MUMBAI: The ruling BJP on Monday will look to improve its tally in the Maharashtra and Haryana elections on Monday as the opposition parties are in a backfoot due to infighting and a leadership crisis apart from the saffron party’s welfare work in the last five years.
In fact, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has set a target of winning 75 seats out of the total 90 for the BJP in Haryana. His Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis will also be hoping to better the BJP’s tally of 122 seats in 2014. In the previous Mahar elections, the BJP’s ally Shiv Sena had got 63 seats. On the other hand, the Congress had bagged 42 seats and its ally NCP cornered 41. The results will be out on October 24.
Though a strong opposition is missing in Maharashtra, dissidents, a battle of supremacy within the saffron alliance and many political careers at stake have made the election interesting for all stakeholders.
One interesting seat to watch out for is Parli where late BJP leader Gopinath Munde’s daughter Pankaja, a state minister, is facing her nephew Dhananjay, who is Leader of Opposition in Council. Former chief minister and Congressman Vilasrao Deshmukh’s sons Amit and Dhiraj are contesting from Latur City and Latur Rural, respectively.
In Tuljaur, NCP MLA Ranajagjitsinh Patil — a relative of NCP founder Sharad Pawar — is trying his luck. Similarly, former chief minister Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar’s son Ashok (Congress) will lock horns with his grandson Sambaji (BJP) in Nilanga. Veteran NCP leader and former minister Anil Deshmukh is seeking relection in Katol.
In Haryana, the Congress is hoping to put up a fight following a change in its leadership. The Dushyant Chautala-led Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), a breakaway faction of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), is also hoping for an improvement in its prospects following the Lok Sabha debacle. The party had emerged on the scene following a feud in the Chautala clan in December last year.
The BSP, the AAP, the INLD-SAD combine, Swaraj India and the Loktantra Suraksha Party have thrown their hat into the ring, though none of them is fighting on all 90 seats in Haryana. Prominent amongst those in the contest are Chief Minister Khattar (Karnal), former chief minister and CLP leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Garhi Sampla-Kiloi), Randeep Singh Surjewala (Kaithal), Kiran Choudhary (Tosham). With agency reports from Chandigarh.