The BJP on Sunday managed to knock out the Congress from its bastions in Haryana and Maharashtra and is all set to form a government in both the states.
The assembly elections, seen as the first major test of Narendra Modi's popularity since the Lok Sabha success, reflected the continued dominance of BJP in the two states, where he mounted an aggressive campaign.
The BJP put up a remarkable show in Maharashtra, where it junked its oldest ally Shiv Sena over seat sharing and bagged 122 seats in the 288-member Assembly, 23 short of majority figure of 145. It had won 47 in the last elections.
In Haryana, the party got a majority on its own for the first time winning 47 of the 90 seats, up from a meagre four in the last elections. Congress, which ruled the state for ten years, was reduced to 15 from 40 seats. INLD came second with 19 seats.
Here are the final figures of the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly polls:
Post poll status in Maharashtra:
It is for the first time since Congress' tally of 141 seats in 1990 that a party has crossed the 100-seats mark in an Assembly election in Maharashtra.
Though the Sena too improved upon its 2009 showing winning 63 seats, it still fell short of its best performance in the 1995 poll when it had won 73 seats going to the hustings together with BJP and forming a coalition government.
Posting its worst performance, Congress secured 42 seats and former ally NCP, with which it had ruled the state for 15 years in a row before the poll-eve split, clinching 41.
A big surprise in the election was the near obliteration of Raj Thackeray's MNS, which many thought will be the X-factor in the poll as it managed to win just one seat.
While the party, which pursued the 'Marathi pride' agenda with great fervour could clinch just one seat, Hyderabad-based MIM opened its account winning two seats. Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi and Peasants and Workers Party won three seats each, while Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, CPI(M), Samajwadi Party and BJP ally Rashtriya Samaj Paksha pocketed one each and independents won seven.
Shiv Sena could play no significant role despite the fact that it had fought over the BJP over a chief ministerial candidate before the polls. The Sena had even said that it would be able to form a government on its own. Meanwhile, the won NCP 41 seats and also quite unexpectedly offered unconditional outside support to BJP to form the government.
The Congress, which headed the government, was reduced to 42 seats from 81 it had in the outgoing House. The MNS, headed by Raj Thackeray, was routed getting only one seat against the 13 it had. The Hyderabad-based Muslim Majlis opened its account with two seats.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray too hinted that the party was open to an alliance with the BJP when he said he would not like to give unsolicited support because the BJP may take the backing of the NCP which was in power with the Congress for the last 15 years.
The BJP Parliamentary Board met in the evening but ahead of it party chief Amit Shah made it clear that he was not averse to NCP support, virtually ignoring its 25 year old saffron partner Shiv Sena.
However since the BJP could not reach 144, the magic half-way number, it would now be left with mutliple options as Firstpost had earlier pointed out in an article.
The most likely outcome would be that the Shiv Sena and BJP patch up and enter into an alliance since their seat tallies would add up to a majority. The other option would be that BJP accepts NCP's outside support and joins hands with Sharad Pawar.
BJP leaders are divided over going with either of the parties. For the NCP, as reported by Firstpost's Vishwas Waghmode, a section of BJP leaders still feel that the Shiv Sena is a natural ally of the party and it should form the government with the Sena. "We were together for last 25 years and our ideologies are also same. So, we feel that it is our natural ally. In the present scenario, we should take the support of Sena and form the government in the state,” said a BJP leader.
Meanwhile there are other BJP leaders who are against going with the Shiv Sena because of the "continuous tirade launched by the Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leading upto the assembly poll."
However BJP leader JP Nadda said after the Parliamentary board meeting that first a chief ministerial candidate would be chosen and then it would think of alliances.
Post poll status in Haryana:
While the BJP had a clear majority in Haryana, the Congress won only 15, down from its tally of 40 seats in the 2009 assembly polls. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) had to settle for the second position with just 19 seats. It had won 31 seats in the 2009 polls. While BJP's former ally HJC won only two seats.
PM Modi, who addressed 11 rallies in the state in the run-up to the 15 October polls, clearly helped BJP romp home comfortably, a senior party leader said.
Conceding defeat, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda hoped that the new dispensation will continue the growth momentum that has been in the state during its 10-year rule.
"A new government is going to come. I hope they will keep the growth momentum of Haryana," Hooda, who defeated INLD's Satish Kumar Nandal by 47,185 votes from Garhi Sampla-Kiloi constituency in Rohtak district, said.
Now the only thing that the BJP needs to worry about in Haryana is a chief ministerial candidate. The BJP Parliamentary Party Board met in New Delhi Sunday evening to discuss probables for the post of the party's first chief minister in the state.
The names doing rounds include Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh activist Manohar Lal Khattar, state BJP president Ram Bilas Sharma and BJP spokesperson Capt. Abhimanyu. Other names of leaders, who did not contest, include union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal. Congressman-turned-BJP leader Birender Singh is also in the running.
Senior party sources told IANS that the new government could be sworn in before Diwali this week.
With agency inputs
Updated Date: Oct 19, 2014 23:09 PM