A euphoric Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) expects Narendra Modi to help it secure at least 10 to 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state, especially in north, central Maharashtra , Vidarbha and in Mumbai, where the NDA does not have even a single seat
Senior BJP leaders also foresee their prime ministerial candidate to sway a large number of voters, in both urban and rural regions, to support the NDA.
With 48 seats at stake, Maharashtra has always been on the wish-list of national parties, after other big states such as Uttar Pradesh (80 seats), Andhra Pradesh (42) and Bihar (40).
State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis sees strong hope in the Modi factor.
“Contrary to previous assumptions, we have, off-late, been experiencing that Narendra Modi will gain us a mandate in rural areas as well. Modi’s is a universal phenomenon now.”
Political commentator Pratap Asbe shared Fadnavis’ views but did not foresee that Modi’s impact would be so far-reaching. Asbe does not expect any major change in the neighbouring Thane district, which has four Lok Sabha seats.
“With its Gujarati and Marathi domination, Mumbai will surely see a better voter turn-out. I see a strong possibility of more Marathi voters favouring the Sena-BJP,” said Asbe.
Presently, Mumbai does not have a single BJP-Sena MP. Asbe had, in the past, thought of Modi as a savior, who could bring the Thackeray cousins together and win at least four out of six seats in Mumbai.
He also saw the BJP-Sena gaining in North Maharashtra and Vidarbha, which are BJP strongholds.
With a few exceptions, the Congress has traditionally commanded votes in Maharashtra, even after its offspring, the Nationalist Congress Party, came into being in 1999 and later became its ally in the state and at the Centre.
Currently, Congress tops with 17 seats and its partner Nationalist Congress Party has 8 seats. The BJP (9) and Shiv Sena (11) together have 20 of 48 seats.
Smaller parties have three seats.