The Shiv Sena will maintain its hold on Mumbai, leading on 94 seats followed by BJP on 61 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 22 and seven 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 seven seats in the Nashik civic body. The ruling MNS in Nashik, Congress and NCP were leading on two 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 categories in the panel. Each panel has more than two wards.


The districts where elections to 283 panchayats 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.


Meanwhile, the BJP appeared to be softening its stand against Sena, and said, the latter will now have to take the first step to decide the future.


The Shiv Sena and the BJP had engaged in a high decibel campaign for the Mumbai civic polls with the alliance partners trading charges at each other.


"It was Sena which first took the step of breaking the alliance with us, and they will have to now take the first step to decide the future course," BJP MLA Parag Alavani said.


Opposition Congress, which stood a distant third after the Sena and the BJP as per the leads available, sought to put the blame of the party's internal differences for its poor performance.


"When elections were announced, I said Sena will get maximum seats, and that's what is seen now. The question now is if they get a full majority," senior Congress leader Narayan Rane said.


"But the way BJP was campaigning and how the Chief Minister (Devendra Fadnavis) insulted (Sena chief) Uddhav Thackeray was not befitting for the CM. Mumbaikars did not like what was spoken by him," he said.


Rane said Congress lost out because of internal differences among its leaders. "Leaders did not come together. (Sanjay) Nirupam (Mumbai Regional Congress Committee chief) should have got all leaders together to win. He did not do enough," he said.


Meanwhile, the BJP has registered a win on 15 seats and Shiv Sena on 9 in the 122-member Nashik Municipal Corporation, an official said.

Former Nashik Mayor Yatin Wagh, who had recently left the MNS and joined Shiv Sena, lost the civic poll. Besides, as per the latest trends available, Shiv Sena was leading in 18 seats, BJP on 14, and MNS, NCP and Congress on two seats each.