While the deadlock over Maharashtra government formation continues, on the other hand, Jharkhand is getting ready for polls. In recently concluded Maharashtra assembly polls, the fight was supposed to be between BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP. While many exit polls predicted that BJP and its allies will get around 150 to 200 seats, but exit polls are likely to be proven wrong as relationship between BJP and Sena has gone sour.
In Maharashtra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed nine public meetings. He addressed meeting at Akola, Patur, Panvel, and Parli, Satara, Pune, Mumbai, Panvel. Modi also campainged for Satara Lok Sabha bypoll, where Udyanraje Bhosale was contesting. This was the first major test for the saffron party after it returned to power with a thumping mandate in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
While BJP managed to win on 7 assembly seats out of nine and also lost the Satara Lok Sabha bypoll. The BJP had polled 1.47 crore votes in 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election. The vote share stood at 27.8 per cent of the total votes polled in the assembly election. This time, the BJP has got 1.41 crore votes - around 6 lakh less than the 2014 figure - and it amounts to 25.6 per cent vote share. Numbers speak for themselves that Modi’s magic is slowly fading away.
Modi kicked-off his campaign with a rally in Jalgaon in North Maharashtra on October 13 followed by a second public meeting at Sakoli in Bhandara district of Vidarbha the same day.
Than Modi addressed three rallies on October 16 at Akola, Partur (Jalna district) and Panvel (Navi Mumbai) followed by public meetings in Parli (Beed district), Satara and Pune on October 17. Even bypoll for the Satara Lok Sabha constituency was also scheduled along with the assembly elections. The BJP fielded ex-NCP MP Udayanraje Bhosale from Satara and his main rival is Shriniwas Patil of the Sharad Pawar-led party. The Prime Minister also held in a rally in Mumbai's BKC on October 18, just two days before the polling. While BJP won in 7 seats and 3 seats where Narendra Modi campaigned.
Jalgaon where PM Modi kickstarted the campaigning, was a success for BJP. But in Sakoli in Bhandara district of Vidarbha, where PM Modi held the second rally, BJP lost by 6240 votes. Congress' Nanabhau Patole defeated BJP's Parinay Fuke, who was BJP MLC and Minister of State for PWD and Forests.
In, Akola, Partur (Jalna district) and Panvel (Navi Mumbai) and Pune, PM Modi's magic worked, but BJP ended up losing in Parli assembly and Satara Lok Sabha seats. In a mere consolation, BJP won in the Satara assembly seat.
The Nationalist Congress Party retained the Satara Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra as three-time MP Udayanraje Bhosale, who switched over from the Sharad Pawar-led party to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Udayanraje Bhosale lost to the NCP's Shriniwas Patil by 87,717 votes. Bhosale won the seat for the first time as an NCP candidate in 2009. His defection to the BJP prompted the Election Commission to announce a bye-election in Satara just five months after the Lok Sabha elections. His cousin Shivendrasinh Abhaysinhraje Bhonsale won the Satara assembly by almost 48,000 votes.
Pankaja Munde has lost her seat to estranged cousin and Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde by 20,981 votes in Parli Vidhan Sabha of Beed district. Pankaja Gopinathrao Munde of BJP won this seat in the 2014 elections with 96,904 votes against Dhananjay Panditrao Munde of NCP who received 71,009 votes. The two-time MLA is also a cabinet minister in the Maharashtra government. She is the minister for Rural Development, Women and Child Development.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a rally in Satara to campaign for Udayanraje Bhosale. But in terms of optics, it was NCP chief Sharad Pawar's last rally in Satara, when it rained heavily, which trumped. The visuals of 78-year-old Sharad Pawar soaked in rain but not stopping his speech, went viral on social media.
While in Mumbai BJP had a mixed reaction, the Prime Minister campaigned in the city just two days ahead of the election. Narendra Modi held a campaign rally in Mumbai's BKC. While BJP won the Bandra West seat, the saffron party ally ended up losing on Bandra East seat. Shiv Sena leader and Mumbai mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar’s faced a defeat in Bandra (East).
Unlike the last Assembly elections, the BJP and the Shiv Sena this time fought elections in alliance with each other. The BJP won 105 seats and the Shiv Sena 56. The term of the existing 13th state Assembly ends on November 9.
Though BJP ended up winning 105 seats in Maharashtra, it looks like Modi magic is fading away. With the sinking economy and an unprecedented rise in unemployment, Modi’s charisma has clearly failed to charm the people, show the results. PM Modi, instead of fighting the election on the plank of development, has raised the issues of the abrogation of Article-370 and Kashmir during the election. No doubt, BJP will form the government with the help of Shiv Sena again but the kind of thin majority that NDA has secured is a clear indication that Modi is no longer the most popular politician.