Pune, May 16 UNI | 3 months ago

The BJP-led Mahayuti (grand alliance) was leading on 41 out of total 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra riding on the Modi wave along with the fragmentation of Dalit votes, signalling clear rout of the Congress-NCP combine in the state.

The presence of Ramdas Athavale-led faction Republican Party of India (RPI) in the Mahayuti led to the division of Dalit votes, considered as the traditional support base of the Congress, in many parts of Maharashtra. The fragmentation of Dalit votes helped the saffron alliance win 12 seats in the state, where they had lost in the 2009 elections.

The seats where the saffron alliance was defeated in 2009 Lok Sabha polls were Pune, Ramtek, Latur, Bhiwandi, Thane, Mumbai North, Mumbai North-East, Mumbai North- West, Osmanabad, Bhiwandi, Ratnagari-Sindhudurg and Sangli.

With major Dalit votes situated in pockets of Marathwada, Mumbai and Western Maharashtra, their vote share has been decisive in these constituencies.

Mr Athavale had lost in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and he had blamed the Congress for it. He joined the saffron alliance after complaining that the Congress and NCP had kept the RPI away from power.

Traditionally, the RPI had been with the Congress or NCP, and had contested elections with them. The RPI has been predominantly the party of Mahars, who had embraced Buddhism along with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.

(Posted on 16-05-2014)