New Delhi: After month-long negotiations and the political manoeuvering that unfolded over the past few days, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is set to become the chief minister of Maharashtra in a government led by his party in alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The Sena, which contested the state Assembly elections in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against the Congress-NCP combine, had severed its ties with the BJP after results due to differences over power-sharing between them.
Following this, in an interesting turn of events, Thackeray chalked out an understanding with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and Congress president Sonia Gandhi — against whom Sena had contested the polls — to outsmart the BJP in a dramatic battle for power in the country's richest state.
Interestingly, a look at the Maharashtra election results show that the Sena, which emerged as the second largest party with 56 assembly seats, was in a direct contest with the Congress and the NCP in at least 54 constituencies. Among these, while the Sena was up against the Congress in 25 constituencies, it beat the NCP in 29 seats. Although the Congress-NCP alliance did not necessarily end up in second spot where the Sena won.
On the other hand, of the total 44 seats it secured, the Congress won 24 seats against the Sena. Similarly, 28 of the 54 assembly seats won by the NCP were those where it contested against the Sena.
Overall, of the total 126 seats the Sena contested on with its ally, the party was in direct contest with the Congress or the NCP in as many as 113 seats.
During the state elections held in October, the ruling BJP had emerged as the single-largest party with 105 assembly seats in a 288-seat strong house whereas its pre-poll alliance partner Shiv Sena stood second with 56 seats. NCP and the Congress, on the other hand, secured 56 and 44 seats, respectively.