Maharashtra Election Result 2019: Sharad Pawar's NCP Leads Opposition In Maharashtra, Congress Drops to 4th

Maharashtra Election Result 2019: The NCP had put up a tough fight in the run-up to the elections, with party chief Sharad Pawar seen as leading from the front.

Maharashtra Election Result 2019: Sharad Pawar's NCP Leads Opposition In Maharashtra, Congress Drops to 4th

Maharashtra Election Result 2019: Sharad Pawar had been state's youngest Chief Minister.

Mumbai:

Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party has surged ahead of the Congress to be the principal opposition party in Maharashtra. The party is leading in 54 seats, a big jump from the 41 it won in 2014.

The factionalised Congress, struggling to find its feet following the crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, is leading in 45 - a jump from the 42 seats it won in 2014. The margin, however, appears small in view of the number of seats it contested -- 147 in comparison to the NCP's 121 of the state's 288 seats.

The NCP had put up a tough fight in the run-up to the elections, with party chief Sharad Pawar seen as leading from the front. It was a contrast to the image of factionalism and infighting that the Congress presented, especially in Mumbai where its two key leaders -- Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam - were seen to be at loggerheads.

Mr Pawar had not contested in the elections. But his efforts allowed the NCP to trump the optics.

The images of the 78-year-old leader campaigning in pouring rain in Satara left an impression on the voters. The party is on brink of victory in the constituency with a fairly large margin.

The Congress and the NCP came together ahead of the elections, hoping for a better chance against the BJP.

The two parties had split in 2014 after a 15-year alliance, when the seat sharing deal had gone sour. While Sharad Pawar had accused Gandhi and Prithviraj Chavan of marginalising partners, the Congress had alleged that the NCP was backing the BJP.

Today, Sharad Pawar was gracious when asked whether he received no help from the Congress. "No , they did work hard. No issues or complaints regarding them," Mr Pawar told reporters.

Asked if they would still make a bid for power, Mr Pawar said, "The people have asked us to sit in the opposition and we accept that".

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