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Will Maharashtra 'hang' like Delhi?

According to a state intelligence report, the BJP is not likely to cross the 110 mark; the document suggests there is a possibility of a non-BJP front forming the government, with outside support, like with the AAP in Delhi

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may have readied the celebratory fireworks in anticipation of a resounding victory, a report prepared by the State Intelligence Department (SID), a wing of the Maharashtra Police, will sour the upbeat mood in the camp.

If the NCP decides to support the Shiv Sena, with outside support from the Congress to this new ‘alliance’, the BJP may find itself in the opposition. File pics
If the NCP decides to support the Shiv Sena, with outside support from the Congress to this new ‘alliance’, the BJP may find itself in the opposition. File pics

According to the report, no party will get a clear majority, and there is a possibility of a non-BJP front getting created, as had happened in Delhi last December. According to the report, the BJP may not get more than 110 seats, with its erstwhile ally Shiv Sena raking in around 60.

The Congress will be restricted to 50-55 seats, and its former ally NCP may get around 49. Smaller parties and independent candidates are expected to make up the rest of the numbers. In this scenario, the BJP’s anticipated celebrations may soon turn to sorrow. The report has been forwarded to the higher-ups in the state government, said sources.

Vidarbha: The SID report foresees BJP decimating other parties in Vidarbha, with a record-breaking tally of 39 seats. Two of its candidates will also be involved in a closely fought battle. The Congress, which counted this region as a traditional stronghold, may struggle.

It has a clear edge in six seats, and is expected to be embroiled in a close battle for four others. NCP may retain the four seats it held in the region, and two candidates are in a neck-to-neck battle, the report says. Vidarbha has 62 assembly seats.

Mumbai, thane and konkan: It is here that the BJP may not be able to cut much ice, with its Konkan tally coming up to only two — in Raigad and Sindhudurg districts — out of 15 seats. The report predicts BJP will draw blanks in Ratnagiri. In Mumbai and Thane, the BJP may have to contend with only 12 of the 60 seats it contested.

Senior government officials from the revenue department believe BJP can get 16-18 seats, as the region has a sizeable population of non-Marathi people.

>> The Sena is expected to reap rich harvests here. The party, says the report, has a clear edge in 25 seats and an additional eight of its candidates are engaged in close fights.

>> The Congress has a clear edge in 12 seats in these regions, but any such result is a setback because the Congress had 17 MLAs in Mumbai alone. NCP has a chance in five seats, and three more with half chances.

>> Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), a party hitherto absent in the state scenario, is touted to win the Kurla Assembly seat in Mumbai.

>> The Peasants and Workers Party is expected to get two seats in Uran and Pen. The Hitendra Thakur-led Bahujan Vikas Aghadi is set to win in Virar and Nallasopara.

Marathwada: The BJP has a clear edge in 15 seats out of 46; its candidates have 50% chances in three other seats, the report states. The Shiv Sena is set to get seven seats, and three seats will go down to the wire.

>> The Congress has potential for victory in seven seats, and may struggle in four constituencies. The NCP is expected to take eight seats, and four constituencies will be a fight to the finish. MIM might spoil the party for the biggies here, by snatching two seats for itself.

Western Maharashtra: The report expects NCP to rake in a rich haul here with 25 seats, with three more candidates involved in a tough-to-call scenario.

The region has 70 seats including Ahmednagar district. The BJP looks set to claim 16 seats and will contest closely in four seats. The Sena is predicted to win 11 seats here, and it will be a close call in three places.

>> One seat each may go to PWP and Communist Party of India. The Congress has chances of winning nine seats here and is locked in a close battle in two others.

North Maharashtra: The BJP can get 12 seats here and it will be a close battle in four seats. Shiv Sena is likely to register a remarkable show here with seven wins in Nashik district: six near-assured victories and one close call. In the remaining three districts from the region, Sena has a clear edge in three seats, and two of its candidates have some chance of victory.

>> The Congress may get four seats here, with two candidates expected to fight a difficult battle. This region offers four seats for the NCP, with two more possibly coming in, if things go right. Communist Party of India (Marxist) may win one seat in Nashik district here.

What this means
Against this backdrop, forming the government may prove to be a tricky proposition for the BJP. With the acrimony after the break-up and the scathing barbs written in Sena mouthpiece Saamana a few days ago, the possibility of the party joining hands with its former ally look dim, a senior party leader said.

In this situation, a Delhi-like scenario may emerge where the BJP emerged as the single largest party, but decided to stay away from forming the government. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with the help of outside support from the Congress, came to power for a few days.

Here, the possibility of the BJP being ostracised by the three other major players Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP cannot be ruled out. NCP chief Sharad Pawar has already said that he would like to float a non-BJP front.

The NCP may support the Shiv Sena to form government, and Congress may follow suit from the outside, all in the name of political stability. In that case, BJP’s good days may not arrive in the state yet.

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