Mumbai has been a traditional stronghold and birthplace of the Indian National Congress, also known as the Congress Party. The first session of the Indian National Congress was held in Bombay from 28–31 December 1885. The city played host to the Indian National Congress six times during its first 50 years, and became a strong base for the Indian independence movement during the 20th century.
The 1960s saw the rise of regionalist politics in Bombay, with the formation of the Shiv Sena on 19 June 1966, out of a feeling of resentment about the relative marginalisation of the native Marathi people in Bombay. The party headed a campaign to expel South Indian and North Indian migrants by force.The Congress had dominated the politics of Bombay from independence until the early 1980s, when the Shiv Sena won the 1985 Bombay municipal corporation elections.
In 1989, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a major national political party, forged an electoral alliance with the Shiv Sena to dislodge the Congress in the MaharashtraLegislative Assembly elections. In 1999, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) separated from the Congress, but later allied with the Congress, to form a joint venture known as the Democratic Front. Currently, other parties such as Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and several independent candidates also contest elections in the city.
In the Indian national elections held every five years, Mumbai is represented by six parliamentary constituencies: Mumbai North, Mumbai North West, Mumbai North East,Mumbai North Central, Mumbai South Central, and Mumbai South. A Member of Parliament (MP) to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, is elected from each of the parliamentary constituencies. In the 2009 national elections, out of the six parliamentary constituencies, five were won by the Congress, and one by the NCP. In the Maharashtra state assembly elections held every five years, Mumbai is represented by 36 assembly constituencies.
A Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) is elected from each of the assembly constituencies. In the 2009 state assembly elections, out of the 36 assembly constituencies, 17 were won by the Congress, 6 by the MNS, 5 by the BJP, 4 by the Shiv Sena, 3 by the NCP and 1 by SP. Elections are also held every five years to elect corporators to power in the BMC.
The Corporation comprises 227 directly elected Councillors representing the 24 municipal wards, five nominated Councillors having special knowledge or experience in municipal administration, and a Mayor whose role is mostly ceremonial. In the 2007 municipal corporation elections, out of the 227 seats, the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance secured 111 seats, holding power in the BMC, while the Congress-NCP alliance bagged 85 seats. The tenure of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Municipal Commissioner is two and a half years.