New Delhi, Feb 23, Following its debacle in the elections to the 10 civic bodies of Maharashtra, the Congress on Thursday accepted defeat and vowed to rebuild the cadre in the state.

"The Congress party graciously accepts the verdict in the BMC polls. We will work hard and rebuild our cadre and continue working for the people," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a tweet.

The Shiv Sena, with 84 of the 227 seats, finished on top of a hung BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation but the Bharatiya Janata Party, with 82, said it could take control of India's richest civic body with the backing of at least four independents.

The Congress trailed at a distant third in Mumbai with 31 seats, forcing its city unit chief Sanjay Nirupam to accept moral responsibility for the poor results. The Congress earlier had 58 seats in BMC.

It was a huge setback for the Congress which ruled the state for 15 long years till 2014 in alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party.

Despite having strong party leaders, including former Chief Ministers like Prithviraj Chavan, Narayan Rane, Ashok Chavan and party General Secretary Gurudas Kamat and Sanjay Nirupam, the Congress fared poorly in the polls to all the civic bodies.

The BJP gained hugely in nine other major civic bodies of Maharashtra also.