Maharashtra Elections: The Great, The Good, and the Unexpected


Before we delve into election numbers and statistics, let us have a sneak peek into why the elections of Maharashtra are important. Maharashtra is the second most populous state of India. It has the largest economy in India. Although 64.14% of the people’s livelihood depends on agriculture and related activities, Maharashtra is India’s leading industrial state. It contributes 13% of the national industrial output and is the second-largest exporter of software. While everyone was preparing for Navratri and Diwali, the political parties campaigned in cities and rural areas all across Maharashtra.

The Maharashtra elections took place on 21st October 2019, while the votes were counted on 24th October 2019. The Maharashtra election is the first election after the Lok Sabha elections. It provides a test for BJP’s and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity on a local level. These are some things you need to know about the Maharashtra Elections:

1. Campaigns- The call to vote

BJP concentrated on national issues like Article 370 and Kashmir throughout its campaign, while the electorate had several worries that went unanswered. The problems of the electorate revolved around economic slowdown, job losses, agrarian distress, floods, droughts, and bread-and-butter issues. Congress was deep in its internal matters and had a lacklustre campaign. While BJP’s and Congress’s campaign was underwhelming in numerous regions, NCP arose with Sharad Pawar on the front end. The dominant Maratha community in western Maharashtra leaned towards his energetic rallies. The ED case against Pawar ahead of the polls only strengthened his campaigning. One of the pictures which went viral was where the 79-year-old, drenched in water, was campaigning in Satara.

2. Alliances and Results- Friends for power

National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a pre-election alliance with Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena was formed. United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was formed with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Indian National Congress (INC). This assembly election was held to elect 288 members of the State’s Legislative Assembly. The total voter turnout was at 63% of the 8.9 Crore voters, which is nearly identical to that of the 63.38% voter turnout of 2014 assembly elections. NDA won a majority with 161 seats while the UPA won 104 seats. 

This came as a massive surprise as the NDA was expecting a tremendous win. As compared to the 2014 elections, they lost 24 seats, and a 5% swing against was seen. The loss in BJP seats has provided Shiv Sena with a better ground for negotiations. According to a promise made by Amit Shah, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Shiv Sena demands a 50:50 formula. This means that the post of Chief Minister will be shared by BJP and Shiv Sena for 2.5 years each.

3. What is important?

Congress and NCP performed well in the Vidarbha region, which supported BJP in the last two elections. The NDA strengthened their position in the Konkan and Khandesh region but lost their foothold in the Marathwada region. Many voters opted for other local parties. This shows that in state elections, you cannot brush aside local issues. While the NDA forms the government in Maharashtra, this election serves as a warning bell for them.

4. The power of NOTA

NOTA or ‘None of the Above’ is an option on the EVM, which allows the voters to show their disapproval of the candidates. An unexpected turn of events was seen when NOTA was viewed as a better option by several in Maharashtra. The voters who opted for NOTA nearly doubled from 2014. An unprecedented 7,42,134 voters opted for NOTA as opposed to 4,60,741 in 2014. NOTA secured the second position in two seats. One of them was the Latur Rural Assembly Segment of Central Maharashtra. 

There was a total of 15 candidates in the Latur Constituency, and nearly 13.78 percentage of the voters in the region opted for NOTA.

The winning candidate received 67% votes. Although NOTA is increasing in popularity, it doesn’t have any effect on the elections. Even if 99% of voters opt for NOTA, there will be no re-election. The candidate who received 1% votes will be elected. There has been a proposal to amend this, but it hasn’t been implemented yet. NOTA pushes the parties to listen to the people and work for them. Without significant changes to the rules, NOTA will not have a huge impact on the elections.

This election shows that the same campaign produces different results on different levels, even if one party has been dominating. This ensures that, in the end, it lies in the voters’ hands to make or break the government and the fortunes of the parties.

- Written by Sunidhi Shende
- Edited by Maitreyi Mehndiratta

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Maharashtra Elections: The Great, The Good, and the Unexpected Maharashtra Elections: The Great, The Good, and the Unexpected Reviewed by EMN on November 02, 2019 Rating: 5

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