M A I N   N E W S

Cong-NCP retains power
NCP single largest party, Mahajan concedes defeat
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, October 16
Mr Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party has emerged as the single-largest party in Maharashtra as the Congress-NCP-Republican Party of India alliance returns to power in the state.

The three-party alliance, which bagged 139 of the 288 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly, is, however, counting on support from smaller parties and Independents to stake claim for forming the government.

The NCP bagged 71 seats, a gain of 13, while the Congress won in only 69 seats, losing six places in the new assembly.

It is still not clear if the next Chief Minister of Maharashtra would be from the NCP. A final decision on this would be taken on Sunday, according to sources. Incumbent Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is from the Congress.

The opposing Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance comes a distant second with 117 members in the new assembly. The combine has conceded defeat. “We will sit it out for the next five years and play the role of a constructive Opposition,” BJP general secretary in charge of Maharashtra Pramod Mahajan told reporters after most of the results were declared.

The Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party drew a blank despite contesting 272 and 95 seats, respectively. In the 1994 elections the SP had won two seats, though both MLAs defected to the NCP.

Among the early winners were Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde from Solapur South. Deputy Chief Minister Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil and his predecessor Chhagan Bhujbal of the NCP were also winners. Other winners from the ruling camp included Mr Patangrao Kadam of the Congress and Jayant Patil of the NCP.

From the opposing side former Chief Minister Narayan Rane of the Shiv Sena and Mr Gopinath Munde of the BJP won from Malvan and Renapur, respectively.

Other prominent winners included former gangster Arun Gawli of the Akhil Bharatiya Sena from Chinchpokli, Mumbai, and Independents Madan Patil from Sangli and Satej Patil from Karveer.

Among the big losers were Mr Shinde's son-in-law, Mr Raj Shroff, who lost to Mr Mangal Prabhat Lodha of the BJP from Malabar Hill. Mr Bhujbal's son Pankaj also lost to Bala Nandgaonkar of the Shiv Sena from Mazgaon in Mumbai.

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