MUMBAI – The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine marched to a spectacular victory in Maharashtra, leading in or bagging (as of 6 pm) 41 of the state’s 48 Lok Sabha seats.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis termed the success by saying: “Its not just a ‘Modi-wave’, it’s a tsunami.”
“There are no differences between us (BJP-Sena)… The people have given us a clear verdict. We shall go among the people and work for development and other issues,” he said.
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, who warmly welcomed Fadnavis at his home in the evening, attributed the results to the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his policies.
“Our alliance will continue further, even after the upcoming Assembly elections in October,” Thackeray said.
When questioned about his estranged cousin Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s famous campaign “Laav re te video” (Play that video), Uddhav mockingly said: “Laav re te fataakde” (Burst the crackers).
Raj Thackeray’s own party, the MNS, had not fielded a single candidate in this election but he had vociferously campaigned against the BJP, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
As per latest trends, the BJP was on way to winning 22 seats and the Shiv Sena 20 seats, of the 25 and 23 seats they contested respectively, which Fadnavis termed as well within their expectations and which “increased the responsibility thrust by the people on the saffron alliance”.
The electoral bloodbath in Maharashtra claimed at least two Union Ministers – one from the BJP and one from Sena – falling to the Congress and NCP candidates respectively.
There are two former chief ministers – Ashok Chavan in Nanded and Sushilkumar Shinde in Solapur – both from Congress who were felled by the BJP surge.
However, the Congress is still pinning hopes of winning one seat – Chandrapur – while its ally Nationalist Congress Party has bagged four seats so far – Baramati, Raigad, Shirur and Satara. Opposition-supported Independent, south Indian film actress Navnit Kaur R. Rana (Amravati) also won.
In Aurangabad, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen candidate Imtiyaz Jaleel Syed who was leading with significant margins since morning, trailed in the evening behind his Shiv Sena rival Chandrakant Ahire, and the see-saw battle between them continued in each round.
NCP President Sharad Pawar said he humbly accepts the peoples’ verdict, while MNS chief Raj Thackeray appeared bewildered.
For the state’s numero uno political clan, the shocking defeat of NCP’s Parth Ajit Pawar in Maval was the first-ever tasted by any family member in any elections in the past over five decades.
Another former Chief Minister and President of Maharashtra Swabhimani Party Narayan Rane’s son and former MP Nilesh Rane was trounced by the Sena candidate Vinayak Raut in Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, with the Congress controversial nominee Navinchandra B. Bandivadekar faring a poor third.
The country’s commercial capital saw the Congress-NCP dreams crumble once again after 2014 when they lost all the six seats in Mumbai, stunning the recently-appointed city party chief Milind Deora.
Similarly, the much-anticipated Dalit-Muslim unity experiment of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) was totally rejected by the people, with VBA President Prakash Ambedkar – grandson of Architect of Indian Constitution BR Ambedkar – losing in both Akola and Solapur seats which he contested, though the AIMIM candidate in Aurangabad held out hopes of a victory.
Buoyed by the outcome, a confident BJP Minister Chandrakant Patil announced that in the upcoming state Assembly elections, the BJP-Sena alliance would again rule Maharashtra.