New Delhi: The people’s verdict on who will rule Maharashtra and Haryana for the next five years will be revealed today as the counting of assembly election votes begins at 8 am. The BJP, which is ruling both states — Maharashtra in alliance with the Shiv Sena — is seeking a second term. The counter provided by the Congress, and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, its ally in Maharashtra, has been seen as tepid. Exit polls have predicted a BJP victory in both states. Exit polls, however, can get it wrong. A BJP win will be seen as an endorsement of the Narendra Modi government’s policies after its re-election — including the move to scrap special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the National Registry of Citizens — which were the central themes of its campaign. Counting of votes for bypolls in 17 states and one Union Territory will also be held today.
Here are the top 10 updates on Maharashtra and Haryana election results
- Election was held for 288 assembly seats of Maharashtra, of which the BJP contested 150 and the Shiv Sena 124. The rest had gone to the smaller allies. The majority mark lies at 145. The Sena-BJP alliance currently holds 217 seats, the Congress and the NCP 56 seats.
- An aggregate of 11 exit polls indicated the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance might win 211 seats in Maharashtra. The Congress and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party might manage to win 64 seats, a shade higher than 56 seats they scraped together last time.
- In Haryana, the BJP is likely to win 66 of 90 seats, indicated the aggregate of seven exit polls, and the Congress may be limited to 14. The majority mark is 46. A BJP victory will bring Manohar Lal Khattar back in the top post, despite the mixed track report of five years.
- Counting of votes will also be held for 51 assembly seats and two Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 states, where by-elections were held on Monday. The BJP and its allies held nearly 30 of these assembly seats, the Congress 12. The rest were with regional parties.
- Counting will be held in Uttar Pradesh, which is seeing a mini assembly election of sorts, with bypolls on 11 seats, Besides there are six seats in Gujarat, Bihar (5 seats), Assam and Punjab (4 seats each), Kerala (5 seats), Sikkim (3 seats), Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu (2 seats each) and one seat each in Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Meghalaya and Telangana.
- In Maharashtra, the BJP has chosen to continue its alliance with Shiv Sena, despite their roller-coaster relationship over the last five years. The two parties had come together after a brief breakup when in 2014, neither succeeded in getting majority on its own. The Sena since had been a vocal critic of the BJP-led government’s policies at the state and the Centre.
- This time, the Shiv Sena – though given fewer seats than the 50:50 division it wanted — has been offered the post of the Deputy Chief Minister in case of a victory. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will continue to helm the government, the BJP has announced.
- The Sena candidate for the Deputy Chief Minister’s post is likely to be Aaditya Thackeray, who became the first person in his family to contest elections since his grandfather Bal Thackeray formed the party.
- The BJP had spun its campaign around the national themes as the opposition attempted to highlight multiple local issues – unemployment, farm crisis, farmers’ suicides and the slowdown of the economy. It would also indicate a changing election narrative, where the focus has shifted from local to national issues even when voters choose a local representative.
- For the opposition, especially the Congress, a loss will come as a further setback as the party struggles to find its feet after the devastating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections and the subsequent crisis over leadership as Rahul Gandhi stepped down from the party’s top post. While the BJP deployed a galaxy of leaders to campaign in Maharashtra and Haryana, with PM Modi addressing 16 rallies and Amit Shah 25, Congress’s Rahul Gandhi only addressed seven rallies. His mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressed none; her lone rally in Haryana was cancelled and Rahul Gandhi was stand-in.
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