Congress set to form govt in Maharashtra
MUMBAI: India’s ruling Congress party won power in a key state on Saturday after it emerged as the largest group in elections, the first major political test since its victory in national polls in May.
Congress and its allies won 139 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra state assembly at the end of counting, NDTV news network said. Though that is still short of the halfway mark of 145 seats, the alliance is expected to easily form a government with the support of smaller, pro-Congress groups. The opposition Hindu nationalist alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won 120 seats while independents and smaller parties got the rest. The strong Congress performance is expected to boost Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s minority national coalition.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who had vowed to shave off her head if Sonia Gandhi became Prime Minister, on Saturday gave credit to the Congress president for the Cong-NCP victory in Maharashtra Assembly elections.
As news of BJP-Shiv Sena defeat trickled in she said that credit should also go to Gandhi as she was the president of the Congress party and it was winning.
Accepting defeat in the Assembly polls, she said that the Congress-NCP combine would be forming the government as it campaigned on the issue of the development. “The campaign was if you want development, vote for a government headed by the same party at the Centre. This has clicked.”
“The game is over for us,” Swaraj said when asked whether the BJP was accepting the trends, which showed Congress-NCP alliance retaining power in the state. To a question, she said that issues like Hindutva and Veer Savarkar were not an electoral issue in the BJP campaign.
It’s big win for the Congress and its allies. It reaffirms the leadership of Sonia Gandhi,” said Mahesh Rangarajan, a New Delhi-based political analyst. Gandhi spent several days in the state campaigning for her party.
The elections in Maharashtra were held months after the Congress party and its allies won a surprise victory over the BJP in national elections. agencies