The polling percentage in Palghar (46 per cent) and Gondia-Bhandara (42 per cent) has kept all the political parties on tenterhooks. The malfunctioning of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in almost 45 to 50 polling booths in the two constituencies led to isolation of the ruling BJP as the opposition parties Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena -Buhujan Vikas Aghadi united, raising question on the free and fair poll process, under the state government.
BJP, meanwhile, refused to comment on the developments. BJP political managers, requesting anonymity, said, “If EVMs have failed, questions should be raised at the preparedness of the system as enforced by the election commission. Instead, the opposition united to scrore political point against the BJP.” Interpreting the developments, the senior functionary said, “It is evident that polling percentage has set opposition worried and they fear the ground slipping in both these seats.”
BJP has the highest stakes in the elections, where it had sitting members of parliament. In Bhandara-Gondia, resignation of senior (MP) Nana Patole lead to bypolls. The elections are important as it would be a comment on ruling party, which has always drawn maximum electoral strength from the Vidarbha region. Moreover, Patole revolted against BJP to join Congress.
In Palghar, big fight between Shiv Sena and BJP relates to clashes of the ego. Sena’s decision to hijack and field Shrinivas Wanaga, son of late sitting BJP (MP) Chintaman Wanaga had come as a rude shock to the BJP. The developments led to souring of relations between the Sena and BJP.
Although the alliance is still intact, Sena’s decision to throw an open challenge to BJP conveyed they are ready for bigger battle ahead. Sources in the BJP said, “The outcome is crucial to enhance our tally in Indian Parliament. The party is just half way mark with 272 seats.”