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ET Analysis: Opposition a divided house as Haryana, Maharashtra head to polls

The Election Commission of India
In Maharashtra, the run-up to elections has taken a curious turn with several big leaders from Congress and Nationalist Congress Party crossing over to the BJP; in Haryana, the Congress hopes to benefit from infighting in the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

The 2014 state elections saw many firsts. It was for the first time that traditional partners BJPShiv Sena and Congress-NCP contested independently. The BJP won 122 out of 288 assembly seats while Shiv Sena was a distant second with 63 seats, its perception of being a stronger partner taking a beating. For the other set of partners, the Congress won 42 seats just one seat more than the NCP that lost its stronghold Western Maharashtra to the BJP. The BJP won 24 out of 70 seats in Western Maharashtra, leaving 19 to NCP and 10 to Congress. The Sena won 13 seats from the region. The BJP fared well in Vidarbha, winning 44 out of 62 seats. In Marathwada it won 15 out of 46; in Mumbai 15 out of 36 and in north Maharashtra 14 out of 35. In Konkan, the Sena had a larger share winning 14 seats as against 10 seats won by the BJP out of 39. In the last five years, the party under Devendra Fadnavis invaded deep inside the state through development projects, earning dividends in the LS polls. The PM Kisan scheme helped the party win trust of the farmers. Reservation for Marathas and EWS sections has created a belief that party is willing to go the extra mile in terms of executing the decisions. Fadnavis has also been able to weaken the opposition parties with several big leaders from Congress and the NCP joining the BJP in past few months.


Like Maharashtra, Haryana too was a state where BJP contested alone for the first time in 2014 and won 47 out of 90 seats to form a government. In 2014, with 13 seats Congress was relegated to the third position after Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Historically, national politics leaves its mark on parts of Haryana owing to its proximity to Delhi. The anger of the non-Jat communities against the Congress and PM Narendra Modi tilted the election in BJP’s favour in 2014. The party got significant support in urban centres and in the Ahirwal region dominated by Yadavs. In the region, BJP won 12 out of 15 assembly seats in 2014. The party couldn’t win the three Muslim dominated seats of the region. In the initial years, the state government faltered on several counts, especially the violence during the Jat agitation, but implementation of central schemes and transparency in the governance started showing difference on the ground and chief minister Manohar Lal became a popular leader in the last two years of his government.


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