Keeping with all India trends, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance’s electoral juggernaut was unstoppable in Maharashtra on counting day. The saffron partners were on way to improving their tally in the Parliament with 43 seats as against 42 in 2014, though keen contests were on in a few constituencies of Vidarbha and Konkan.
The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance, struggling to maintain their 2014 tally of two and four seats respectively, stood thoroughly demolished. The NCP was leading in its strongholds of Baramati and Satara, while looking good to wrest Shirur, all in western Maharashtra, besides Raigad in Konkan. The lone lead for the Congress was in Vidarbha’s Chandrapur constituency.
It can be said that Maharashtra has gone near total saffron considering two of the NCP’s likely winners are identified with Shivaji – Udayanraje Bhonsle in Satara is a direct descendant while actor Amol Kolhe in Shirur owes his popularity to his television roles as the Maratha warrior king and his son Sambhaji.
The surprise could be former NDTV journalist Imtiaz Jaleel of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) who recorded early leads over his Sena rival Chandrakant Khaire in Aurangabad. However, the Telangana-based party’s home partner, Prakash Ambedkar, was trailing in both Solapur and Akola.
Otherwise it was, as Sena leader Sanjay Raut described it, “Moditva everywhere” across Maharashtra. BJP’s Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Subhash Bhamre were leading in Nagpur and Dhule respectively, but Hansraj Ahir was trailing against his rival, Suresh Dhanorkar of Congress, in Chandrapur.
The biggest upsets could be Congress’s former chief ministers Ashok Chavan in Nanded and Sushilkumar Shinde in Solapur, besides Parth Pawar, son of former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, in Maval.
In Mumbai, it was a complete rout for the Congress with Milind Deora, Priya Dutt and Urmila Matondkar trailing with large difference of votes against their saffron rivals.
Apparently, the anti-Modi/Shah campaign by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s Raj Thackeray did little to help the Cong-NCP candidates in Mumbai or rest of Maharashtra. But Ambedkar-Owaisi’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi seemed to be playing a spoilsport in crucial contests in Solapur, Sangli and Madha, besides other seats.
The counting of votes was on at a steady pace with no untoward incidents or impediments reported from any parts of the state.
The confirmed trends and some results were likely to be out by evening, when it was expected to have a clearer picture of the electoral outcomes.