Mumbai: Saffron is set to return to Maharashtra for the second time in its history with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s grand alliance winning 122 of the State’s 288 seats and now set to form the government. However, the Modi momentum failed to win a clear mandate, leaving the BJP dependent on allies.
The BJP is spoilt for choice with overtures from both its former ally the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) which has offered unconditional outside support. In fact the NCP’s offer strengthens the BJP’s bargaining position with the Shiv Sena, which has won only 63 seats. The BJP made it clear that a reunion with the Shiv Sena would only be on its own terms. “We did not break the alliance with the Shiv Sena. We have won more seats in the state than the Sena was willing to part with,” said BJP President Amit Shah. The two parties share power in several municipalities, including Mumbai. While the BJP’s State President Devendra Fadnavis is the front-runner for the Chief Minister’s post, the party will send senior leaders Rajnath Singh and J.P. Nadda as observers as the newly elected MLAs elect a person of their choice for the top post. The ruling Congress and its former ally the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were routed in a state considered a Congress bastion. The Congress won just 42 seats, its worst ever tally.