Lok Sabha polls 2024, M’tra: Blow to BJP-NDA, boost for MVA-INDIA

Among the states that savagely cut down the odious Modi-Shah-led BJP regime to size in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections were the two states with the largest number of MPs in the country – Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Both these states are currently ruled by the BJP.

Significant victory for MVA-INDIA

In the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra in 2024, the people gave a remarkable 30 of the 48 seats to the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA-INDIA), an increase of 25 seats compared to 2019; voters gave only 17 seats to the NDA, a drop of 24 seats. An independent Congress rebel has won, and he has officially returned to the Congress, making the MVA total 31 out of 48 seats. Three Union Ministers of the BJP were defeated, along with 20 sitting MPs from the BJP-NDA.

The number of seats won and the votes secured by each party in Maharashtra in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections is telling: MVA-INDIA – Congress – 13/17 seats (16.9 %), Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) – 9/21 seats (16.7 %), NCP (Sharad Pawar) – 8/10 seats (10.3 %). NDA – BJP – 9/28 seats (26.1 %), Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde) – 7/15 seats (13 %), NCP (Ajit Pawar) – 1/4 seats (3.6 %), Rashtriya Samaj Party – 0/1 seat (0.8 %).

While these are certainly welcome developments, the voting percentage of the two fronts is far too close for comfort. For MVA-INDIA the percentage of voter support stands at 44 %, and for a while for the NDA it is 43.6 %.

In sharp contrast, the 2019 Lok Sabha election result for 48 seats was as follows: NDA – 41 seats (51.34 % votes), BJP – 23 seats (27.84 % votes), SS – 18 seats (23.5 % votes), UPA – 5 seats (32.01 % votes), NCP – 4 seats (15.66 % votes), INC – 1 seat (16.41 % votes), AIMIM (Aurangabad) – 1 seat (0.73 % votes), Independent (Amravati, later pro-BJP) – 1 seat (total of all independents and other smaller parties 3.72 % votes), Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA – Prakash Ambedkar) – 0 seats (6.92 % votes), Total – 48 seats (100 % votes).

The MVA fought the 2024 election with its back to the wall. Under pressure of the Modi regime, the Election Commission of India (ECI) gave both the name of the party and its symbol to the rebel SS and NCP factions led by Eknath Shinde and Ajit Pawar respectively. The original parties led by Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar were forced to take new election symbols. Money and media power were obviously largely controlled by the BJP. But the MVA fought back unitedly with grit and determination, and the people supported it.

The Maharashtra Lok Sabha results are even more significant because the state faces its Vidhan Sabha elections within just three more months, in October 2024.

A preliminary analysis of the Maharashtra Lok Sabha election results will reveal the following seven main reasons for the NDA setback and the MVA victory.

Corrupt and immoral Acts by BJP

First, the people were sick of the BJP and its corrupt and immoral acts in the state in the last two years, which resulted in the splits in the SS, and then in the NCP, and then again nibbling at some of the Congress leaders. Over 80 MLAs out of the 100-odd MLAs of the SS and the NCP together were induced to support the BJP by using a combination of threats and blandishments. It was through such dirty conspiracies that the discredited Shinde-Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar state government was brought into existence. The corrupt and unprincipled splintering of the SS and NCP led to a big sympathy wave for their original leaders and parties.

In such a situation, the veteran NCP leader of many battles Sharad Pawar, SS leader Uddhav Thackeray, and INC leader Nana Patole, spearheaded the resistance of the people against this political chicanery, and strengthened the unity of the MVA, which was further buttressed by the formation of the INDIA bloc at the national level. In the 2019 Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections also, Sharad Pawar had played a salutary role of fighting against the BJP.

The most high-profile Lok Sabha election contest in Maharashtra this time was between Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule, and Ajit Pawar’s wife Sunetra Pawar. Supriya Sule won by over 1.5 lakh votes. MVA leaders addressed scores of huge public meetings in their election campaign. In several constituencies, it became like an election of the people against the BJP.

Economic distress and struggles against this   

The second factor was clearly economic distress. The growing crisis in unemployment, inflation, agrarian distress, education, health, food security, and other sectors, and also the growing struggles on these issues in the state over the last few years, played a major part in ensuring the alienation of the people from the BJP-NDA.

In the agrarian sector, the falling prices of onions, cotton, soya bean, sugarcane, and milk, became a major issue. So also were the recurring droughts, unseasonal rains, and hailstorms, for which no relief was forthcoming. The anger of the scheme workers and other unorganised sections was palpable. On all these issues, there were sustained independent struggles and strikes by peasant and worker organisations in Maharashtra. As a result, the issue of economic distress had repercussions in all the regions of the state. As against the election campaign by Modi, Shah, Yogi, Nadda, Fadnavis, and other BJP leaders who only tried to create and intensify communal polarisation, the MVA-INDIA election campaign concentrated on these burning issues of the people.

Caste and reservations

The third factor was that of caste, and reservations. This was a direct result of the agrarian crisis and burgeoning unemployment. In the Marathwada region, where the Maratha quota stir was the most intense, the BJP could not win even a single of the eight MP seats in the region. In other regions also this issue hit the BJP. Another significant feature of this election was the massive support of Muslims and other minorities to the MVA-INDIA bloc. This support also extended to the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) group, because of it being a part of the MVA along with the Congress and the NCP, and also because Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister and later, had taken a balanced stand, which was the exact opposite of his father.

Spoilers checkmated

The fourth factor was the people themselves partly isolating the traditional spoilers like the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) led by Prakash Ambedkar, and the AIMIM led by Asaduddin Owaissi. Although the VBA put up its candidates in around 35 Lok Sabha seats, unlike in 2019, it could not fully achieve its desired aim of helping the BJP win. In the Akola Lok Sabha seat in Vidarbha, which Prakash Ambedkar himself contested, he came third behind the BJP and the Congress. In three other seats also, viz. Buldhana, Hatkanangale, and Mumbai North West, the votes polled by the VBA were more than the victory margins of the BJP-NDA candidates. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the VBA had helped the BJP-NDA to win in 11 seats.

Attack on Maharashtrian identity and pride   

The fifth factor was the attack on Maharashtrian identity and pride. In the past few years, a large number of industries and projects which had been earmarked for Maharashtra were arbitrarily shifted to Gujarat by the Modi regime. This was a source of great heartburn, because it adversely affected employment and development. On top of that, in his election speeches in Maharashtra, Modi insulted MVA leaders by calling Sharad Pawar a “bhatakti aatma” (wandering soul). He also called Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena a “nakli” (fake) Sena. All this was naturally seen by the people as insulting Maharashtrian identity and pride. This issue had big repercussions throughout the state.

Stiff competition to ‘Godi Media’ 

The sixth factor was that, even so far as the media is concerned, this time several popular independent media outlets and YouTube channels were seen by lakhs of people, giving a stiff competition to the corporate Godi media, and exposing its increasing loss of credibility. Also, several social organisations came together and hit the streets by organising their own public meetings and other imaginative programmes under different banners, like the ‘Nirbhay Bano Andolan’, ‘Nirdhar Maharashtracha (Determination of Maharashtra)’, and so on. With the encouraging poll results in the country and the state, this trend is sure to intensify in future.

Defence of democracy, secularism, and constitution    

And the seventh and last factor was, of course, the paramount issue in this whole election throughout the country – the defence of democracy, secularism, and the Constitution. The ‘400 paar’ slogan of the BJP was rightly interpreted by large sections of the people as showing its malignant intention to change and destroy the Constitution, and attack the rights given therein to the economically exploited and the socially oppressed. This became a major issue for Dalits, because Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar is regarded as one of the prime architects of the Constitution of India. But it was not an issue only for Dalits. It influenced large sections of the patriotic people in the state and the country. And the MVA-INDIA election campaign rightly concentrated on this issue. This concerted campaign had the desired impact.

Role of the Left

So far as the CPI(M) and the Left were concerned, the MVA did not leave any seat for them in the seat sharing, in spite of their concerted efforts. In the two seats of Dindori (ST) in Nashik district and Palghar (ST) in Palghar district, the CPI(M) has a mass base of around one lakh votes each. It also has a reasonable presence in some other seats. But the Party avoided fighting these seats outside the MVA, since it would have divided the secular vote and helped the BJP to win. CPI(M) activists all over Maharashtra did good and sustained work to ensure the victory of several MVA candidates. This was warmly acknowledged by the top leadership of the MVA itself. It is expected that the CPI(M) and the Left will contest some seats as part of the MVA in the coming state assembly elections.

After this salutary victory in the Lok Sabha elections, the MVA-INDIA bloc will have to be even more vigilant, and redouble its efforts and its inclusivity to throw the BJP-NDA out of power in the ensuing Vidhan Sabha elections in Maharashtra which will take place in October 2024.

(The author is Member, CPI (M) Polit Bureau and National President, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are the author’s personal views, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sabrangindia. 


M’tra: A blow to BJP-NDA, a shot in the arm for MVA-INDIA



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