POSITIVE RESULTS in 27 rural and semi-rural constituencies in the Lok Sabha elections have given a fresh impetus to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to push its flagship projects — Jalyukta Shivar and agriculture reforms such as Swashwat Sheti, Unnat Shetkari (assured farming, prosperous farmer).
Of the total 48 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP-Shiv Sena have performed better in rural Maharashtra, winning all the 27 seats despite severe drought conditions, which forced the Centre to sanction Rs 4,162 crore assistance.
In Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, which are classified under agriculture distress, the party won 15 of the total 18 Lok Sabha seats. While Sena lost Amravati and Aurangabad, the BJP was defeated in Chandrapur seat.
Top BJP leaders have acknowledged the role of the state government in pushing for agriculture reforms, which enabled the party to come up with a positive pitch for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The party has polled more than 50 per cent votes in the rural belt. A senior BJP functionary said, “We got overwhelming support from the rural belt which enabled the BJP to win 23 of the 25 seats and the Sena to win 18 of 23 seats.”
In Maharashtra, such a mandate without the support of farmers is not possible. All the 27 rural and semi-rural constituencies are still reeling from the drought. The BJP lost two seats —Baramati and Chandrapur. Whereas, the Sena lost four seats — Amravati, Satara, Aurangabad, Shirur and Raigad.
CM Devendra Fadnavis said, “The Lok Sabha elections were held amid drought. Of the total 355 talukas, 151 are adversely affected. But the people’s support to Narendra Modi’s leadership is a testimony that reforms have appealed to them and helped them.”
Fadnavis said the state with the Centre’s help had decided to take course correction towards “zero-drought tolerance”. He said during his visit to Delhi in the last two days, he held talks with central BJP leaders and Modi.
Kishore Tiwari, chief of Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavlambhan Mission, said, “The recurring drought has caused hardships to farmers. The Centre-state which has initiated reforms will have to expedite the process to ensure the state becomes free of farmer suicides.”
Political analysts point out that despite drought, 12 winners out of 23 had polled more than 50 per cent votes in their constituencies. This, they said, indicated large-scale response from the people.
State NCP chief Jayant Patil said, however, said government’s shortcoming in addressing the current drought cannot be ignored.