The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance looked set to return to power in Maharashtra while Haryana could be a cliffhanger with no clear majority for either the BJP or the Congress, Election Commission trends indicated as votes for the assembly polls held this week were counted on Thursday.
While the BJP did not appear to be headed for the emphatic win it was expecting in the states it had ruled for five years, the Congress took a back seat to its partner NCP in Maharashtra but could substantially better its tally in Haryana, according to the trends available.
In Maharashtra, the BJP was leading in 102 of the 288 seats and its partner Shiv Sena in 61. The Congress was leading in 40 seats, behind its ally Nationalist Congress Party that was ahead in 52 seats, the Sharad Pawar-led party faring better than its parent party and performing well in Western Maharashtra. In 2014, the BJP had won 122 seats in the western state, the Sena 63, the Congress 42 and the NCP 41.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was leading over his Congress rival Ashish Deshmukh in Nagpur South West. Making his political debut, Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray established a comfortable lead in the Worli assembly constituency.
In Haryana, BJP leader Manohar Lal Khattar is seeking a return to power. The BJP was leading in 37 seats and the Congress in 31. In an electoral contest with no clear winner, Dushyant Chautala could well emerge kingmaker with his Jannayak Janta Party leading in 11 seats.
Taking a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s “Mission 75“, Chautala said it would fall way short of its target of winning 75 seats. Declaring that his party will hold the key to formation of the next dispensation, he told reporters, “People of Haryana want change.”
Both Khattar and his predecessor Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress were among those who were leading from Karnal and Garhi Sampla-Kiloi respectively, according to early trends. In 2014, the BJP won 47 seats and the Congress 15, with two Haryana Janhit Congress legislators later merging with it. The INLD had 19 seats and the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal one each. There were five Independents.