October 22, 2014



For the BJP, the year 2014 continues to be perhaps, the best year in its three decade long history, that is, if we choose to overlook the setbacks in the by-elections (Link). The saffron outfit created history as it emerged as the single largest party in Maharashtra in spite of bitter fallout with its oldest ally - the Shiv Sena (SS). After the break-up of the two major alliances in the western state, nobody would have anticipated that the BJP could put up such an impressive show, so what if it failed to cross the half-way mark on its own considering that it was a five sided contest. The Shiv Sena did well to win nearly 20 seats more than in 2009 but the performance was far from satisfactory. The Congress and the NCP who had jointly ruled here for three consecutive terms had to face the heat. However, the numbers that they got were better than those in the General Polls fought in May. The MNS was obliterated, quite literally.

The wave of anti-incumbency against the Congress-NCP combine, the numerous corruption allegations against the leaders of the two parties and the image of the PM Narendra Modi seem to have helped the BJP in registering an impressive tally of 123 seats, its best figures in the state so far. There were rumors if the party had not done the right thing by pulling the plug on its alliance with the Shiv Sena, considering that it did not have a solid base in rural Maharashtra. However, the Modi wave worked in its favor; it managed to woo several leaders from the ruling combine on to its side besides holding on to its alliances with several smaller outfits. On the other hand, its former partner, the Shiv Sena was dealt a rude shock. Its 'Uttha' campaign failed as it finished a distant second, winning almost half the number of seats that the BJP bagged. The death of Balasaheb and the rise of Modi prevented it from winning a major share of the anti-government vote. Meanwhile, the Congress should be happy that in spite of winning just 2 seats in the parliamentary polls, it got 42 seats in the state. The NCP was saved the blushes as it managed to do well in its bastion of western Maharashtra and finished with a tally of 41 seats. Raj Thackeray's MNS was decimated; the party dropped 12 seats to end with just one seat. Owaisi's AIMIM and the PWPI (Peasant's and Worker's Party of India) won two seats each.

Perhaps, the biggest winner in the Maharashtra 2014 state polls is the party president Amit Shah. Questions were being raised about his leadership after the BJP's polarized campaign in the UP by-elections failed to get the seats. However, the resounding victory in the western state even after the break-up with the Sena has made the former Gujarat Home Minister the second most influential leader in the saffron camp behind Modi. The results are a big thumbs up to PM Narendra Modi too. He addressed as many as 26 rallies in the state, tearing into the Congress and the NCP while refraining from attacking the SS out of respect for late Balasaheb Thackeray. Five months into office, the Modi waves is fast transforming into a 'tsunami'.

The losers, on the other hand are many. With just 60 odd seats, the Shiv Sena has to reconcile to the fact that it is no more the bigger player in the 'saffron alliance' if it ever joins hands with the BJP in the future. The fact that the party could not even cross the 70 mark even after being in opposition for the last 15 years shows that the SS is on the decline and that Uddhav Thackeray & Co need to introspect to identify the many factors that are ailing the regional outfit. The decimation of the of Raj Thackeray and his MNS is another highlight of the polls. After scoring a blank in the General Elections earlier this year and being reduced to a single seat in the state assembly, many have even begun to write the political obituary of Raj and his party. The Congress too has been forced to eat the humble pie, yet again. Rahul Gandhi's six rallies in the state have not helped the party at all and it seems that the grand old party has nothing to combat the NaMo bandwagon. Moreover, the NCP which was the second largest constituent of the UPA has called off its alliance with the INC. And 2014 continues to bring more miseries upon the Pawars and the NCP. After the hammering in the big polls, the party managed to win just 41 seats in the state.

For more posts in this series: Mahasangram (Link)

The Chart displaying the results was created on Meta-Chart (Link)