Saffron surge crushes Cong-NCP alliance
The BJP and Shiv Sena, riding high on the Modi wave, gave a spectacular performance winning 41 of the total 48 seats in 2014 Lok Sabha in Maharashtra. The outcome showed that the Congress-NCP alliance’s attempts to play the secular and Maratha reservation card was rejected by the people who sent a strong message of change in Maharashtra.
The victory of former chief minister Ashok Chavan (Nanded) and Rajiv Satav (Hingoli) was the only solace for the Congress, which failed to retain its traditional bastion in tribal Nadurbar. Former minister Manikrao Gavit’s defeat in this tribal belt is also an indicator to how the people in the state have rejected the Congress.
The BJP, with 23 seats, emerged a leading party followed by its alliance partner Shiv Sena (18 seats). The saffron combine created a record in electoral history, culminating in a complete rout for the Congress that managed to retain just two seats. NCP president Sharad Pawar’s party almost halved its own tally, winning just four Lok Sabha seats. The lone seat won by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana’s sitting (MP) Raju Shetti taken into account ups the tally of BJP grand alliance to 42 seats in the state. Maharashtra emerged the second-largest state after Uttar Pradesh (64 seats) to help the party cross the magic figure of 272 seats at the Centre.
The deep inroads of Modi factor saw the established leaders across Congress and NCP facing worst defeat in the hands of Sena and NCP. A classic case in point was the defeat of union home minister Sushikkumar Shinde in home turf Solapur in Western Maharashtra. In Vidarbha, minister for heavy industries Praful Patel was in for a rude shock as he lost to BJP’s Nana Patole. Union minister Milind Deora (Mumbai South) or Priya Dutt (Mumbai North Centra) lost to relatively low profile candidates Arvind Sawant (Sena) and Poonam Mahajan (BJP).
The entire elections across Vidarbha (10 seats), Western Maharashtra (10 seats), North Maharashtra (Eight seats), Marathwada (Eight seats) and Konkan (Mumbai/Thane) 12 seats were marked by an element of surprise, which has left the ruling combine reeling. In a candid admission, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said, “The Congress has miserably failed in the Parliament polls.” NCP president Sharad Pawar admitted, “The victory of BJP and Sena in Maharashtra was very impressive.”
The NCP which won only four seats – Baramati, Madha, Kolhapur and Satara – raises the question on the role of Sharad Pawar in national politics. The fact that Pawar’s daughter , Supriya Sule, had to sweat it out on home turf in Baramati to retain the seat has come as a rude shock to the NCP leaders, who continued…