Mumbai: With the Maharashtra poll verdict indicating a lead for Congress-NCP combine, BJP-Shiv Sena on Thursday conceded defeat and blamed the Raj Thackeray-led MNS for cutting their votes resulting in their poor-showing.
“We accept defeat...We lost in Mumbai, we lost miserably in western Maharashtra and we could not achieve our aim,” BJP vice president BJP Gopinath Munde said.
“MNS appears set to win about 13 seats after garnering around 5-6% votes. After all, these were our votes,” he said.
Expressing disappointment over the poll verdict, Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi said, “we never expected these results...if it is a defeat, it has to be accepted by everybody.”
Refuting suggestions of fighting between him and BJP Maharashtra chief Nitin Gadkari, Munde said, “we campaigned unitedly. There is no question of fighting between us. The MNS is the only one reason.”
There have been reports of differences between Munde and Gadkari on various issues concerning the functioning of the state party unit.
Munde rubbished suggestions that infighting in the BJP’s state unit or at the centre had cost it dearly in Maharashtra.
“This talk about differences are wrong. It is only in public perception,” Munde’s whose relations with state BJP chief Nitin Gadkari has been under severe strain, said.
The ruling Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra appears set to retain power with its candidates leading in 119 of the 288 Assembly constituencies in the state.
Trends available from 267 constituencies showed that Opposition Shiv Sena-BJP combine is leading in 92 seats.
In the prestigious Amravati seat, Congress nominee and President Pratibha Patil’s son Raosaheb Shekhawat was trailing behind party rebel Sunil Deshmukh by 2,532 votes at the end of the first round of counting.
“This victory is the victory of Congress-NCP team,” Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who is leading from Bhokar in Nanded district, said.
Some of Chavan’s cabinet colleagues were trailing when reports last came in. They include Babanrao Pachpute (Shrigonda), Vijaysinh Mohite Patil (Pandharpur), Shobha Bachhav (Nashik) and Satish Chaturvedi (Nagpur East).