BJP-Shiv Sena emerge supreme in Maharashtra



The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance was Friday poised to bag around 42 of Maharashtra's 48 Lok Sabha seats, giving an unprecedented jolt to the state's ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance.

While the Congress was relegated to just two wins in the evening, the NCP managed four wins, with one still awaiting the final tally as counting continued.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena tally includes the country's commercial capital where the Congress-NCP alliance has been wiped out. In 2009, it held all the six seats in Mumbai.

Some of its big winning names include former party chief Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur and deputy opposition leader in outgoing Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde from Beed.

The Congress-NCP rout has been virtually replicated in all the regions of the state where the BJP-SS alliance has crushed union ministers, state ministers, film stars and veteran politicians.

In Mumbai North-Central and Nandurbar, political greenhorns and youthful candidates like Poonam Mahajan and Heena Gavit have come out as giant-killers of Priya Dutt and Manikrao Gavit respectively.

The prominent ministers from the Congress-NCP who lost include Praful Patel (NCP -Bhandara-Gondiya), Sushilkumar Shinde (Congress - Solapur), Manikrao Gavit (Congress -Nandurbar), Milind Deora (Congress - Mumbai South), and Pratik Patil (Congress - Sangli).

Maharashtra ministers who lost include Public Works and Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP - Nashik), Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare (NCP - Raigad), Social Justice Minister Shivajirao Moghe (Congress - Yavatmal-Washim), Environment and Cultural Affairs Minister Sanjay Deotale (Congress -Chandrapur) and Minister of State for Relief and Reabilitation Suresh Dhas (NCP - Beed).

Other parties like the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which fought 10 seats, the Aam Aadmi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party which contested all the seats have notched a zero, and in many cases their candidates may forfeit their election deposits.

This makes it the Congress-NCP's worst-ever joint performance after it put up a winning show in 2009 (25 seats total) and 2004 (22 seats total) in Maharashtra where it has been ruling the state uninterrupted since 1999.

It is also the second time that the BJP-SS has swept Mumbai since 1996, followed by the Congress-NCP in 2009.

The results have led to a clamour within and outside the Congress for fixing responsibility for the total rout, both at the party and government levels.

Taking a cue from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi who have already owned up responsibility at the national level, at least two senior ministers - Narayan Rane and Nitin Raut - have tendered their resignations. Some others may follow suit.

Coming barely five months before the assembly elections, the drubbing is viewed as a major setback for the ruling Congress-NCP government here grappling with an image crisis and various internal and external problems.

The outcome decisively proved that the people of the state have rejected the aggressive brand of MNS chief Raj Thackeray's politics.

In contrast, the soft-spoken and mild-mannered Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray led the party to its best ever performance - bagging 19 out of 21 seats it contested - a major morale-booster for him after the death of the charismatic party supremo Bal Thackeray two years ago.

Mayawati's BSP failed to open an account in the state for the third consecutive time since 2004.

The AAP - which was widely expected to make inroads in the state where the anti-corruption movement was born along with Anna Hazare's social movement three years ago - was discarded.

Prominent AAP leaders like Mayank Gandhi, Anjali Damania, Vijay Pandhare and Marathi actor Nanu Madhav were blown away.

Even the Samajwadi Party, which was hoping to bag a couple of seats, has been wiped out in the state.

Now, the saffron six-party 'Grand Alliance' is planning to capture the Maharashtra assembly and "achieve the dream of the late Bal Thackeray", as put by his son Uddhav recently.- IANS