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Maharashtra election match ends in a draw, BJP's best option going with Shiv Sena

The Congress and NCP have not lost badly, giving some hope for the followers of both the parties.

D P Satish | dp_satish

Updated:October 19, 2014, 2:32 PM IST
Maharashtra election match ends in a draw, BJP's best option going with Shiv Sena
The Congress and NCP have not lost badly, giving some hope for the followers of both the parties.

Mumbai: There are no clear winners in the Maharashtra Assembly election. It is a classic case of 'winner comes second'. The Congress-NCP and the BJP-Shiv Sena alliances collapsed just three weeks before voting and all went to the battle on their own in a hurry.

Certainly, the BJP has many reasons to feel happy about its performance. The party has crossed the 100-seat mark and emerged as the single largest party and the chief minister's chair is within its reach. The Shiv Sena led by Udhav Thackeray which decisively took on the BJP has come second with 60 plus seats.

The bigger surprise is the not so bad performance of the Congress and the NCP. The BJP which was expected to win more seats or to achieve even a simple majority on its own has fallen short by almost 30 seats. The Shiv Sena which lost the race to the BJP has come second and is now in the position to decide which alliance rules the state or who will be the next chief minister.

The Congress and NCP have not lost badly, giving some hope for the followers of both the parties.

But Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray is the biggest loser. His party has managed to win just three seats.

The big gainer is the new entrant - Hyderabad based MIM of Asauddin Owaisi. It has done well in the Marathwada region, earlier a part of the Nizam's state of Hyderabad.

The BJP whose campaign was led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has established itself as the main leader across all regions of the state. According to Maharashtra BJP President Devendra Fadnavis, the lack of time to prepare the party for a big fight in all 288 seats has resulted in the hung assembly. But, the BJP has done fairly well in the constituencies where it never contested earlier.

The Shiv Sena has managed to retain its base in the state and has ensured that its chief Udhav Thackeray remains relevant and powerful in state affairs.

Sharad Pawar led NCP, which broke away from the Congress led alliance may not be able to continue in power even though it is willing to back the BJP led government in the state.

For the BJP, forming the government with the support of the NCP is much easier than going to back to the old ally Shiv Sena. For his offer of support, Pawar may not put impossible conditions or demands as he knows that it is a great opportunity for him to stay relevant in both state and at the Centre.

However, the BJP can't take the support of the NCP because of the serious allegations of corruption it is facing. The BJP made it a big election issue and even Modi attacked Sharad Pawar for encouraging corruption and family politics. Only if the BJP is ready to be called as a party with only situational ethics can go with the NCP.

According insiders in both the BJP and the Shiv Sena, backchannel talks between them have already begun. Union Minister of Power Piyush Goel, who also hails from Maharashtra, said that Shiv Sena was their natural ally and they would like to go with them.

Shiv Sena is still a partner of the BJP in New Delhi and it makes it easier for both to shake the hands in Mumbai once again. There are even talks of both of them sharing the post of chief minister on a rotational basis in the next five years. The BJP may even offer some better portfolios to the Shiv Sena at the Centre in return for its support to them at the state.

Since the BJP has won double the seats of Shiv Sena, it may not offer the post of chief minister to Sena chief Udhav Thackeray even for half the term. In the worse case scenario, the BJP can always play the NCP card to keep Shiv Sena under check.

If the BJP and Shiv Sena come together once again, the NCP will have to sit in the opposition. For the Congress, it is going to be a political wilderness for the next five years. The Congress has done reasonably well. It has come second in many seats and lost some of them by a small margin.

Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has managed to win from Karad South in a tough battle. Others with strong family ties like former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's son Amit Deshmukh, MP and former chief minister Ashok Chavan's wife Ameeta Chavan and a few others have retained their family bastions.

Controversial Congress leader Narayan Rane has lost from his stronghold Kudal in Konkan region of the state. Alarm bells rang for him when his son lost the recent Lok Sabha election.

His family's highhandedness is said to be the main reason for the defeat of the Rane clan.

A cursory look at the winning and losing margins of BJP and Shiv Sena candidates prove that if they had contested together they would have easily swept the polls across the state.

The Congress-NCP alliance would have improved its position, if not enabling them to retain power in the state. With no big local leader, the BJP has managed to emerge as the single largest party with the help of 'mini-Modi' wave in the state. But, it has failed to take the party to the halfway mark of 145 seats.

The big battle for Maharashtra has now ended in a draw with no clear winners and the bad losers.

The leader BJP is likely to forge an alliance to form the government before Deepavali.

Big Winners:

Prithviraj Chavan - Karad South - Congress
Devendra Fadnavis - Nagpur South West - BJP
Eknath Kadse - Muktainagar - BJP
Ajit Pawar - Baramati - NCP
Chhagal Bhujbal - Yeola - NCP
Pankaja Munde - Parli - BJP
Ameeta Chavan - Bhokar - Congress
Amit Deshmukh - Latur City - Congress

Big losers:

Narayan Rane - Kudal - Congress
Rajendra Darda - Aurangabad East - Congress
Suresh Shetty - Andheri East - Congress

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