The BJP has considerably improved its tally in Marathwada this time — from two seats in 2009 to 15 — registering victory in almost one-third of total 46 Assembly constituencies in eight districts under the region.
Riding on the ‘Modi wave’, besides the sympathy generated after the untimely death of senior leader from the region Gopinath Munde, the party has won five out of the six Assembly seats in Beed district, Munde’s hometown that had emerged as a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) bastion.
Incidentally, after the 2009 elections, Sharad Pawar-led NCP had five seats in Beed district. BJP has turned the tables this time.
The void created after Munde’s death was filled to a major extent by his daughter Pankaja, who tried to project herself as a mass leader by undertaking nearly a three-week state tour covering 79 Assembly constituencies in 21 districts. The Congress particularly struggled to find a leader in Marathwada after late chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
The Congress’s strength in Marathwada was reduced by half to eight seats, including two each in Latur, Nanded and Aurangabad, and one each in Parbhani and Hingoli districts. Its estranged alliance partner NCP’s tally too has come down to eight from 12 seats, with Beed district doing most of the damage.
Shiv Sena too fared better in Marathwada by winning a total of 11 seats — it won four in 2009 — but failed to win the desired number of seats to swing the momentum in the region. The party has won three seats each in Auranagbad, Nanded and Parbhani districts and one each in Osmanabad and Jalana districts.
The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navniraman Sena (MNS) had its one MLA from Kannad (Augrangabad) in 2009 polls, but the MLA, Harshavardhan Jadhav, joined Shiv Sena following differences with the party leadership and emerged winner as the saffron party candidate.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held five rallies in different parts of Marathwada region, hailed as a relatively backward region in the state.
Benefitting from it, the BJP won three seats each in Aurangabad (Aurangabad East, Phulambri and Gangapur) and Jalna (Bhokardan, Badnapur and Partur) districts. In Latur, BJP bagged two seats (Nilanga and Udgir), while it won one seat each in Hingoli and Nanded districts (Mukhed) besides five seats in Beed (Parli, Ashti, Kaij, Georai and Majalgaon).
Pankaja Munde (Parli), MoS Raosaheb Danve’s son Santosh (Bhokardan), former minister Haribhau Bagade (Phulambri) and Bhimrao Dhonde (Ashti) are some BJP winners in Marathwada.
Former NCP Ministers Rajesh Tope (Ghansawangi) and Jaydutta Kshirsagar (Beed), Vilasrao Deshmukh’s son Amit (Latur), former chief minister Ashok Chavan’s wife Ameeta (Bhokar) and AIMIM candidate Imtiyaz Jaleel (Aurangabad central) are some of the key winners from other parties.
The prominent losers include former Congress minister Rajendra Darda (Auranagbad East) and NCP ministers Suresh Dhus (Ashti) and Prakash Solanke (Majalgaon).