Indian Express

Cong-NCP cedes ground in 111 of 144 segments

Mahasrashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thackeray with CM Prithviraj Chavan at an MPCC assessment meeting in Parel, Mumbai, on Monday.Express photo: Pradeep Kochrekar Mahasrashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thackeray with CM Prithviraj Chavan at an MPCC assessment meeting in Parel, Mumbai, on Monday. Express photo: Pradeep Kochrekar

Between the lines of the rout of the Congress-NCP alliance, which won only six of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, is a signal for the upcoming assembly elections: the ruling alliance trailed in 111 of the 144 assembly segments that it holds. Apart from the 33 segments where it held on, the alliance wrested eight segments currently represented by other parties. Maharashtra has 288 assembly seats.

Region-wise, the alliance trailed in 80 per cent of their seats in North Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Mumbai. In the north, where the two parties have 22 of 24 seats, they trailed in 18, held on to four, and gained in two. In Vidarbha, they surrendered 24 of their 27 seats; in Mumbai they surrendered 18 of their 20, while gaining one. In Konkan (excluding Mumbai), they trailed in seven of their 11, though they also gained one.

The two parties did better in Marathwada and Western Maharashtra. In Marathwada, they maintained their leads in eight of their 31 seats; in Western Maharashtra, they did so in 13 of their 33.

The Congress suffered more than the NCP did. The NCP managed to retain its dominance on close to 30 per cent of its assembly seats, with leads in 18 of 62, while the Congress managed only 20 per cent, with 15 leads in 82 seats.

Congress-NCP leaders say it is unfair to connect the Lok Sabha elections’ segment-wise figures with assembly elections. “It is not necessary that the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls must have a bearing on the assembly polls,” said Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre. “The results of assembly bypolls and the Lok Sabha polls held together in some states were not the same.” But Thakre acknowledged there is now a need for “some urgent people-friendly policies and decisions” to reverse the trend ahead of the assembly polls.

NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik, a legislator, said this was a vote against the UPA government at the Centre and its policies on price hike, inflation, and gas pricing. The assembly polls would be fought on the state government’s performance, he said, and “we are certain of a favourable outcome”.

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