BJP set to form govt in Maha; storms to power in Haryana
Mumbai/Chandigarh: Knocking out Congress from its bastions, the Modi wave today placed BJP on the cusp of forming a government in Maharashtra with unexpected support from NCP while it stormed to power on its own in Haryana.
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.
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.
The BJP also put up a remarkable show in Maharashtra, where it junked its oldest ally Shiv Sena over seat sharing, by bagging 122 seats in the 288-member Assembly, 23 short of majority figure of 145. It had won 47 in the last elections.
Shiv Sena was left with 63 seats and could play no significant role with NCP (41 seats) offering unexpected and unconditional outside support to BJP to form the government.
The Congress, which headed the government, was reduced to 42 from 81 it had in the outgoing House. The MNS, headed by Raj Thackeray, was routed getting only one seat against 13 it had. Instead, the Hyderabad-based Muslim Majlis opened its account with two seats.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray hinted as much when he said he would not like to give unsolicited support because BJP may take the backing of NCP which was in power with the Congress for the last 15 years. NCP was described by Modi as Nationalist Corrupt Party as he had attacked its leaders Sharad Pawar and others as coming from the “same Congress clan”.
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.
Modi, who attended the meeting, described BJP’s victory in the two states as “historic” and said it was a matter of immense happiness and pride for the party.
Shah said the victory was the stamp of approval on the performance and policies of the Modi government and demonstrated that the Modi wave was not over as claimed by rivals on the basis of small by-elections victories recently.
The newly-elected BJP MLAs are expected to meet tomorrow to elect their chief ministers.
As speculation mounted as to whether the BJP will approach Sena, NCP leader Praful Patel announced outside support to it in government formation in the “interest” of stability and development of the state.
“NCP has decided to extend support to the proposed government of the BJP in Maharashtra… There is no option but to see that the largest party forms a stable government. Also the BJP is ruling in the Centre and it will benefit the state,” Patel told reporters.
The BJP had contested 257 seats on its own and gave its symbol to 23 allied candidates. Its ally Rashtriya Samaj Paksha won a lone seat.
In the outgoing House, Shiv Sena had 45 seats. The Congress had 81 and the NCP 62.
To repeated questions at a press conference in Delhi, Amit Shah maintained that BJP had not broken the alliance with Shiv Sena.
Taking a dig at Sena with which the alliance broke over seat sharing, the BJP chief said, “The results have proved who was correct… We won more seats than we were being offered.”
BJP wanted to contest 134 out of 288 seats but Shiv Sena was not ready to give more than 119.
“We respect our allies and want to keep our alliances but not by sacrificing our workers,” Shah asserted.
Describing the electoral victory in Maharashtra and Haryana as “two more steps towards Congress-free India”, he said the win is “a kind of stamp of approval by the people on the Modi government’s work, its policies and initiatives in the last four months.”
The performance of BJP has rendered Congress ineligible for even the post of Leader of Opposition in both the states, he said.
He said this victory has shown that “Modi is the undisputed leader of the country” and belies the theory of rivals that “Modi-wave is over” after minor bypoll setbacks.
“The results have proved that like a tsunami, the Modi-wave is demolishing all opposition,” Shah said.