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BJP-led combine to retain power: NCP, Sena improve strike rate


Devendra Fadnavis


Mumbai: Maharashtra looks set to have a BJP-led government for another five years, even as the results of the Assembly polls indicated a dip in the party's tally, while the Shiv Sena and NCP appeared to have improved theirs.

As per the results and trends available so far, the BJP's position in the 288-member Assembly was 99, including 19 seats where results were declared.

The Sena's tally was 57, including 14 results, NCP's was 55 including 10 results, while the Congress' was 44, including 13 results.

In the 2014 polls, the BJP had won 122 seats, the Sena 63, the Congress 42 and the NCP 41. The BJP and Sena had then contested separately. The Sena had joined the Fadnavis-led government over a month after it was formed.

NCP's Shriniwas Patil, ex-bureaucrat and former governor of Sikkim, became a 'giant killer' after he trounced Udayanraje Bhosale in the Satara Lok Sabha bypoll, which was also held on October 21 along with the state Assembly polls.

Bhosale had quit the NCP and joined the BJP ahead of the bypoll. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed a poll campaign rally at Satara.

Prominent winners in the Assembly elections include Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, and Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde who trounced estranged cousin and BJP minister Pankaja Munde in a keenly-contested poll battle.

Five other ministers in the Fadnavis-led government were also trailing as per trends available so far.

Former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar were other prominent winners.

Among the turncoats, 11 of those who joined Shiv Sena and eight who joined the BJP on the eve of the elections, were defeated.

Reacting to the trends and results, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the message was that people did not like "the arrogance of power".

The people, however, have asked his party to remain in opposition, Pawar said, adding that it will not try to form the next government in Maharashtra.

"People have not accepted the talk of 220 seats (out of 288). The NCP accepts people's mandate humbly... The election result shows people did not like the arrogance of power," Pawar said.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said his party and the BJP will form the next government in Maharashtra, and stressed the two parties will stick to the pre-decided "50-50" sharing formula.

Raut ruled out possibility of the Shiv Sena joining hands with the opposition parties to form the new government.

"The BJP and Shiv Sena will form government in Maharashtra," he told reporters here.

Asked about the possibility of the Shiv Sena embracing the NCP and Congress to form government, Raut said, "No, we fought the polls in alliance with the BJP. We will go ahead with the tie-up. There will be no change in the pre-decided 50-50 formula."

Counting of votes for Maharashtra Assembly polls and Satara Lok Sabha bypoll, held on Monday, began at 8 am on Thursday, election officials said.

Counting of votes for all the 288 Assembly segments began at 269 locations in the state, the officials said.

Exit polls had predicted a comfortable win for the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government in the state.

Around 25,000 personnel were deployed for counting duty, an election official said, adding police also made adequate arrangements to ensure a smooth counting process.

The polling held on Monday saw a voter turnout of 61.13 per cent, a dip from the 63.20 per cent recorded in 2014, the official said.

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