Mumbai: The BJP continued its march in the state at the expense of the Congress, winning a clear majority in the municipal corporation election in Marathwada's Latur on Friday.
The result is also a setback for the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) which has been reduced to a lone seat from 13 in 2012.
BJP won 36 out of 70 seats in Latur municipal polls where it had not won a single seat in 2012.
LIVE- Latur Municipal Corporation Election Results: In a blow to Congress, the BJP has secured lead on 34 wards out of the 70.
Chandrapur (in Vidarbha), the home turf of senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, saw the BJP winning 36 out of 66 seats.
Latur was known as the bastion of Congress party but BJP has turned the tide in its favour by resolving the drought crisis faced by the district.
In the 65-member Parbhani civic body, the Congress increased its tally from 23 seats in 2012 to 31 seats this time. The party came very close to grabbing power on its own in the prestigious Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections - the Shiv Sena was just a few seats ahead.
The BJP has been on the rise in the district since the last general elections when it won a Lok Sabha seat there for the first time.
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The stakes are high especially for the BJP as it is not in power in these three municipal corporations.
The elated Chief Minister of Maharashtra, 46-year-old Devendra Fadnavis took to the Twitter to express his happiness.
In 2012 Latur Municipal Corporation elections, Congress had won 49 wards, while the NCP bagged 13.
In the elections held to the ten municipal corporations across the state in February this year, the BJP won eight civic bodies. "People have rewarded the BJP for the government initiatives during drought", he said.
For the April 19 elections to the three civic bodies, 1,284 candidates were in fray for total 201 seats. "BJP minister Sambhajirao Patil-Nilangekar campaigned aggressively in the polls while Deshmukh was complacent", the Congress functionary said.
His eldest son Amit Deshmukh is a sitting MLA from Latur city constituency while youngest son Dhiraj Deshmukh is an member of the Latur zilla parishad.
Last year, trains carrying water pulled into Latur every day for almost four months as an intervention after a severe crisis in the area due to the monsoon failing for the fifth year.
Here 407 candidates are in the fray whose fate will be decided by 2.78 lakh voters. There were 418 candidates in the fray; number of voters was 2.12 lakh.