(PTI Photo)
(PTI Photo)

Mumbai: The ruling BJP-Shiv Sena combine marched to a spectacular victory in Maharashtra, leading in or bagging (as of 6 p.m.) 41 of the state’s 48 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP was on way to winning 22 seats and the Shiv Sena 20 seats, of the 25 and 23 seats they contested.

The last minute alliance between the sparring ruling coalition partners proved a game changer as it averted division of Hindutva votes. The surgical strike and issue of nationalism also turned the tables for ruling combine.

Two former chief ministers – Ashok Chavan in Nanded and Sushilkumar Shinde in Solapur – both from the Congress who were also felled by the BJP surge. However, the Congress could console itself with one seat – Chandrapur – while its ally Nationalist Congress Party has bagged four seats so far – Baramati, Raigad, Shirur and Satara.

For the state’s number one political clan, the shocking defeat of NCP’s Parth Ajit Pawar in Maval was the first-ever tasted by any family member in any election in over five decades. Opposition-supported Independent, south Indian film actress Navnit Kaur R. Rana (Amravati), also won.

kin is routed Former Chief Minister and President of Maharashtra Swabhimani Party Narayan Rane’s son and former MP Nilesh Rane was trounced by the Sena candidate Vinayak Raut in Ratnagiri- Sindhudurg, with the Congress controversial nominee Navinchandra B. Bandivadekar faring a poor third.

The electoral bloodbath in Maharashtra, however, claimed the scalps of two Union Ministers – one from the BJP (Hansraj Ahir) and the other from Sena (Sanjay Geethe) – who succumbed to the Congress and NCP candidates, respectively.

In Aurangabad, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen candidate Imtiyaz Jaleel Syed, who was leading with significant margins since morning, suddenly trailed in the evening behind his Shiv Sena rival Chandrakant Ahire, and the see-saw battle between them continued in each round.

Another former Chief Minister and President of Maharashtra Swabhimani Party Narayan Rane’s son and former MP Nilesh Rane was trounced by the Sena candidate Vinayak Raut in Ratnagiri- Sindhudurg, with the Congress controversial nominee Navinchandra B. Bandivadekar faring a poor third. NCP President Sharad Pawar said he humbly accepts the peoples’ verdict, while a bewildered MNS chief Raj Thackeray termed the outcome “as beyond rationale”.

Similarly, the much-anticipated Dalit- Muslim unity experiment of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) was totally rejected by the people, with VBA President Prakash Ambedkar – grandson of Architect of Indian Constitution B.R. Ambedkar – losing in both Akola and Solapur seats which he contested, though the AIMIM candidate in Aurangabad held out hopes of a victory.