MAHARASHTRA on Thursday looked set to have a BJP-Shiv Sena alliance Government for another five years, even as results of the Assembly polls threw up what a former CM called an “interesting possibility” of the Sena, NCP and Congress aligning to upset the BJP’s applecart. As per the final results on Thursday, the BJP won 105 seats in the 288- member Assembly. The Shiv Sena won 56, the NCP 54, while the Congress won 44. In the 2014 polls, the BJP had won 122 seats, the Sena 63, the Congress 42 and the NCP 41. The BJP and Sena had then contested separately. The Sena joined the BJP-led Government over a month after it was formed.
The BJP-Shiv Senaalliance fared well in the Marathwada region where Sena won 13 seats as compared to 11 in 2014. The BJP also improved its tally from 14 five years ago to 16 this time. Former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the results have thrown up an “interesting possibility”, but stopped short of indicating if the Congress and NCP will align with the Sena - which he termed as the ‘lesser evil’ (compared to BJP) - to form the next Government in Maharashtra. In terms of the increase in number of seats compared to the 2014 polls, the Sharad Pawar-led NCP emerged as the largest gainer, while the BJP’s tally took a considerable dip. This, however, did not dampen the enthusiam of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who announced that the BJPSenacombinewillrulethestateforanother term. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, looking elatedafterthe triumphantmaiden electoral foray of his son Aaditya, remindedtheBJPofpromisesnotfulfilled. Asked by reporters which party will get the Chief Minister’s post, Thackeray said, “It is time to remind theBJP aboutthe formula arrived at when BJP chief Amit Shah visited my home....We had decided on a fifty-fifty formula for the alliance.”
“We agreed to contest fewer seats (than the BJP), but I cannot accommodate the BJP every time.Ishould allow my party to grow,” Thackeray said. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said despite the BJP ending up winning fewer seats in 2019 compared to the 2014 Assembly polls, its “strike rate” is better this time. He thanked the people of Maharashtra for giving a “clear and decisive mandate” to the BJP-led Mahayuti (grand alliance), adding his party and the Sena will go by whatwas“pre-decided” betweenthemon sharing of power. Fadnavis said the BJP contested 260 seats in 2014 and won 122. “This time, we contested 150 seats and our allies 14 and aspertrends, we arelikely to win105seats. Our strike rate was 47 per cent in 2014, now it is 70 per cent,” he said.
HesaidtheBJPsecured28percentvotes in2014andpolledaround26percentvotes across 164 seats this time. NCP’s Shriniwas Patil, ex-bureaucrat and former Governor of Sikkim, became a‘giantkiller’afterhetrouncedUdayanraje Bhosale in the Satara Lok Sabha by-poll, which was also held on October 21 along with the State Assembly polls. Bhosale had quit the NCP and joined theBJPaheadoftheby-poll.PrimeMinister Narendra Modihadaddresseda poll campaign rally at Satara. ProminentwinnersintheAssemblyelections include Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, and Leader of Opposition in LegislativeCouncilDhananjayMundewho trounced estranged cousin and BJP Minister Pankaja Munde in a keenly-contested poll battle. Fiveotherministers intheFadnavis-led Governmentwerealsotrailingaspertrends available so far.
Former Chief Ministers Ashok Chavan and PrithvirajChavanand formerDeputy ChiefMinisterAjitPawarwereotherprominent winners. Among the turncoats, 11 of those who joined Shiv Sena and eightwho joined the BJPontheeveoftheelections,weredefeated.Reactingtothe trendsandresults, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the message was that people did not like “the arrogance of power”. The people, however, have asked his partytoremaininOpposition,Pawar said, adding that it will not try to form the next government in Maharashtra. “People have not accepted the talk of 220 seats (out of 288). The NCP accepts people’s mandate humbly... The election result shows people did not like the arrogance of power,” Pawar said.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said his party and the BJP will form the next governmentinMaharashtra,andstressedthe two parties will stick to the pre-decided “50-50” sharing formula. RautruledoutpossibilityoftheShivSena joininghandswiththeOppositionparties to form the new government. Asked about the possibility of the Shiv Sena embracing the NCP andCongress to form Government, Raut said, “No, we fought the polls in alliance with the BJP.
We will go ahead with the tie-up.” Counting of votes for Maharashtra Assembly polls and Satara Lok Sabha bypoll began at 8 am at 269 locations in the State, poll officials said. Exit Polls had predicted a comfortable win for the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government in the State. The polling held on Monday saw a voter turnout of 61.13 per cent, a dip from the 63.20 per cent recorded in 2014, the official said.