Election Commission to announce Maharashtra, Haryana poll dates today

The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had contested the assembly polls in 2014 separately after sharing power for 15 years in the state.

Updated: Sep 21, 2019 09:55:55

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Image for representation (Getty Images)

The Election Commission of India is set to announce the assembly election dates for Maharashtra and Haryana at noon today.

While the tenure of the Haryana Legislative expires on November 2, the term of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly ends on November 8. The term of the 288-strong Maharashtra Assembly expires on November 8. In the outgoing Maharashtra house the BJP had 122, Shiv Sena 63, Congress 42 and Nationalist Congress Party 41 and others 20.

The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had contested the assembly polls in 2014 separately after sharing power for 15 years in the state. The two parties had parted ways following disagreements over seat-sharing. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single largest party with 122 seats and the Shiv Sena, which also fought separately, secured 63.

The Congress and NCP have already informally arrived at a seat-sharing formula. Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan recently said the Congress and NCP will fight about 123-125 seats each and leave 41 for smaller allies. He added that seats may be swapped based on consensus between the two parties.

The Congres has already finalized its first list where two former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan and state party chief Balasaheb Thorat are among senior leaders on the list of 104. On the other hand, the BJP and Shiv Sena are still in talks with Sena having upped the ante by deciding to field Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aditya Thackeray, first from the family to contest a poll.

Both the Congress and the NCP have been hit by desertions with senior leaders from both the parties defecting to the ruling BJP-Sena in the run-up to the elections. Last week, NCP’s Lok Sabha member from Satara Udyanraje Bhosale, a descendant of Maratha warrior king Shivaji, and senior Congress leader and former state minister Harshvardhan Patil joined the BJP.

In the April-May Lok Sabha elections, the Congress managed to get just one seat and NCP four. The BJP won 23 seats and its alliance partner, Shiv Sena, 18.

In Haryana, while the Manohar Lal Khattar’s government has already leapt into action with its statewide Jan Ashirwad Yatra that kicked off on August 18, the Congress seems to be just getting its act together. The change of guard at the last minute may not serve much purpose, feel experts. Battered in Lok Sabha polls in the state when the party failed to win any seat, the Congress picked Kumari Selja to oust Ashok Tanwar almost at the last minute. The three major opposition parties – the Congress, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) have been hampered by infighting, desertions and lack of strategy.

The fringe players like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Swaraj India do not have the political reach and the ability to make a dent on their own and are mere poll spoilers, say experts. The scenario seems to be working to the advantage of the ruling BJP, sitting pretty after the triumphant performance in the recent Parliamentary elections.


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