Saturday, October 24, 2009

Assembly Elections: Congress Continues Winning Steak

Continuing its winning streak five months after its success in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has got a shot in the arm when it notched up victories in Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh Assembly polls but the celebrations were somewhat subdued as the party’s performance in Haryana was clearly not up to expectations.

The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine returned to power for the third consecutive term in Maharashtra with 144 seats in a 288-member Assembly. The party also raced to a spectacular win in Arunachal Pradesh for the second time, winning 42 of the 60 seats in this north-eastern state. These victories will strengthen Congress’s position at the Centre, giving it a clear edge over its allies, especially the NCP which has been forced to accede to its partner’s dominant role in Maharashtra.

In contrast to the other two states, the outcome of the Haryana elections proved disappointing for the Congress. The party was hoping for a sweeping victory after it won nine of the ten Lok Sabha seats.

Of the 288 Assembly berths in Maharashtra, the Congress-NCP combine won 144 seats (four more than in the last Assembly), needing one more for a simple majority. On its own the Congress won 82 seats (69 in the last Assembly election). The Sharad Pawar-NCP was victorious in 62 seats (71 in the last Assembly election).
Congress candidate Rajendra Shekhawat, son of President Pratibha Patil, won from Amravati, defeating Congress rebel Sunil Deshmukh by 5,614 votes.

The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance was confined to only 90 Assembly berths, far behind its 2004 tally of 116. Raj Thackeray led his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena to victory in a dozen seats, tripping up the saffron combination. The BJP alone won 46 seats and Shiv Sena 44. Former Speaker and Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi said on record that the BJP-Sena loss was "due to the MNS cutting into our vote banks".

Of the 90 Assembly berths in Haryana, the Congress managed 40 seats, 27 less than in the 2005 Assembly polls. The Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD with 31 seats in its kitty (nine in 2005) demanded that the governor first give the Opposition parties an opportunity to form the government. The Congress will take stock of the Haryana outcome and state chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda would be meeting the top leadership, including party president Sonia Gandhi. Sources disclosed that parleys are on to rope in the Independents to form a majority in the Assembly. Of the seven Independents, four were Congress rebels.

The INLD, which was routed in the last Assembly polls, made an impressive comeback. It had won only nine seats in 2005; this time it won 31.

Arunachal Pradesh
The NCP improved its tally to five seats from the two seats won by it in 2004. The All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), which made the electoral debut in the border State, also won five seats to finish at the second position jointly with the NCP. The BJP, which contested in 18 seats, managed to win three seats. It won nine seats in 2004.

The People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), the lone regional party to have contested the polls, won four seats to finish third while one seat was won by an Independent candidate.

Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and nine of his Cabinet colleagues were re-elected. Khandu has already scripted political history by getting elected unopposed for a record third time from the Mukto Assembly constituency in Tawang district that borders China. He was elected unopposed from the same constituency in 1999 and 2004.

Results At Glance
Maharashtra: 288 Congress-NCP: 144 (Cong: 82, NCP: 62) BJP-Shiv Sena: 90 (BJP: 46, Sena: 44) MNS: 13 Others: 41.

Haryana: 90 Congress: 40 INLD: 31 SAD: 1 HJC: 6 BJP: 4 Others: 8

Arunachal Pradesh: 60 Congress: 42 TMC: 5 NCP: 5 BJP: 3 PPA: 4 Others: 1.

No comments: