Cong-NCP combine scores hat trick

Cong-NCP combine scores hat trick


As predicted by various exit polls, the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 83 seats, followed by its partner the NCP, which bagged 62 seats. Together, the coalition got 145 seats, crossing the halfway mark in the house of 288 members, and is all set to form the next government without any need for outside support.

It is for the first time since 1995 that a political formation has gained majority, albeit of just one, in Maharashtra. In past 15 years, whether it was the Sena-BJP goverment from 1995 to 1999 or the two Congress-NCP government from 1999 onwards, the ruling coalitions never had majority on their own and always survived on support of independents and small parties like PWP.

As the trends began trickling in on Thursday, it became clear that the Congress-NCP coalition was going to emerge as the winner.  By noon, prominent BJP and Sena leaders such as Gopinath Munde and Manohar Joshi conceded defeat, attributing the Congress-NCP victory to the presence of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra NavNirman Sena (MNS) candidates.

For Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who has been in the post for the past nine months after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, it was vindication of not only the Congress policies but also of his own leadership.

Although he and others have left the decision of selecting the next chief minister to the party high command, he is clearly a front runner for the post.
Thackeray attributed the victory of the coalition to the development works undertaken by the state government in Mumbai and elsewhere in the state in past five years.  The NCP too attributed the victory to development work launched or completed by the coalition government.

The Congress-NCP upper hand was visible across the state. The coalition dominated not only Mumbai and Konkan, but also beat the saffron combine in Vidarbha, Marathwada, North Maharashtra as well as the sugar belt of western Maharashtra.  
In Vidarbha and Marathwada, it was neck and neck fight while the Congress-NCP swept the sugar belt and north Maharashtra.

Saffron combine suffers
The saffron combine actually suffered in many places and its tally came down to 90 seats, with the BJP emerging as the biggest opposition party.
It bagged 46 seats while the Sena captured 44. As per the final tally, the Congress won 83, the NCP 62, the BJP 46, the Sena 44, the MNS 13, the Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF) 14 and others, including Samajwadi Party (SP), independents and party rebels 26 seats.

The emergence of the MNS with 13 seats is the highlight of these elections.
 In Mumbai, the MNS won six out of 36 seats to emerge as the second largest party, relegating the Sena with its five seats to third position. The BJP won 4 while the NCP won 3 seats in the metropolis. The Congress retained its hold on Mumbai by winning 18 seats.
The Sena lost its face not only in Mumbai but in Konkan, where its outgoing Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ramdas Kadam lost from Guhagar constituency to the Congress candidate.
For the BJP, the most embarassing defeat was that of Poonam Mahajan, daughter of slain BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, from Ghatkopar (West).

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