Maharashtra was a clash of alliances between the BJP-Shiv Sena and the Congress-NCP in the backdrop of severe drought in its villages
Most exit polls predicted that the NDA would get more than 200 out of the 288 seats in the state
New Delhi: Even when it looks like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will comfortably return to power in Maharashtra, early trends indicate that voters may not be happy with the performance of the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government amid economic downturn and agrarian distress.
Elections to Maharashtra’s assembly that has 288 seats were a clash of alliances--the BJP-Shiv Sena and the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)--in the backdrop of severe drought in some of its villages, exacerbated due to poor irrigation coverage.
Though these are early trends, the outcome is crucial for Prime Minister Narendra Modi because chief minister Fadnavis was handpicked by him after the BJP won elections in 2014. Fadnavis is known to have been to Modi since the latter was the chief minister of Gujarat.
The results may throw a surprise for BJP in the state hit by agrarian distress. The BJP campaigned on issues of abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A and making the practice of instant triple talaq illegal. Most exit polls have forecast that the NDA would get more than 200 of the 288 seats in Maharashtra.
If the trends from the Election Commission are an indicator, then the NCP may have fared better than the Congress. The NCP was leading in 51 seats, while its ally Congress was ahead in 37 constituencies. In 2014, the NCP won only four Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and in the assembly elections held in the October of the same year, it won just 41 seats.
Aware of the enormity of the task at head, Pawar, a protege of Yashwantrao Chavan, himself led the NCP’s campaign in the assembly elections.
This after the NCP was routed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena alliance in the Lok Sabha elections. NCP is fighting for survival in the recently concluded assembly polls. The incumbent BJP-Shiv Sena contested 164 and 124 seats respectively, and took on Congress-NCP alliance which contested 147 and 121 seats respectively.
These elections also come amid a severe demand slowdown in the economy. Asia’s third-largest economy grew at its slowest pace in six years in the June quarter at 5%. The International Monetary fund (IMF) slashed its economic growth forecast for India to 6.1% for the current fiscal from its July projection of 7%, citing weaker than expected outlook for domestic demand. IMF also lowered India's FY21 GDP growth forecast by 20 bps to 7.2%.