Now, it is Prithviraj's turn to feel poll debacle heat

Now, it is Prithviraj's turn  to feel poll debacle heat

After the resignation of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the offer to quit from his Assam counterpart Tarun Gogoi belonging to his own Congress party, Maharashra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is under pressure to put in his papers in the wake of drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls.

Facing the heat amid demand to quit following Congress’ worst performance in the Lok Sabha elections, Chavan is right now in Delhi explaining the debacle to the party high command. The  resignations from two of his ministers, including the powerful Narayan Rane has brought further pressure on Chavan to quit.

The pressure may grow in the days to come as the state heads for Assembly polls in October. There is clamour to bring in new faces both as chief minister and as state party chief in place of Manikrao Thakre. 

The knockout punch delivered by the “Mahayuti” (grand alliance) headed by the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to the Congress-NCP combine has led to the Opposition openly demanding the resignation of the coalition government.

Congress turned in the worst-ever performance, winning only two seats out of the 27 it contested while the NCP fared slightly better by winning more seats –four – though it contested less number of seats - 22 – than the Congress. Thus, the combine could muster a total of six out of the total 48 seats in the state, compared to the 42 that the Sena-BJP led alliance bagged.

All the Central ministers of the Congress-NCP who contested lost, the senior-most being Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. Five ministers of the Chavan government, who contested for Lok Sabha, lost too. 

The Congress-NCP tally was a far cry from 2009, when Congress won 17 to NCP’s eight. The Congress was wiped out in Vidarbha, north and western Maharashtra and coastal regions. 

Obviously, the combine faced double anti-incumbency: against the 15-year rule of the Congress-NCP in the state, the anger over the Congress-led government at the Centre and of course the “Modi wave”.

 In contrast, the Shiv Sena and the BJP recorded their best outing. Sena won 18 out of the 20 it contested and BJP 23, as against 11 and nine, respectively, of 2009. The two parties performed creditably across all the regions including Vidarbha and Marathwada.

It’s not just the Congress-NCP which were tossed out of contest. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) of Raj Thackeray and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had raised hopes in the western state, too came a cropper. 

The MNS, which was seen to be the main reason behind the victory of Congress-NCP in both Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in 2009 by cutting into the Sena-BJP votes, lost out, losing deposit in all the 10 seats it had contested. The AAP, which had some high-profile candidates, failed to make the slightest impact in any of the 48 seats that it contested.

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