BJP leads in Maharashtra, NCP blames Chavan

BJP leads in Maharashtra, NCP blames Chavan

After gaining early leads in over 120 constituencies, the BJP Sunday appeared confident of bagging power on its own for the first time in Maharashtra.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and its smaller allies led in more than 120 of the 288 seats, following by former ally Shiv Sena at a distant 63 seats as officials counted millions of votes polled in assembly elections.

The Congress was on the winning track in 40 seats and its erstwhile ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), in 44.

Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena was ahead of others in four seats, and independents and others in 12 seats.

BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said the "results are on expected lines" and that his party would form the government on its own strength.

Seeing the writing on the wall, the NCP blamed the Congress for the impending rout.
"It all happened because of Chavan," NCP's Nawab Malik told the media, referring to former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan of the Congress.

"He had no understanding of the issues in Maharashtra, he did not take the right decisions, and he didn't act when he had to. He is responsible for the state of both the Congress and the NCP," Malik said.

The NCP and Congress have been in power in Mahrashtra for 15 years. The coalition came apart Sep 25, just three weeks before the Oct 15 polls, leading to President's Rule in the state.

Several Congress and NCP heavyweights were staring at defeat.

These included NCP leader and former home minister R.R. Patil who trailed in Tasgaon in Sangli district and Congress' tainted former minister Kripa Shankar Singh at Kalina in Mumbai.

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