The ABP News-Nielson opinion poll survey has predicted clear doom for the Congress-led-alliance which has been ruling for the last 15 years and a historic win for BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the State.
What the survey predicted
According the survey, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance may get a two-thirds majority in Maharashtra.
The opinion poll predicted 210 of the 288 Assembly seats to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the State whereas it showed Congress reducing to 32 seats as compared to 82 it won last time and NCP to 23 as against previous record of 62.
BJP-Sena alliance won 41 seats, while NCP-Congress got 6 seats in 2014 LS polls
Also, in a major jolt to the BJP cadre which since the Lok Sabha poll demanding for going alone in the State polls, the pre-poll survey said that preserving its existing alliance with Shiv Sena would be important for BJP to form the government in Maharashtra.
The opinion poll was conducted in 117 assembly constituencies between July 22 and August 6 in Maharashtra.
The 2009 Assembly elections
The opinion poll also says if there is no alliance in the State and all parties chose to go alone, BJP is likely to emerge as the single largest party with 112 seats, followed by Shiv Sena with 62 seats, Congress 45 and NCP 38 seats.
In the 2009 Assembly polls, the Sena contested 169 seats, while the BJP fought from 119. The BJP won 46 seats and the Sena 44. While in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, BJP-Shiv Sena alliance backed 41 seats, while the NCP-Congress got only 6 seats.
Challenges for the saffron alliance
The pre-poll survey might be predicting BJP-Shiv Sena combo returning to power after 15 years but the relationship between the two old allies is going through ups and downs for quite some time now. The alliance has not even managed to agree on seat sharing till date.
Buoyant by its success in recently concluded Lok Sabha poll, the aggressive BJP cadre is demanding the Central leadership to snap its 28-year-old alliance with Sena and go alone in the State Assembly poll. But, Prime Minister and new party president have shot down the demands saying the party leaders should strengthen the alliance with an objective of ending Congress-NCP rule in the State. The BJP bagged 23 seats compared to 18 by Sena in Lok Sabha polls.
This time both Shiv Sena and BJP are member of Mahayuti which has four more regional parties under its umbrella. The Republican Party of India has demanded 35 seats while the Swabhimani Shetkari Party is insisting on 65. The Rashtriya Samaj Party and Shiv Sangram are seeking 20 each. In whole they have demanded 115 seats, leaving only 173 seats to contest for BJP and Shiv Sena.
The pre-poll survey might be presenting the picture in their favour. But, the Sena-BJP alliance should tighten their belt if they really want a comeback. They should conclude their seat-sharing talks at the earliest and allow their candidates to have some headway in campaigning.