TODAY -
Cong wins Maharastra, AP; Haryana throws up hung House
Source: The Sangai Express / PTI

New Delhi, October 22 2009: The Congress coasted to power in Maharashtra for the third consecutive term and won a landslide victory in Arunachal Pradesh but its gamble in Haryana failed to pay off when it fell short of majority.

The Congress-NCP combine, which has been ruling Maharashtra for the past ten years, got 144 seats out of the total 288 seats needing one more for a simple majority.

With rebels of both the parties and independents winning 49 seats, the ruling alliance may not have difficulty in mustering a majority.

The Congress-NCP combine has marginally improved on its performance in the last elections when it got 140 .

Congress, which will continue to have the Chief Minister's post, has secured 79 seats and was leading in 3 seats while the NCP bagged 62 seats.

In the last elections, Congress had 69 and NCP 71 .

The fledgling Raj Thackeray-led MNS which made its debut in the assembly by scoring a dozen seats, played the spoilsport for the Shiv Sena-BJP combine.

The saffron combine secured 90 seats, 26 seats less than their 2004 tally of 116.BJP has got 45 seats and was leading in one while Shiv Sena got 43 and was ahead in one.

The spectacular showing in Arunachal Pradesh saw the Congress gain a two-third majority getting 42 seats in he 60-member Assembly against 34 it had won last time.

But, for the Congress the outcome in Haryana may have come as a shock with the party scrambling for numbers to cobble up a majority in the 90-member House.

In the fractured verdict, Congress emerged as the single largest party winning 40 seats, six short of majority.

The Congress-NCP victory led to jockeying for Chief Ministership in the Congress with Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh appearing to throw his hat in the ring.

However, he and incumbent Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said it was for the party High Command and MLAs to decide.

A feeble attempt by NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal for rotation of Chief Minister's post was dismissed by his party chief Sharad Pawar, who said the Congress will decide who will be its chief minister.

In the other camp, the BJP accepted defeat and blamed the split in Shiv Sena for the erosion of the saffron vote bank.

The Shiv Sena said it would analyse factors that led to the defeat before blaming anyone.

Chavan won from Bhokar in Nanded district, while several of his cabinet colleagues won but seven ministers lost.

President Pratibha Patil's son Rajendra Singh Shekhawat won from Amravati in a see-saw battle with Congress rebel Sunil Deshmukh.

The surprise results in Haryana showed that the Congress attempts to cash in on its spectacular performance in Lok Sabha elections when it won 9 of the 10 seats did not fructify.

Congress tally was reduced from 67 in 2005 to 40 today.

The party advanced the elections by seven months.

The opposition INLD led by Om Prakash Chautala put up a good showing winning 31 seats compared to nine it had in the dissolved Assembly.

While Congress may now look for the support of independents, who have won seven seats, to obtain a majority, Chautala has demanded that the Governor should invite the opposition parties first to give them an opportunity to form the government in Haryana.

"If the opposition unites, they can form a government," he said signalling the opposition parties to come on a single platform.

He demanded that Hooda resign on moral grounds and the Congress should not stake claim to form the government.

However, the Chief Minister, who had the satisfaction of winning with the largest margin of 71,200 votes from Garhi Sampla-Kiloi seat, said the Congress was all set to return to power for a second term.

He said he was a candidate for the top post but "not a claimant".

Of the 42 seats won by the Congress in Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and two others were elected unopposed.


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