Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Monday claimed 259 candidates supported by his party and 40 nominees backed by the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena have been elected as sarpanches in the just-held elections to gram panchayats in the state.
Voting for elections to 547 gram panchayats spread across 16 districts of the state was held on Sunday and 76 per cent turnout was reported. The elections were held on non-party basis and counting of votes was taken up on Monday.
Besides elections to gram panchayats, direct polls for the post of village sarpanches were also held.
Bawankule, addressing a press conference here, said 259 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-supported candidates have been elected as sarpanches. The former minister further claimed said 40 nominees backed by the Shiv Sena faction headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, an ally of the BJP, have also been elected as sarpanches.
In all, more than 50 per cent of the newly-elected sarpanches are supporters of the Shinde-BJP alliance, he said.
“Gram panchayat results today have confirmed Maharashtra’s faith in the Shinde-Fadnavis government,” Bawankule said. BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis is the deputy chief minister in the Shinde-led government which took office in June-end.
Shinde, along with 39 other MLAs, walked out of the Shiv Sena in June after raising a banner of revolt agianst the leadership of party president Uddhav Thackeray.