Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi (VBA) did not manage to win a single seat in the Maharashtra Assembly election out of the 235 seats they contested. However, in as many as 25 seats, the VBA made a crucial, decisive difference – a factor that could have potentially changed the overall result of the election as well.
A data analysis of the Maharashtra election results by The Quint shows that in 25 of the seats where the Congress/NCP candidate came second and the BJP/Sena candidate won, the margin of victory was smaller than the number of votes polled by the VBA.
Therefore, in these seats: (Cong/NCP votes + VBA votes) > BJP/Sena votes
Could These 25 Seats Have Changed the Game?
The BJP-Sena alliance won 161 seats, and the Cong-NCP+ alliance stands at 102. If the saffron alliance had lost the aforementioned 25 seats to the Opposition alliance, this is how the numbers would look:
- BJP-Sena: 161 - 25 = 136
- Cong-NCP+: 102 + 25 = 127
- Others: 25
In such a scenario, the BJP would have dropped down to 85, and the Sena to 51. The BJP-Sena alliance would have been 9 short of the majority mark of 145 in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, and the Opposition alliance would have been just another 9 seats behind them.
The question of who would form the government would then no longer be answered with certainty, as the race to cobble together a majority would have been wide open.
Seats Where VBA Made All the Difference
Here are the constituencies where the Congress candidate came second, and the margin of victory for BJP/Shiv Sena was less than the number of votes polled by VBA:
- Akola West - BJP
- Arni - BJP
- Ballarpur - BJP
- Chikhli - BJP
- Chimur - BJP
- Dhamamgaon railway - BJP
- Khamgaon -BJP
- Nagpur South - BJP
- Pune Cantonment - BJP
- Ralegaon - BJP
- Shivajinagar - BJP
- Tuljapur - BJP
- Yavatmal - BJP
- Chandivali - Shiv Sena
- Chembur - Shiv Sena
- Nanded North - Shiv Sena
The following are the seats where the NCP candidate came second, and the margin of victory for BJP/Shiv Sena was less than the number of votes polled by VBA:
- Chalisgaon - BJP
- Daund - BJP
- Georai - BJP
- Jintur - BJP
- Khadakwasala - BJP
- Malshiras - BJP
- Ulhasnagar - BJP
- Osmanabad - Shiv Sena
- Paithan - Shiv Sena
For example, in Chimur, the Congress polled 77,394 votes and the BJP secured 87,146 votes. The victory margin for the BJP over the Congress was 9,752.
The VBA received 24,474 votes, thereby taking the Cong + VBA tally up to 1,01,868 votes, which is far higher than what the BJP polled.
In Akola West, the Congress received 70,669 votes, losing to the BJP by a small margin of 2,593 votes. The VBA, with 20,687 votes, secured more than the victory margin here as well.
In Daund, the NCP lost to the BJP by a mere 746 votes. The VBA polled a paltry 2,633 votes – but it was still more than the margin of 746.
VBA’s Disappointing Performance
The fledgling VBA, which contested its first Assembly election this time around, may have overreached by choosing to put up candidates in as many as 235 seats. In fact, the VBA is the party which contested the highest number of seats in Maharashtra.
In hindsight, the party may feel that it could have done better by contesting fewer seats and focusing the party’s energies on those specific constituencies.
It won no seats, and came second in the following 9 constituencies.
- Akola East
- Solapur City North