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Understanding BJP’s Fall in Maharashtra Lok Sabha Polls, Here’s 6 Key Factors

Maharashtra was one of the two states that stopped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from securing a majority in the Lok Sabha elections. A state considered to have the potential to decide the right-wing saffron party’s fate did deliver. 

Maharashtra Lok Sabha Elections: How BJP fared

In Maharashtra, the BJP won only nine seats, down from the 23 the party had bagged in 2019. 

The Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena secured seven seats, and Ajit Pawar’s NCP managed only one, reducing the NDA’s total to 17 out of 48 seats in the state. In 2014, the undivided Sena-BJP alliance had won 43 seats.

After the poll results, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had urged the saffron party’s senior leadership to relieve him of his duties, taking ‘responsibility for the loss’. 

What are the possible factors that caused BJP’s decline?

Maratha Quota Row

Marathwada sends eight MPs to the Lok Sabha. However, the Mahayuti alliance’s dilemma with NCP (Ajit Pawar) camp’s Chhagan Bhujbal advocating the OBC cause and Manoj Jarange Patil fasting for a Maratha quota row led to their downfall. 

On many seats, the contests were seen as Maratha vs OBC. The Mahayuti candidates had to face the ire of Maratha voters.

Broken Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)

Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction joined hands with BJP to usurp the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government, breaking the Shiv Sena into two. BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis then welcomed Ajit Pawar with a broken Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and made Pawar the other Deputy Chief Minister. 

In the process, Shiv Sena and NCP were divided into two pieces. Right before Mumbai went to the polls, infographics on social media went viral, attempting to educate people on the different symbols of the newly formed factions and which alliance each kept its loyalties to. 

Maharashtra showed who their loyalties lie with. 

Mahayuti washing machine backfired?

The BJP and Eknath Shinde‘s Shiv Sena had taken several digs at ‘tainted’ leaders in the Maharashtra Congress, who were facing investigation from central agencies like the ED and CBI. However, days later, these same leaders were inducted into their parties, leaving the Congress with a cleaner image. 

Bringing in figures such as Ashok Chavan, Ajit Pawar, Bhavna Gawli, Pratap Sarnaik, Yamini Jadhav, and others who were previously under the scrutiny of ED and CBI for alleged corruption, failed to yield the desired results.

Maharashtra’s agrarian community angered

Agriculture has been a critical sector in Maharashtra that influences any election outcome. The central government’s move to enforce a 40 per cent duty on onions, coupled with an export ban, exacerbated the anger of agrarians towards the Shiv Sena (Shinde camp) and NCP (Ajit Pawar) which allied with the BJP in the Centre.

Further, Western Maharashtra’s sugarcane belt, Vidarbha and Marathwada’s cotton and soybean belt, and North Maharashtra’s onion farmers were evidently unhappy. 

NDA announced candidates late

The Opposition INDIA bloc harped on the indecisiveness that the Mahayuti alliance portrayed regarding seat-sharing and candidates for the Lok Sabha Elections. The delay in declaring names for constituencies like South Mumbai and North West Mumbai only added fuel to the fire. 

Maharashtra Dalits apprehensive of BJP

Dalits, constituting 10.5 per cent of the electorate in Maharashtra, wield significant political influence in a state revered as the ‘karmabhoomi’ of BR Ambedkar. The narrative propagated by the INDIA bloc, portraying an unchecked BJP majority government as a menace to the Constitution, has instilled apprehension within the Dalit community.

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Source: Live mint

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