In Maharashtra, OGs Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar Stand Tall

Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar factions fought the polls in alliance with Congress


Their parties were split, symbols taken, names changed, but Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray and Sharadchandra Pawar have proven that they lead the real Shiv Sena and the real Nationalist Congress Party.

Thirteen hours into the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls, Team Thackeray is set to win 10 Maharashtra seats and Mr Pawar’s NCP eight. Their breakaway factions — Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar’s NCP — have clocked a score of six and one seats, respectively. Overall, the INDIA bloc is set to win 31 out of 48 seats in Maharashtra. The NDA bloc is winning 16 seats. 

As Team Thackeray surged ahead, posters came up outside its office Sena Bhavan. “Who is the real Sena? People have shown.”

Maharashtra is among the states where the NDA has taken a big dent as compared to 2019. In no other state has the political landscape altered between two elections as in this key state. In 2019, the BJP and the Shiv Sena were in an alliance. Together, they won 41 out of 48 seats. The NCP won four seats and the Congress one.

The time-tested BJP-Sena alliance swept the state polls together later that year, but the tie-up fell through over the Chief Minister’s post. Mr Thackeray then tied up with NCP and the Congress to form the state government. Two-and-a-half years into his term, Mr Thackeray was in for a rude shock — his close aide and Sena loyalist Eknath Shinde led a mutiny that would topple his government and split his party. What’s worse, Mr Shinde tied up with the BJP to form the new government and become its Chief Minister.

As the Maha Vikas Aghadi of Congress, Team Thackeray and NCP regrouped, another shock was in the offing. NCP veteran Sharad Pawar faced a revolt from within his family. His nephew Ajit Pawar led a rebellion that made the octogenarian launch a battle for his identity.

The trends so far said the fights of both leaders have paid off. The numbers, if they hold till the end of counting, will also be a big boost to the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s morale for the state polls later this year.

Addressing the media, Mr Pawar said that this election represents change in the country and Maharashtra has played a big role. “I am proud of the people of Maharashtra,” he said, adding that the INDIA alliance leaders will hold a meeting tomorrow.