Fishing in troubled waters: Independents to gain ground in Maha polls

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Maha Assembly polls are scheduled on 15 October
Following the break up of India's two longstanding political partnerships, the ensuing Maha battle is headed for an exciting five-cornered contest, the first in over three decades. This 5 cornered contest gives the Independents best chance of winning in the ensuing polls.

A few days back two alliances -one a 25-year-old saffron alliance and the other a 15-year-old Congress-NCP snapped their ties.

This development could prove to be a bonanza for the smaller parties and the Independents.

This fractured contest where all the majors will test their own strength, have given the Independents a chance to show their might in October 15 elections. The Independents could act as spoiler in the polls.

Whooping number of Independents in fray
Nearly three times the number of Independents are expected to try their luck as compared to last Assembly polls. A total 7,666 candidates have filed their nominations, three-quarter of them are Independents or from less-known parties.

In the 2009 Assembly polls, about 1,820 Independents contested and won 24 seats. They got more than 15% of the votes which was significantly more than the smaller parties like the RPI or MNS.

Independents key players in sharply divided contest

As all the four majors have decided to go alone in the polls, the vote share is likely to be divided among more contenders. This will also reduce the margin of the victory in many seats. Under such situation, the votes polled by the Independent candidates could decide the outcome.

In the 2009 Assembly polls, the winning margin in at least 15 constituencies was less than 3,000.

Also, the divided votes could also lead to the victory of Independents in some seats.

Moreover, in case of a hung Assembly, the winning Independent candidates will play a crucial in the formation of the next Government.

Previous trend

In the 2009 election, about 1,820 Independents contested and won 24 seats. In 2004, 19 Independents became MLAs and in 1999, 12 won the elections. Independents scored the highest number in 1995 winning in 45 constituencies and grabbing almost a quarter of the votes cast.

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