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The Battle for Maharashtra

State foils Sena-BJP's comeback bid

October 16, 2004 16:19 IST

Dashing the Shiv Sena-BJP combine's hopes of a comeback, the Congress-NCP on Saturday inched closer to retaining its hold on power bagging 139 seats in the elections to the 288-member Maharashtra assembly. The Sena-BJP won 121 seats.

The closely fought assembly election was the first major face-off between the Congress and the BJP after the United Progressive Alliance stormed to power dislodging the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre.

The much-hyped presence of Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party, who contested 272 seats and 95 seats resepectively, failed to make any significant impact on the results.

The efforts of NCP president Sharad Pawar, who addressed nearly 100 public meetings despite his ill-health, appeared to have paid rich dividends.

The Maratha strongman's position at the Centre will be strengthened, especailly with his party securing most of the winning seats for the secular alliance in Maharashtra.Congress president Sonia Gandhi's whirlwind tour of Maharashtra and the DF combine's sops for various regions of the state ahead of the polls appeared to have helped it to tide over any anti-incumbency wave.

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