Maharashtra polls: BJP to emerge single largest party, Sena likely to demand CM post for Thackeray
Mumbai, Oct 24: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to emerge as the single largest party in Maharashtra, but the uncertainty hangs over the Chief Minister's post. The counting of votes for elections held across 288 seats of Maharashtra is underway and as of 11 am on Thursday, the BJP is leading in 98 seats and its ally Shiv Sena is leading in 63 seats.
The NDA has crossed the majority mark in Maharashtra but neither Sena nor the BJP can form the government on their own. Shiv Sena supported the BJP government in 2014 and Devendra Fadnavis was made the chief minister.
This time, the Shiv Sena had suggested power-sharing if the alliance forms the government. The BJP seemed unrelenting as the party leaders firmly backed Fadnavis. Aaditya Thackeray, the grandson of Bal Thackeray, is contesting his first elections from Worli and is likely to win. Several Shiv Sena leaders, while speaking to the media today, are now demanding that Thackeray be made the chief minister.
"BJP and Sena will form the government. No doubt. We will have a discussion with Uddhav Thackeray and responsibility will be shared equally between BJP and Sena," Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut was quoted as saying.
Both the parties may win less number of seats than they won in 2014.
The Congress and the NCP are at third and the fourth spots, with leads in 40 and 51 seats, respectively. Voting in Maharashtra's 288 constituencies and Haryana's 90 constituencies was held on October 21. In Maharashtra, 61.3 per cent voters turned up to cast their vote while the voter turnout in Haryana was 68.31 per cent.
Most exit polls had predicted that the BJP-Shiv Sena combine in Maharashtra will cross the 200-mark.