Cong, NCP struggle for leads in Maha poll case

Published on May 27, 2019 01:10 AM IST
Each Lok Sabha constituency comprises six Assembly segments. There are 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.
If one goes by the 2019 Lok Sabha results data, the Congress and NCP had leads in only 54 Assembly constituencies, as against their existing strength of 83 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha.(AFP)
If one goes by the 2019 Lok Sabha results data, the Congress and NCP had leads in only 54 Assembly constituencies, as against their existing strength of 83 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha.(AFP)
Mumbai | By

If one goes by the 2019 Lok Sabha results data, the Congress and NCP had leads in only 54 Assembly constituencies, as against their existing strength of 83 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha.

Each Lok Sabha constituency comprises six Assembly segments. There are 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

With the state Assembly polls likely in September or October, the allies have less than four months to rebuild their morale to have a chance at wresting the state from the saffron parties. The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) that proved to be a spoilsport for the Congress and NCP in at least seven Lok Sabha seats could have an even more of a multiplier effect on the latter’s chances in the upcoming polls.

The data from the Election Commission of India (ECI) shows the alliance has faced a hit from the VBA, an outfit floated by Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, in another 50 Assembly constituencies. In these seats, votes polled by the alliance candidates along with that of the VBA candidates outnumber the votes polled by the winning candidates of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance.

The Congress and NCP have 42 and 41 MLAs respectively, while the BJP and Sena have 122 and 63 legislators.

The silver lining for the Congress-NCP alliance is that they have at least managed to retain their base among tribals and Muslims.

The allies have got leads mostly from Assembly constituencies dominated by this demographic. Their traditional Dalit vote, however, has been eroded by the VBA. For instance, Bhiwandi East and West, Mankhurd, Bandra East, Byculla, Mumbadevi, Malegoan, the constituencies dominated by Muslim voters, stood by the Opposition parties, although most of the Lok Sabha constituencies they represent were won by the BJP-Sena candidates.

Similarly, the Lok Sabha Scheduled Tribes (ST) seats did not go with Congress-NCP and their allies, but the Assembly segments with prominent tribal population went in their favour. For instance, in the Nandurbar Lok Sabha seat, which voted for Heena Gavit of the BJP, Congress’s KC Padvi got the lead in three Assembly constituencies of Akkalkuva, Nawapur and Sakri. The Nandurbar assembly segment, which has fewer tribal voters, however, went heavily in favour of Gavit.

Similarly, Vikramgad, Dahanu in Palghar and Dindori in Dindori LS constituency voted in favour of the Congress-NCP alliance. Congress could retain its Assembly segments in many districts owing to its traditional clout of big regional leaders. For instance, Congress’s state president Ashok Chavan got leads in Nanded South and Nanded North, the constituencies that have significant development work carried out by his family, besides Bhokar seat, represented by his wife Ameeta. Similarly, in Madha, NCP candidate Sanjay Shinde had leads in three Assembly segments, although he lost the battle by over 85,000 votes owing to deficits in three other segments. Shinde and other NCP leaders have huge influence in Madha in Western Maharashtra.

While none of the VBA candidates, barring Imtiaz Jaleel, could win a seat or even gain leads in any of the Assembly seats (barring Jaleel), they have dented Congress-NCP significantly.

In the Assembly constituencies of Sindkhedraja, Mehkar, Khamgaon (Buldhana), Balapur, Akola West (Akola), Brahmapuri, Chimur (Gadchiroli), Naigaon, Deglur (Nanded), Gangakhed, Jintur (Parbhani), the VBA candidates have polled more than 25,000 votes.

In an Assembly election, where the winning margins are less, this could well be the difference between the victor and the vanquished. Jaleel has a sizable margin in two Muslim-dominated Assembly segments in Aurangabad. The VBA has indicated that it plans to contest all 288 seats in the upcoming election.

Political analyst Hemant Desai, however, said the VBA would not be as effective in the Assembly elections. “It is true that it damaged Congress-NCP alliance to a large extent, but its magic will subside in the Assembly polls.

“The voters will by then realise that the VBA has neither done anything firm for the downtrodden nor introduced any programme for their upliftment. But at the same time, VBA would not join hands with the Congress-NCP alliance and remain in the fray as in the LS polls. It will make it difficult for the alliance to defeat the ruling combine,” he said.

Laxman Mane, VBA leader, said, “I don’t think Congress-NCP candidates were defeated because of us. Shiv Sena’s sitting MP Chandrakant Khaire was defeated by VBA candidate Imtiyaz Jaleel. We are ready to speak to them for Assembly elections, but we should be treated with due respect and at par with their top leadership.”

Congress and NCP together suffered the loss of one seat as compared to the last election and also saw a reduction in their vote share. Congress polled 16.27% votes in 2019 against 18.3% in 2014, while NCP polled 15.52% votes against 16.1% in 2014.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Surendra P Gangan is Senior Assistant Editor with political bureau of Hindustan Times’ Mumbai Edition. He covers state politics and Maharashtra government’s administrative stories. Reports on the developments in finances, agriculture, social sectors among others.

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