Goa, Gujarat, and Maharashtra: What will happen?

Anticipation is high despite exit polls predicting a landslide victory for the NDA. Critical contests in the States could define the ultimate outcome.

Published : Jun 03, 2024 13:15 IST - 6 MINS READ

A child holding the Shiv Sena (UBT) symbol (flaming torch) during party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s public meeting at Dharashiv, Maharashtra.

A child holding the Shiv Sena (UBT) symbol (flaming torch) during party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s public meeting at Dharashiv, Maharashtra. | Photo Credit: JOTHI RAMALINGAM B

Only a few hours remain until the final outcome of the fierce 2024 Lok Sabha election battle. Although exit polls predict a landslide victory for the ruling BJP-led NDA, the curiosity surrounding the verdict has surpassed the predictions. Goa, Gujarat, and Maharashtra together hold 76 seats, of which the BJP won 50 in 2019 and 51 in 2014. The NDA won 68 seats in 2019 when the undivided Shiv Sena was part of the alliance.

Holding these 50 seats is crucial for the BJP’s claim on the Delhi throne. Here are the factors to watch on June 4 from these States:


The tiny western coastal state has two Lok Sabha seats. The BJP had won both in 2014 and one (North Goa) in 2019. This time, the party has again fielded its five-term MP Shripad Naik from North Goa. He is fighting both anti-incumbency and veteran Goan politician Ramakant Khalap.

Also Read | In Goa, a glaring disconnect between people’s concerns and political narrative

In South Goa, the BJP has given a ticket to mining baron Pallavi Dhempe. She is contesting in the Congress stronghold of South Goa. The Congress candidate is Navy veteran and environmental activist Captain Viriato Fernandes. Whether both parties hold their North and South Goa forts or breach the other’s is an important question.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf gave the BJP a 100 per cent success rate in 2014 and 2019, winning all 26 seats both times. Will it be able to achieve a hat-trick in 2024 is the key question. In Gujarat, the Congress has formed an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The Congress is contesting 24 seats, while the AAP is contesting two.

This election saw an unusual scene in Gujarat when the BJP announced its candidate list. The party high command faced anger from cadres, forcing it to change two candidates in Vadodara and Daman. Another factor that seems to be hurting the BJP is anger among the Kshatriya community. Union Minister and Rajkot candidate Parshottam Rupala allegedly made derogatory comments against the Rajput Kshatriya community. He apologised, but the community’s demand to revoke his candidacy was never obeyed, resulting in constant protests during the election period. The impact of these protests on the electoral outcome needs to be seen on June 4.

Also Read | The BJP is confident of pulling off a hat-trick in Gujarat

A few seats like Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Patan, Mehsana, Amreli, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Junagadh, Bharuch, and Valsad are perceived as close fights this time. The BJP’s internal rivalries and the united campaign of Congress and AAP workers have brought these seats into contention. However, whether the INDIA bloc will be able to convert these into winning seats is the question.


India’s biggest western State has become a talking point throughout this election for known reasons. To gain the upper hand, the BJP split two local parties—the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)—by using investigative agencies. This has reportedly created a sympathy wave for the original factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar. The test of the gravity of that sympathy is happening for the first time in this Lok Sabha election, with results coming on June 4.

All exit polls have predicted a decline in the BJP’s tally from 2019, when it won 23 seats on its own and the Shiv Sena won 18, totalling 41 for the NDA. How much of a dent the opposition alliance will be able to make remains to be seen.

Other factors in Maharashtra have made the situation more complex. The Maratha reservation demand from the OBC quota has sharpened caste lines in almost 30 Lok Sabha constituencies. If there is Maratha consolidation for the INDIA bloc, then a reverse OBC consolidation for the NDA could also have occurred. So which side surpasses the other in electoral mathematics is another factor to watch.

Also Read | Local issues over national slogans: A reporter’s diary from Maharashtra and Gujarat

Almost 20 years later, a Maratha–Muslim–Dalit (MMD) combination has reportedly taken place in Maharashtra, which was the Congress’s winning formula in the 1970s. While Muslim consolidation was visible, whether Dalits went behind INDIA is not yet proven, as Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi won 7.65 per cent votes in 2019 when allied with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. Although that alliance no longer exists, Ambedkar’s claims on Dalit votes are still not electorally challenged. The 2024 results will give an idea about his hold on Dalit votes.

The BJP engineered splits in the Shiv Sena and the NCP, with Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar’s NCP now allies. Were these parties successful in transferring votes to the BJP? Do these factions have their own vote share? These questions will be answered on June 4, giving the BJP an idea to recalibrate its strategy for the upcoming Assembly election in October.

If these parties become a burden for the BJP, the saffron party could dump them, leading to another twist in Maharashtra politics. If the BJP fails to win a majority on its own nationally and needs the numbers of Ajit Pawar and Eknath Shinde in Delhi, then the future of these two groups will be bright for a few more years. In short, the canvas of Maharashtra politics will change post-June 4.

Close fights

In Gujarat, the battles in Banaskantha and Bharuch have taken everyone by surprise. In Banaskantha, two-term Congress MLA Geniben Thakor is fighting against BJP’s Rekha Chowdhary. Thakor’s spirited fight forced Prime Minister Modi to address a rally in her constituency. All eyes will be on Banaskantha on June 4.

In Bharuch, AAP’s Chaitar Vasava has succeeded in creating a buzz. If he can convert that buzz into victory, it would shock the BJP in the State.

Also Read | ‘There is an undercurrent against Modi’: Jignesh Mevani

In Maharashtra, Baramati is the most talked about constituency in this election. Here, Supriya Sule, daughter of Sharad Pawar and three-term MP, is fighting against Sunetra Pawar, wife of Ajit Pawar. Who wins Baramati will have a major impact on State politics for the upcoming years.

Beed is another constituency to watch closely. Pankaja Munde, daughter of late Gopinath Munde, is contesting on the BJP ticket against Bajrang Sonavane of the NCP (Sharad Pawar). The caste polarisation between Marathas and Vanjaris in Beed has left many worried. This is the epicentre of sharp caste politics, so the outcome will be an important factor in the State’s future politics.

There are 17 such close fights in Maharashtra where either side could have the last laugh: South Ahmednagar, Nashik, Bhiwandi, Ramtek, Akola, Nanded, Nandurbar, Parbhani, and Solapur, to name a few. Whether the opposition parties can cash in on public anger or the ruling parties have succeeded in pacifying the public with various means is the most important question in Maharashtra.

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