State BJP and Shiv Sena leaders expressed euphoria over the exit polls, most of which projected that the alliance would win a majority of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state. In 2014, the allies had won 41 seats in Maharashtra, decimating the Congress and NCP.
“We are going to get more than 42 seats this time. The Congress-NCP combine is not going to get more than five seats from the state,” state BJP president Raosaheb Danve said Monday. Maharashtra, Danve said, would play an important role in helping the BJP secure over 300 seats across the country.
The exit polls were telecast soon after the seventh and final phase of polling ended Sunday evening. The official results of the vote-count will be declared on May 23.
Apart from one exit poll, all the others have so far suggested that the BJP-Shiv Sena would not be able to replicate its 2014 performance, when the BJP won 23 seats and Sena 17. One of the exit polls has also suggested that the allies might bag equal number of seats.
Denying that the number of seats won by each of the allies could cause any friction, Danve said: “There is no big brother, small brother in this alliance. We are twins. Both of have worked hard to ensure the return of PM Modi’s government. The two parties will fight together in the Assembly elections as well.”
The Shiv Sena, meanwhile, also seemed jubilant with the exit poll projections, with leaders claiming that they expected the party to do even better. “The exit polls are in now, please wait for the exact results that will be announced on May 23. We will get more seats than what these polls have predicted. The two parties (BJP and Sena) have been relentless in their campaign and creating an environment for the return of the Modi government,” Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut told The Indian Express.
Raut also took a swipe at the attempts being made by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to stitch a post-poll alliance. “For the betterment of our democracy, it is important to have a strong opposition… It is very good if he (Naidu) is meeting different parties for building a strong opposition,” he said.
Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar also expressed confidence that the saffron alliance would do better than the exit poll findings. “The slogan this time was ‘Abki baar, 300 paar’. We are sure of crossing this number and Maharashtra will play a key role in this. The (exit) polls have shown that the Congress has finally made an exit from the political arena,” Mungantiwar said.