Mumbai/Chandigarh, Oct 19:
The BJP declared Sunday it will take power both in Maharashtra, where it finished the single largest group in a hung assembly, and Haryana, where it was poised to get a majority on its own. The Congress was humiliated in both places.
For the first time, the Bharatiya Janata Party had a clear mandate in Haryana but the party was poised to win only 119 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, falling well short of the 145 seats required for a simple majority.
But with the NCP offering unexpected “outside support” to it, leaving the runner up Shiv Sena high and dry, BJP president Amit Shah said in New Delhi that his party would “form the next government” in the state.
The NCP decision to give outside support could reduce the BJP’s need to lean on its estranged and long-time ally Shiv Sena, which it dumped before the bitterly contested Oct 15 polls.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel said Maharashtra needed stability and so the NCP was ready to prop up a BJP government. With the NCP’s expected 42 seats coming its way, the BJP can cross the threshold.
The Shiv Sena, which could end up with 61 seats, had earlier said it was ready to make up with the BJP, a sentiment shared by some of its leaders, including L.K. Advani.
“I hope the BJP and Shiv Sena will come together,” said Advani, one of those who was not happy with the BJP decision to dump its ally of 25 long years after a row over seat sharing ahead of elections.
The Congress, which with the NCP ruled Maharashtra for 15 years until their alliance collapsed before the elections, is expected to finish third in Maharashtra with 44 seats.
But Shiv Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut claimed that “all options” will still open for his party but he did not elaborate.
Not anticipating bonhomie between the BJP and NCP and thinking the BJP will seek his party’s aid, Raut said earlier: “Whatever happens, the chief minister will be from our party.”
The BJP credited the showing in Haryana and Maharashtra to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popular appeal.
Amit Shah said the victory in Haryana and the near victory in Maharashtra proved that the “Modi wave” which catapulted the BJP to power in the Lok Sabha battle was still intact.
Earlier, Maharashtra BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said that while no discussions had taken place with the Sena, “if the need arises, we expect our friends to support us”.
Shiv Sena leader Anil Desai added that the acrimony between his party and the BJP was history.
Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena cut a sorry figure and is likely to end up with just three seats. Independents and smaller parties could have 19 members.
The NCP blamed the Congress for the Maharashtra verdict. Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan accepted responsibility for the Congress rout.
In Haryana, the BJP was all set to discuss its chief ministerial candidate after the state voted it to power with a clear mandate.
Catapulting from just four seats in the 2009 assembly polls to 46 in a house of 90 members, the BJP will rule Haryana for the first time on its own.
Outgoing Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda of the Congress accepted defeat.
Said Kailash Vijayvargiya, in charge of the BJP affairs in Haryana: “People wanted a change. We worked very hard. The credit for our success has to go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.”
On the question of the BJP having too many candidates aspiring to be the chief minister in Haryana, Vijayvargiya said: “The party will collectively decide the next chief minister.”
The Congress won only 15 seats, down from its tally of 40 last time. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) would be the main opposition in the state with 18 or more seats.