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Maharashtra tangle: Who stands where, what next for the key forces

Results of the assembly polls indicate that the Modi factor is still paying dividends to the BJP, which emerged as the largest party in Maharashtra, winning 122 of the 288 seats. It is all set to form the next government in the state.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2014 00:07 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad

Results of the assembly elections indicate that the Narendra Modi factor is still paying dividends to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The BJP emerged as the largest party in Maharashtra, winning 122 of the 288 seats and is all set to form the next government in Maharashtra.

The BJP and its smaller allies contested all seats - after the saffron party broke its 25-year-old alliance with Shiv Sena. The BJP fell short of just 23 seats to win simple majority on its own.

It now has an option to reunite with the Sena that won 63 seats or accept support from the Sharad Pawar-led NCP that won 41 seats.

Attributing its historic victory to the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah announced after the results that the party will form the government in Maharashtra.

Read: BJP to form govt in Haryana, short of majority in Maharashtra

Though it fell short of the magic number of 145, what the BJP achieved was significant. For the first time in 24 years, a single party has won more than 100 seats. In 1990, the Congress had won 141 seats.

Significantly, it is for the first time in the state's history that a non-Congress party has won more than 100 seats. Further, before 2014, the BJP's best performance ever was 69 in 1995 elections when it came to power in alliance with the Sena.

In 2009 elections, it had won 46 seats. Now, the BJP has replaced the Congress as the main party in the politically crucial state.

The BJP played a gamble by walking out of an alliance with the Sena when the latter refused to concede more seats for the BJP.

On the other hand, the Sena had to remain content with 63 seats, 18 more than what it had in the outgoing assembly. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party had targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP during the campaign, invoking the Maharashtra versus Gujarat tussle. But, it was not enough to stop Maharashtrians from voting for the BJP.

The party won 15 out of 36 assembly seats in Mumbai and swept all six assembly seats in Pune and other seats. It topped the list in all regions except Konkan. It won majority of the seats (44 out of 62) in the Vidarbha region.

The focus now shifts to forming the government. Since it is the single largest party, the BJP is likely to be invited by Governor C Vidyasagar Rao to form the government. It has an option to strike an alliance with Shiv Sena, which has but the ball in the former ally's court for a proposal.

Video: HT Explains | Short of majority, BJP's win in Maharashtra is still a game-changer

Together, they will have more than 180 seats and it could be a stable government. The BJP also has an option to accept outside support offered by the NCP that was quick to extend a helping hand without any pre-conditions.

"In the given situation no party other than BJP would be in position of forming the government… we thought it necessary to support the BJP for the stable government. With BJP government at the Centre, the government led by the same party in the state would help the state," said senior NCP leader Praful Patel.

In the evening, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray indicated that he was open for an alliance with the BJP.

"We will support a party that promises to keep Maharashtra united and develop the state," he said.

Asked if his bargaining position had weakened due to the NCP's offer to the BJP, he dared his former ally to go with the NCP. "After critising the NCP, if they want to forge alliance with them, they can do it."

The Congress turned out to be the worst loser. It was pushed to third position. It could win only 42 seats, down from 82 it won in 2009 - the party's worst-ever tally in history of Maharashtra.

Half of the Congress' cabinet including heavyweights such as Narayan Rane, Harshvardhan Patil and Nitin Raut lost. State Congress president Manikrao Thakre tendered his resignation by owning responsibility of the defeat.

"We are ready to sit in the opposition. We will not make any compromise on our ideology," said Thakre.

Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who managed to win his first assembly election from Karad South, could not save the party's debacle with his USP of clean image.

The NCP won 41 seats, but now faces the crisis if it is not part of the government. The party leadership fears that there could be defections. Little wonder, it offered unconditional support to the BJP.

The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) was decimated in the elections. Its tally came down to one from 13 in 2009 and faces the danger of becoming politically irrelevant in Maharashtra. It lost its all six seats in Mumbai.

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