With its tally of seats witnessing a dip, the BJP’s foremost task would to set its own house in order.
While the first priority would be to appoint a full-time state party president, the “rebel” factor that played a crucial role in these elections in a party, which always boasted of discipline, is a matter of concern.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, by terming the electoral outcome as a “grand victory”, may have helped to ward off the unrest immediately, but a party leader said: “Fadnavis will have to focus closely on fixing the faultlines, which have emerged within the organisation.”
The party’s expansion, coupled with being in power for two consecutive terms, would lead to rising aspirations among the cadre to have a share in the power hierarchy, said leaders.
The simmering discontent within the organisation following the induction of “outsiders” — leaders imported from Congress and NCP in the run up to the polls — would have to be streamlined.
The party is also under pressure to strike a balance as it expands its organisation. At present, it has enrolled 1.25 crore members — the highest in the country.
Moreover, BJP would have to rework its strategy to ensure greater coordination between organisation and coalition government.
“At present, we have senior leader Chandrakant Patil holding the dual post of minister of revenue and BJP state president. If he is inducted in the new government as a minister, the party will have to look for a suitable president,” said a BJP leader.
For smooth sailing, the mandate, which empowers alliance partner Shiv Sena to asset itself, would require the skill of Fadnavis, who shares cordial relations with Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and now Worli MLA Aaditya Thackeray.
AIMIM makes fresh inroads in state, fails to save its own turf
The AIMIM made inroads in North Maharashtra winning two seats in Malegaon Central and Dhule City, but failed to save its own turf of Aurangabad Central and Byculla, where the party had won in 2014.
After breaking ranks with Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, the Hyderabad-based party under the leadership of state president Imtiaz Jaleel had fielded 44 candidates in Maharashtra – the highest so far since Asaduddin Owaisi-led party started contesting elections in Maharashtra. Jaleel’s impetus on social engineering has seen AIMIM fielding 13 Hindu candidates. However, the selection of candidates had rankled the party’s old guard, many of whom were denied tickets and seemed to have worked against the party. Infighting affected the party’s prospects in Byculla and all the three seats of Aurangabad, from where the party had won the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Mufti Ismail won from Malegaon Central seat and Shah Faruk Anwar from Dhule City. Both these cities have a substantial Muslim population.
The party also seems to have done well in seats like Solapur Central and Bhiwandi West were its candidates ended up second. The results will put a question mark on the leadership of Jaleel and the party is expected to undergo another round of leadership churn in the state.
MNS vote share dips to 2.3% from over 3.1% in 2014 polls
The Raj Thackeray-led MNS has been able to win only one seat — Kalyan Rural, where Pramod Ratan Patil has won.
The MNS’s vote share in Maharashtra has been in a free fall from the heady days of 2009 when it won 13 seats polling 5.71 per cent of votes. This dropped to 3.1 per cent in 2014 when it won one seat. It has now further come down to 2.3 per cent. After its initial plan not to contest, the MNS fielded 101 candidates. Raj Thackeray’s aggressive style of campaigning was hardly on show with many perceiving this change to the ED notice slapped on him in a money laundering case.
VBA draws a blank, vote share dips
Six months after its impressive debut with over 7 per cent of votes in Maharashtra at the Lok Sabha elections, the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) failed to impress in the Assembly elections, failing to win a single seat. While its candidates fared reasonably well in a few select seats, overall, its vote share fell significantly from its Lok Sabha performance.
Set up as an alternative to the hegemony of established political parties, the VBA was an alliance of AIMIM led by Asaduddin Owasi and Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharatiya Republican Party Bahujan Mahasangh. The AIMIM, however, walked out of the alliance ahead of Assembly elections, citing disagreements in seat-sharing talks.
In Akola district, where Ambedkar has a stronghold, VBA candidate Santosh Rahate finished second in Akot; Prabhakar Awachar finished second in Murtizapur, Pandhari Bhade finished second in Akola East, Dilip Jadhav finished second in Risod and Madan Bhargad finished third in Akola West.