The Nationalist Congress Party has proved its mettle in the assembly elections, party chief Sharad Pawar said on Thursday, as it became clear that the ruling Congress-NCP alliance will come back to power for a third time in Maharashtra. Senior leaders of the ruling coalition claimed that the people of the state had voted for development policies and good governance, hailing the win as the 'victory of the Cong-NCP team'.
Trends available from 267 constituencies showed that Opposition Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party combine is leading in 92 seats. Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is leading in 14 seats, the Third Front in 10 seats and others comprising mostly Congress-NCP rebels are leading in 31 seats.
In the prestigious Amravati seat, Congress nominee and President Pratibha Patil's son Raosaheb Shekhawat was trailing behind party rebel Sunil Deshmukh by 2,532 votes at the end of the first round of counting.
"This victory is the victory of the Congress-NCP team," said Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who is leading from Bhokar in Nanded district.
However, some of Chavan's cabinet colleagues including Babanrao Pachpute (Shrigonda), Vijaysinh Mohite Patil (Pandharpur), Shobha Bachhav (Nashik) and Satish Chaturvedi (Nagpur East) were trailing, at the end of the first round.
Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Finance Minister Dilip Walse Patil and NCP rebel Vilas Lande are leading in their respective constituencies. Chavan polled 20,631 votes at the end of the third round of counting. Bhujbal is leading with 5,109 votes in Yevla constituency after the first round.
Walse-Patil is leading from Ambegaon with 3,228 votes and Lande is ahead in Bhosari in Pune district. Pradeep Jaiswal, Shiv Sena rebel from Aurangabad, is leading with 3,212 votes. Jaiswal is former Sena Member of Parliament and the ex-mayor of Aurangabad.
Amit, son of Union minister and Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh, Pankaja, daughter of BJP General Secretary Gopinath Munde and Praniti, daughter of Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde, are leading from Latur, Parli and Solapur seats respectively. MNS candidate Bala Nandgaonkar was leading by over 1000 votes in Shivadi constituency in Mumbai.
Leader of Opposition in Legislative Aseembly Ramdas Kadam (Shiv Sena) was leading with 10,492 votes in Guhagar constituency in coastal Konkan region while BJP rebel Vinay Natu was at third position at the end of round four. Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi was leading from Mankhurd and Varsha Gaikwad of Congress was leading from Dharavi constituency in Central Mumbai.
Kalidas Kolambkar of Congress is leading from Sion-Koliwada with 14,723 votes. Nitin Sardesai of MNS is leading in Dadar-Mahim with 5,214 votes. MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar is leading with 10,697 from Worli constituency after the third round of counting. Former Union Minister Subodh Mohite of Congress was trailing by 3,894 votes over Gondwana Gantantra Party nominee Mallikaarjun Reddy in Ramtek segment.
Satish Chaturvedi of Congress was trailing by 2,461 votes over his BJP rival Krishna Khopde in Nagpur (East) at the end of second round of counting. After eight rounds, in Karjat constituency in Raigad district, NCP candidate Suresh Lad was leading over Sena's Devendra Satam.
In Alibaug, PWP nominee Meenakshi Patil was ahead by 7,172 votes against Madhu Thakur of Congress. In Shrivardhan, State Minister Sunil Tatkare of NCP was leading by nearly 6,000 votes over Sena's Tukaram Surve.
Maharashtra Ministers Ajit Pawar (NCP) and Harshwardhan Patil (Congress) were leading over their nearest rivals in Baramati and Indapur constituency respectively, according to initial trends available in Pune district.
In Ambegaon, Finance Minister Dilip Walse-Patil was leading over Shiv Sena's Kalpana Adhavrao Patil. In Shirur, Baburao Pacharne, an Independent, was ahead of Ashok Pawar (NCP). Vinayak Nihman (Congress) was leading in Shivajinagar constituency, while Shiv Sena's Chandrakant Mokhate was ahead in Kothrud constituency in Pune.
In Kolhapur district, Shiv Sena was leading in three constituencies, Kolhapur (North), Shahuwadi and Karveer, while the NCP was ahead in Chandgad and Kagal segments. Jansurajya Party, Swabhimani Party and Congress were ahead in Hatkanangale, Shirol and Kolhapur (South) respectively.
Minister and Jansurajya Party president Vinay Kore was trailing behind Satyajit Patil (Shiv Sena) in Shahuwadi. State Minister Hassan Mushriff and Assembly Speaker Baba Kupekar (both from NCP) were ahead in Kagal and Chandgad.
In Ichalkaranji, Congress' Prakash Awade was trailing his nearest BJP rival Suresh Halvankar after the third round of counting.