Maharashtra Election Result 2019: People rejected turncoats and BJP’s policies, says Sharad Pawar
NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s comments came as trends suggested that the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine was falling well short of its target of winning 220 assembly seats in Maharashtra.
The NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday took a jibe at the ruling BJP’s strategy of poaching several opposition leaders ahead of the assembly polls and said people have sent a message they did not like the “arrogance of power”.
Sharad Pawar’s comments came as trends suggested that the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine was falling well short of its target of winning 220 assembly seats in Maharashtra.
The assembly poll results are proving to be a dampener to the ruling BJP despite the clear indication that the saffron combine is slated for a second stint in power.
The current leads show the BJP as leading in just 101 seats, 21 seats less than its tally in 2014 polls.
The BJP’s top leadership was counting on winning 135+ seats or as close to the 145-seat majority mark in the 288-member state assembly. The BJP’s top leadership had given a call for ‘Ab Ki Baar 220 Paar’ for the combine, which can now be ruled out.
The ruling party had contested 164 seats in this election in an alliance with the Sena, which contested 126 seats—in two seats the allies had a friendly contest.
“You need to be humble and sensible after coming to power. Misuse of power by making a personal attack on the opposition leaders was rejected by the people,” Pawar said while talking to reporters as results of the state assembly elections trickled in.
Pawar, the Maratha strongman who will turn 80 soon, also said that the people have rejected turncoats.
The Nationalist Congress Party chief was pointing to the BJP’s engineered defections on several political heavyweights from the opposition as part of its strategy to increase its tally. But, several of these turncoats failed to win.
The biggest upset could be seen in western Maharastra’s Satara, where by-polls to the Lok Sabha were held after Udayanraje Bhosale had quit from his Parliament membership barely four months after he was elected as an NCP lawmaker.
After his resignation, he joined the BJP and contested by-polls as the ruling party’s candidate. Udayanraje Bhosale, who is Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji descendant, was trailing by over 10,000 votes against nearest NCP nominee Shrinivas Patil Bhosale.
Similarly, former NCP MLAs Vaibhav Pichad, Dilip Sopal, Jaydutt Kshirsagar; former Congress leaders like Harshawardhan Patil and MLA Nirmala Gavit are all trailing and likely to lose the polls.
The BJP also could not make the necessary gains in NCP-Congress bastion of western Maharashtra that votes in 70 legislators to the 288-member state assembly. The opposition has so far managed to retain more than half of its home turf. It is currently leading on 41 seats in the region.
“Leaving a few exceptions aside, most of the leaders who shifted to the ruling parties failed to mark victory in the polls. It also means people rejected the leaders who shifted their loyalties only to be a part of the government,” the former Union minister said.
Photographs and videos of Sharad Pawar addressing an election rally in Satara amid heavy rains were widely shared on social media platforms.
As he drew applause and cheers from the audience, Pawar also admitted that he had erred while selecting Udayanraje Bhonsale as his party’s candidate in Satara for the Lok Sabha election held earlier this year.
“When someone makes a mistake, it is expected that he will admit the same as well. I am here to admit that I made a mistake during the recently held Lok Sabha elections and I am sure each and every person of Satara is waiting to rectify that mistake on October 21,” he had said.
He also ruled out any possibility of an alliance with the Shiv Sena to form a non-BJP government and said the opposition parties will jointly decide and declare their future plans.
“People have ordered us to sit in the opposition and we respect that. We have decided not to take any decision on our own. Soon, we will have a joint meeting of all the opposition parties to discuss the future line of action. We will continue to struggle to make our organisation stronger,” Pawar said ruling out any possibility of an alliance.
Sharad Pawar also seemed to defend the leadership of his party’s ally Congress for holding only a few rallies in the election campaign in Maharashtra.
“I am also heading a national party and I didn’t go to Haryana even for a day for campaigning. I am also of the view that the leaders should go the places where their presence makes some difference,” Pawar said.
“In fact, Congress workers took a lot of hardship along with the workers of other parties that are part of the opposition alliance. I am grateful to all of them and the people for supporting us,” he added.
The NCP contested the Maharashtra assembly polls in alliance with the Congress. The NCP fought on 117 seats and the Congress on 146, leaving the rest for smaller parties, including the Samajwadi Party, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana of Raju Shetti and the Communist Party of India (CPI).