The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the largest party in the state by winning 122 out of 288 seats and is all set to form the next government in Maharashtra. The party that contested all seats with its smaller allies after it breaking its 25-year old alliance with Shiv Sena fell short of 25 seats to win simple majority of its own. It now has an option to reunite with Sena that won 63 seats or get support of Sharad Pawar led NCP that won 41 seats. Attributing its historic victory to charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah announced that the party will form government in Maharashtra.
Here are five takeaways from Maharashtra verdict:
1. BJP is the biggest gainer; Shiv Sena the biggest loser: They parted ways barely days before polling and may get together again to form the government. The debate about the lead partner — “big brother” status as it is often referred to — is, however, clearly settled now.
2. Verdict vindicates Narendra Modi’s appeal; going it alone not so bad after all: After largely staying away from campaigning for by-elections, where the BJP got a not-so-stellar performance, the Prime Minister addressed 27 rallies in Maharashtra ahead of polling.
3. Big boost for Amit Shah, his game plan pays off: The BJP president, for long Modi’s key backroom player, is coming into his own. The outcome in Maharashtra and Haryana overshadows by-election losses in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
4. Congress slide: Party loses control of India’s financial capital Mumbai, faces further marginalisation with no state under control across north, west, east and central India. Saving grace: Party may have lost half of the seats it won in Maharashtra in 2009, but it has cut losses in more than two-thirds of the constituencies where it trailed in April-May Lok Sabha elections.
5. Silver lining for Shiv Sena: It can claim to be the rightful inheritor of the Bal Thackeray legacy as Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has been rendered irrelevant.