, but without gaining a simple majority.
The Shiv Sena got 38 seats, the BJP six and other parties managed six seats, indicating that the NCP would need the support of Independents to rule.
NCP strongman and architect of the party's victory Ganesh Naik expressed hope that the Congress would join his party in the civic body.
Seven other municipal councils, including Ambarnath and Badlapur in Thane district, Wadi and Mowad in Nagpur, Rajgurunagar in Pune, Varangaon in Jalgaon and Bhokar in Nanded also went to polls and the results were announced on Thursday.
Shiv Sena MP from Aurangabad Chandrakant Khaire's nephew Sachin lost the election to Independent Raju Tanwani from Gulmandi ward.
This prompted Chandrakant Khaire to comment that the Shiv Sena should have contested the elections independently, but its ally BJP termed it his personal view.
The flavour of the civic polls, AIMIM's stunning performance came close on the heels of the party bagging two seats in the October 2014 assembly elections, including one in Byculla, Mumbai, and one in Aurangabad.
Aurangabad's AIMIM legislator Imtiyaz Jaleel told media persons that the election outcome proved that "the people are tired of false promises made by other parties and they only want development".
He predicted that in future the AIMIM will perform even better and show that people's power was supreme compared to money power.
The AIMIM made a soft entry in Maharashtra in 2012, bagging 11 seats in the 81-member Nanded Municipal Corporation elections that year.
Progressing steadily, it is now preparing for the forthcoming BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation elections due in early 2017, and other important civic bodies like Pune and Thane.