Amid the Lok Sabha polls, a blame game has begun in the Sangh Parivar in Maharashtra with a section of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) conceding a setback for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state due to the alliance with the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and the Ajit Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

On the other hand, the veteran leader Sharad Pawar said that the Opposition’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) could win 30 to 35 seats of the total 48 in Maharashtra.

According to a section of the RSS, the BJP’s decision to have a pre-poll alliance with the Shiv Sena-Shinde and the NCP-Ajit has marred the BJP’s chances in this election which is being fought on the “Modi Ki Guarantee”slogan.

This is because the allies are seen as a liability to the BJP. Besides, the BJP’s selection of candidates has not influenced the cadre, forget the people, they felt and added that the image of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has not been helping his party in this electoral battle.

Eknath Shinde and Ajit Pawar are controversial leaders in the state for different reasons. The BJP relied on them, used them to finish the Shiv Sena-Uddhav and the NCP by engineering splits. The BJP helped the two of them to capture their parties and election symbols, and attain power nearly two years ago.

But this has not gone down well with the people of Maharashtra. “Now, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have to campaign for the candidates of Eknath Shinde and Ajit Pawar”, is the refrain, suggesting that the allies cannot win the election on their own.

While Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar have got the people’s sympathy after the splits and desertions in their parties, they did not waste any time in rebuilding their organisations. This kept the Opposition’s space intact. They toured the state and have now identified their candidates for the upcoming state Assembly elections.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, known as the BJP’s `Chanakya’, has been handling the state within the party while CM Eknath Shinde and his two deputies, Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, are working on his directives. But Amit Shah seems to have failed to know the pulse of the people of Maharashtra.

The BJP is fighting on 28 seats, the highest number of seats, Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena is contesting on 15, Ajit Pawar’s NCP four, and one seat was left to Rashtreey Samaj Paksh of Mahadev Jankar.

In the MVA, Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena has fielded candidates on 21 seats, the Congress is contesting on 17 seats and Sharad Pawar’s NCP is fighting on ten seats.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 23 out of 25 it contested and the united Shiv Sena won 18 out of the it fought under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). On the other hand, the united NCP won four seats while the Congress and the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) could win one seat each respectively.

On Thursday, a confident Sharad Pawar said the MVA could win seats between 30 and 35 in Maharashtra of which the Congress could get 10 to 12 seats and his NCP eight to nine seats. According to him, unemployment is the real issue in this election.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s growing number of election rallies in Maharashtra shows his shaky confidence, Pawar felt.

Of the total 48 seats, polling for 24 is already over in the three phases. This means it has covered most of the rural parts of the state.

Polling for the next two phases will take place May 13 and 20. It will cover Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Raver, Jalna, Aurangabad, Maval, Pune, Shirur, Ahmednagar, Shirdi, Beed on May 13; and Dhule, Dindori, Nashik, Palghar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane, Mumbai North, Mumbai North-West, Mumbai North-East, Mumbai North-Central, Mumbai South-Central and Mumbai South on May 20.