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Maharashtra elections: BJP gung-ho, Shiv Sena optimistic, Congress and NCP hope for power again

The Assembly polls on October 15 witnessed a multi-cornered fight as Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena contested alone.

Priyanka Rathi |

Updated:October 18, 2014, 8:56 PM IST
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Maharashtra elections: BJP gung-ho, Shiv Sena optimistic, Congress and NCP hope for power again
The Assembly polls on October 15 witnessed a multi-cornered fight as Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena contested alone.

New Delhi: With the Bharatiya Janata Party riding high on the Narendra Modi wave, the party is hopeful of repeating its superlative performance in the Lok Sabha polls in the Maharashtra Assembly elections. With counting of votes beginning at 8 am on October 19, the party is confident of sweeping the state. Even exit polls are favouring the BJP despite it going alone after breaking the 25-year-old alliance with the Shiv Sena.

The Assembly polls on October 15 witnessed a multi-cornered fight as Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena contested alone. The BJP was in alliance with a few minor parties. Nearly 64 per cent of 8.35 crore voters or 5.42 crore people exercised their franchise to elect the 288-member Assembly.

According to the exit polls by several agencies, the BJP is way ahead of its rivals and likely to form the government in the state on its own. The party which contested elections along with the Shiv Sena in 2009 got 46 out of 288 seats. This time, the BJP is likely to cross the magic figure of 144 on its own.

The Sena managed to get only 44 seats in 2009 and the exit polls result does not seem to fulfil the party's chief ministerial ambitions.

The Sena and BJP broke their 25-year-old alliance as both the parties were adamant on the number of seats they wanted to contest on. While the Sena struck to the demand of at least 150 seats, the BJP wanted 130 for itself.

As the BJP did not project any chief ministerial candidate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the campaign and addressed over 20 rallies in the state. He, however, refrained from attacking the Shiv Sena but did not leave any chance to hit out at the Congress and the NCP.

The Sena was led by party chief Uddhav Thackeray and did not miss a chance to accuse the BJP of breaking the alliance.

The fate of the 15-year-old alliance of Congress and NCP also rested on that of Sena-BJP's. A day after Sena and BJP parted ways, the Congress-NCP alliance also fell apart. With the NCP pulling out, the state government was reduced to minority and President's Rule was imposed.

The Congress which won 82 seats in 2009 is likely to face a massive drubbing.

The party's campaign was led by former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and only four rallies were addressed by party President Sonia Gandhi and six by party's Vice President Rahul Gandhi. Lack of star campaigners and the ongoing Modi wave seemed to taken away seats from the Congress.

The NCP which broke the alliance with the Congress hoping that the plan would be fruitful is likely to secure the fourth position. The campaign was led by NCP chief Sharad Pawar projecting Ajit Pawar as the chief ministerial candidate.

The Congress is banking on development and Prithviraj Chavan's 'clean image' while the Shiv Sena is projecting itself as one with a "real identity" of Maharashtra. The BJP is promising change and a corruption-free government.

In case no party gets clear majority, then it would be interesting to see who goes with whom. The BJP has already given hints that it may once again go with the Shiv Sena. It is also to be seen if like Lok Sabha polls, regional parties can stand in the political arena or be wiped out.

Key candidates:

Congress

Prithviraj Chavan: South Karad
Praniti Shinde: Solapur City Central
Narayan Rane: Kudal
Nitesh Rane: Kankavali

Nationalist Congress Party

Ajit Pawar: Baramati
Chhagan Bhujbal: Yeola

Bharatiya Janata Party

Pankaja Munde: Parli
Devendra Fadnavis: Nagpur South West

Shiv Sena

Subhash Desai: Goregaon

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena

Bala Nandgaonkar: Sewri

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