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Assembly polls: Will it be any different for Congress-NCP?

Sunday, 18 May 2014 - 7:10am IST | Agency: DNA

Will the spot of bad luck that plagued the Congress-NCP combine in the Lok Sabha polls with opposition Shiv Sena-BJP sweeping over 220 assembly segments in Maharashtra, continue well into the assembly elections?

The present trend coupled with the honeymoon period of the soon-to-be sworn in Narendra Modi-led BJP government in Delhi may make things tougher for the state ruling coalition that is smarting under a defeat that saw the saffron alliance sweeping an unprecedented 42 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats.

The crunching of numbers for the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state indicates that the saffron alliance was ahead in 231 of the 288 seats covered (Shiv Sena 89 and BJP 131) with the Congress-NCP at a poor number two with 43 (Congress 17 and NCP 26).

Others like Swabhimani Paksha led by Hatkanangale MP and farmer leader Raju Shetti (9), RSP (3) and PWP (2) make up the remaining.

In Mumbai, Shiv Sena-BJP decisively trounced Congress-NCP with leads in 16 and 17 constituencies as against two and one for the Congress and the NCP in the 36 constituencies in the metropolis. MNS, AAP and Samajwadi Party have drawn a blank.

In an indication of the anti-incumbency mood sweeping the state, influential state ministers like home minister RR Patil, forest minister Patangrao Kadam, industries minister Narayan Rane, revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, rural development minister Jayant Patil, labour minister Hasan Mushrif, PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal and his son Pankaj, and minister of state Uday Samant, have seen candidates of their parties or allies trailing in their assembly segments.

Influential politicians like speaker Dilip Valse Patil (Pune), former union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde's daughter Praniti (Solapur), former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's son and political scion Amit (Latur), former minister Babanrao Pachpute (Ahmednagar), Bala Nandgaonkar, Nawab Malik and Nitin Sardesai (Mumbai) have fared similarly, indicating that the almost vice-like hold of regional satraps and sugar daddies on state's politics may be slipping.

The Modi wave seems to have swept away all smaller players in the state, converting the Lok Sabha election into one that was fought between the two main fronts—Cong-NCP and Sena-BJP—with candidates of smaller and sub-regional players like MNS and Bharatiya Republican Paksha-Bahujan Mahasangh (BRP-BMS) failing to garner lead in the assembly segments represented by their party.

In Nashik, where MNS has three of its six MLAs, the party's candidate, Dr Pradeep Pawar, had to face the ignominy of losing his security deposit like his counterparts from the party who contested elsewhere.

While the BRP-BMS has two MLAs from Akola, its party chief and former MP Prakash Ambedkar, who is Dalit icon Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's grandson, trailed in these constituencies.

Sena-BJP have swept all assembly segments in Mumbai North (Gopal Shetty), Mumbai North East (Kirit Somaiya), Mumbai South Central (Rahul Shewale), Mumbai North West (Gajanan Kirtikar), Beed (Gopinath Munde), Nagpur (Nitin Gadkari), Ratnagiri Sindhudurg (Vinayak Raut), Sangli (Sanjaykaka Patil), Latur (Dr Sunil Gaikwad), Thane (Rajan Vichare), Jalna (Raosaheb Danve), Wardha (Ramdas Tadas), Gadchiroli (Ashok Nete) and Chandrapur (Hansraj Ahir), a fact which may send shivers down the spine of local Congress and NCP legislators.

Some like Rane, whose son and sitting MP Nilesh was in the fray from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Praniti Shinde, whose father lost from Solapur, Independent MLA from Badnera, Ravi Rana, whose wife and actress Navneet Kaur Rana was contesting as a NCP candidate from Amravati, could not ensure lead in their assembly segments for their kin.

BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said though the leads in the Lok Sabha polls may not exactly mirror the likely scenario in the assembly polls, the voting pattern reflected the mood of the electorate. "This mood will certainly be carried forward," he added.

However, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant pointed out that voter behaviour varies in state and LS polls and pointed to how while the Congress was trailing in Risod assembly segment in the Lok Sabha polls, its nominee, Amit Zanak, won the by-poll held at the same time.

"The trend will not continue," said Sawant, adding that the opposition was bound to suffer reverses in the assembly polls as "it lacked a face, haven't been able to work well as an opposition, failed to tackle questions facing the state and Shiv Sena president lacked control over his organisation and lacked a programme."




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