MUMBAI: The smaller parties in Maharashtra politics, like the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS), Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), Peasants’ and Workers’ Party (PWP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), All India Majlis Ittehadul Musalmeen (MIM) and Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPIM) hold a combined share of 22% votes even as the PWP and the BSP appear to be on decline in the state politics.
In 2014, all others except the big four in Maharashtra politics, the BJP, Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress, had got a vote share of mere 15%. The vote share has gone up to 22 now. However, compared to 2009, when it was 28%, the share of smaller parties and independent candidates is still low. The increase in vote share of smaller parties has hit all the major parties alike.
The BJP still is the largest vote-getter with a share of 27.6%. The Shiv Sena too has 23.3% of votes. The third-largest group of vote-getters is that of the small parties and other two big parties have managed with lesser share of electorate pie compared to the combined vote share of smaller parties.
Adv Prakash Ambedkar’s VBA, that had managed to bag 42 lakh votes during Lok Sabha election a few months back, bagged as much as 4.6 per cent votes in the assembly election, though it couldn’t manage to get any of its candidate elected. The MIM’s efforts appear more focused. They managed to get their one candidate elected in Lok Sabha and kept their share of two in the assembly though they lost both their sitting seats. Their vote share remained around 1.6 per cent.
Though the VBA couldn’t get any seat, the party appears to be trying to set a different narrative in the electoral politics, which is dominated by dynasties. The youth from marginalized communities are getting attracted more to the VBA. If the party continues with its efforts to organize the masses, it can make a difference next election.
Raj Thackeray’s MNS has bagged 2.25 per cent votes while getting one success out of 104 candidates. The party has also managed to be on number two position in constituencies like Thane and Kothrud (Pune). But, their voters appear to be the disgruntled electorate from the BJP-Sena flock.
The PWP is one of the original opposition parties in the state that have switched sides to align with the Congress in the course of time. The party was confined only to Raigad district of late. But, this time it was uprooted even from Raigad. However, it got a surprise victory in Loha constituency of Nanded district where former IAS officer Shyamsundar Shinde won the election. Shinde was hopeful for BJP ticket, but when he couldn’t secure that he settled for PWP. That is the only connect he has with the PWP.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) which represent the Muslim face in Maharashtra politics before advent of MIM could manage to win two seats in spite of fetching 0.22 per cent votes, while Mayawati’s BSP that used to fetch 3-4 per cent votes could get only 0.92 per cent votes. The party had never been successful in Maharashtra yet, it was a major vote catcher. However, even that power of the party appears to be fading.
The CPM has managed to win Dahanu seat, however, its veteran J P Gavit lost from Nashik district. The party fetched 0.37 per cent votes.