MUMBAI: The BJP’s dismal performance in the Shiv Sena-dominated Thane and Konkan regions kept it from gaining the majority mark of 144 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections, falling short of 22 seats.
The BJP could not perform as per expectations in these regions. It was hoping to win at least 9 out of 19 seats in Konkan and 14 out of 14 seats in Thane. In fact, it could win only one in Konkan and 10 in Thane. Loss of 12 seats in these regions proved them costly.
The BJP performed spectacularly in Vidarbha, winning 43 out of 62 seats. It came first in the NCP bastion of western Maharashtra with a tally of 24. However, the Congress snatched its two seats in north Maharashtra and the MIM resulted in its defeat in another two seats in Aurangabad. In all, the BJP lost 16 crucial seats when it needed them the most.
A BJP leader said if it had won 16 seats, it would not have needed support of any party. “Our tally would have ended at 138 if we had won these seats. We could have reached the majority mark of 144 with the help of some independents,” he said.
The BJP and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have emerged as the biggest beneficiaries of their break up with their allies the Shiv Sena and Congress respectively. BJP president Amit Shah acknowledged that the party has won more seats than what it had in 2009 (119) as a result of the break up.
Interestingly, Shiv Sena too has gained from the break up, winning 63 seats, an increase of 19 seats from the 2009 polls. Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said the party was happy with its performance.
While the Congress lost 40 seats, the NCP lost 21, comparing to the last election. NCP’s loss is not as big as that of the Congress, in view of the exit polls’ prediction that it would not get more than 30 seats. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged that his party had to suffer the loss because of the Congress’ “inefficient” Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. Malik too lost to Shiv Sena’s Tukaram Kate in Trombay.
Keshav Sathaye, Director of School of Media Activity, Research and Technology, maintained that the Shiv Sena could not have performed the way it has if it continued its alliance with the BJP. “They both were leading in 232 Assembly segments after the Lok Sabha election. The NCP successfully bought down their lead and maintained its prestige. It was Sharad Pawar’s master stroke,” he said.
The election results show that people have strongly voted against the anti-incumbency. At least 14 ministers in the last Congress-NCP Government lost their seats. Even two former ministers, Baban Pachpute and Sanjay Deotale, who had switched over to the BJP from the NCP and Congress respectively before the polls, lost the election in their respective constituencies, Shrigonda and Warora.
Congress leader Mahadev Shelar admitted that there was a strong anti-incumbency factor in the state. “We will introspect on what went wrong,” he said. State Congress president Manikrao Thakre has already tendered his resignation after the defeat. “Imported” candidates also played a major role in the BJP’s victory. The party had imported 50 candidates from other parties, of whom 22 have won. The Shiv Sena’s 14 imported candidates have also won the election.
The outcome of the polls has put a question mark on the relevance of the Raj Thackeray-led MNS, which suffered a loss of 12 seats. The only seat it could retain is the one in Junnar, Pune. All of its sitting MLAs, five in Mumbai and three in Nashik, lost the election.
In Mumbai, the BJP became the number one party by winning 15 out of 36 seats. “The result shows to whom Mumbai belongs to,” said Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar in a taunt to the Shiv Sena.