Mumbai: Despite high hopes, the Congress has been all but wiped out in Maharashtra in the 2019 Lok Sabha (LS) polls. The grand old party could win only one seat in the state i.e. Chandrapur with its candidate Suresh Dhanorkar. The performance has been worse than the 2014 polls in which it won two seats in the state.
Despite the many rallies that Rahul Gandhi addressed in Maharashtra, the citizens preferred Prime Minister Narendra Modi over him.
Apart from Mumbai, even senior leaders of the party like former chief minister Ashok Chavan, former home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Manikrao Thakre lost from constituencies which had been their strongholds. No exit poll even considered that Mr Chavan would lose from the Nanded
Many factors have contributed to the defeat of the Congress. The Prakash Ambedkar and All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM)-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) cut into many votes of the Congress-NCP combine in the state. The Congress’ traditional voter base comprising Muslims and Dalits got divided between the UPA and the VBA in this LS election. Due to the VBA, Mr Thakre and Mr Shinde lost their seats.
Leaders the likes of Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Abdul Sattar and Kalidas Kolambkar had helped the UPA candidates, but Congress leaders failed to pursue or retain them within the part. Vikhe-Patil was staking claim to the Ahmednagar seat for his son but NCP chief Sharad Pawar refused to vacate the seat.
Mr Sattar made claims to the Aurangabad seat but then started meeting chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and other BJP leaders. The Congress rusticated him due to which Mr Sattar gave full support to Harshwardhan Jadhav, independent candidate and son-in-law of BJP state president Raosaheb Danve. Mr Kolambkar was also seen campaigning for Shiv Sena candidate Rahul Shewale due to which Congress votes went to the latter.
Mr Chavan told the media that he had accepted the results as well as the defeat of the Congress in Maharashtra. “It is sad that Congress workers had raised many public issues and held protests and agitations against the Modi government but we couldn’t win the majority of seats,” he said. He also appealed to workers not to lose hope.
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