Winners thank opposition, losers blame EVMs

Winners thank opposition, losers blame EVMs

New Delhi: As the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) emerges victorious in Maharashtra, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena appears to be groping in the dark to find reasons for their third defeat in a row. And now they seem to have hit upon the culprit – Electronic Voting Machines!

The Congress and NCP leaders, who had privately admitted that the coalition might need rebels and independents in big way to return to power, are obviously upbeat at the early leads. At 10.40 am, Congress was leading in 81, NCP in 54, Shiv Sena in 53, BJP in 48 and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which seemed to have eaten into both the sides’ vote share, had a lead in 12 seats.

Although surprised at their own performance, the ruling alliance leaders admitted that their victory could be attributed to the poor state of the opposition too. “The BJP-Shiv Sena failed to create confidence among the voters," NCP chief Sharad Pawar told reporters in Delhi. Pawar however did not forget to remind his alliance partners that the NCP made a large compromise. “But now we have proved our mettle," he said.

The NCP, which contested 157 of the total 288 seats in 2004, had to come down to 114 in this election after Congress insisted on fielding candidates in a greater number of seats. The NCP’s poor performance in the 2009 general election – it won only eight of the 22 seats it contested while the Congress won 17 of 26 – forced the party to surrender to Congress pressure this time.