Cong, NCP and Shiv Sena, BJP face split votes after the collapse of their alliances
New Delhi : As Maharashtra goes to polls this month, the key stakeholders in the multi-cornered Assembly election would be eyeing a strong performance in the Golden Triangle zone of the state, which may come to have a crucial bearing on who forms the government there, PTI reports.
The Golden Triangle, which comprises Mumbai and its metropolitan region along with Pune and Nashik, is known as such because of the economic prosperity which it enjoys.
Spread across five districts and 14 parliamentary constituencies and covering three major cities and satellite townships and with the highest concentration of 77 Assembly seats, the Golden Triangle region is one of the most developed and urbanised areas in the state as well as the country.
Almost 90 per cent of the Assembly seats are highly urbanised and 63 of these lie in Mumbai and its metropolitan region.
The triangle is strategically located, stretching from Mumbai and its Metropolitan Region, which falls in the Konkan belt, to Nashik in northern Maharashtra and from there to Pune and its metropolitan region in the western part of the state.
While Mumbai is the business capital of the country, Pune is a fast-growing Metro, thanks to its booming IT sector. Nashik is one of the most rapidly growing cities in the state and enjoys good connectivity with both Mumbai and Pune.
In the 2009 Assembly elections, the Congress-NCP alliance won 33 of the 77 seats within the Golden Triangle while the BJP-Sena combine emerged on top in 24 segments.
Congress won 23 seats followed by Shiv Sena with 13. NCP, the then junior alliance partner of UPA, won 10 seats in the region while BJP and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena won 11 segments.
But with a five-cornered contest on the cards this time around, it will be an uphill task for Congress and Shiv Sena to maintain their positions.
Mumbai and its suburbs have 36 seats which were dominated by Congress in the last Assembly polls as it clinched 18 of these with NCP managing two seats.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena won six seats in the city followed by BJP with five.
Going by its performance in the recent Lok Sabha polls, BJP has gained an edge in 17 Assembly seats while the Shiv Sena is on a strong footing in 16 constituencies. Congress has the upper hand in only two seats while NCP managed to secure a lead in only one segment.
This time, for the October 15 polls, Congress and NCP are not only battling anti-incumbency but also facing a prospect of a split in the votes after their alliance collapsed over seat sharing.
Shiv Sena and BJP, too, have to deal with a division of votes after ending their 25-years-old alliance. The Mumbai metropolitan region has some seven municipal corporations and five smaller townships whose economy is connected to the state capital.
In Thane district, which has some 24 seats, Shiv Sena won six in the last elections, gaining a marginal edge over NCP, which secured five seats. Congress managed to win only one seat in the district while BJP took four. Independents and smaller parties won the remaining eight seats.
In Lok Sabha polls, of the 24 assembly segments, the Sena had an edge in 11 assembly segments while the BJP gained in 10. The Congress could only get lead in two segments while the NCP got lead in lone seat of Mumbra.
Mumbai, which has extended suburbs like Panvel, Uran and Karjat, saw the local Peasants and Workers Party gaining prominence while the Shiv Sena led in Karjat in the Lok Sabha polls. In the last assembly polls, the Congress won Panvel, the NCP bagged Karjat while the PWP won the Uran seat.
Pune, known as the cultural capital of the state, has some 10 seats spanning across three parliamentary seats while Nashik has four seats in the Golden Triangle.
Of these 14 seats, Sena and MNS dominated three each while BJP, Congress and NCP got two seats each in the last Assembly polls.
Independents and others were successful in the remaining two seats.
In the Lok Sabha polls, the Sena had an edge over eight seats while the BJP gained in six trouncing the Congress in all assembly segments.