But it was not a sweep except in Arunachal Pradesh. What does the victory mean to the Congress?

The Congress on Thursday was set to capture power in Maharashtra for a third consecutive term and sweep Arunachal Pradesh while a not-so-good performance in Haryana left it as the single largest party scrambling for numbers to get a majority.

The Congress, along with its ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), was poised to form the government in Maharashtra as it was leading in 134 constituencies having already bagged 4 seats in the 288-member Assembly.

The alliance, which had won 140 seats in the last elections, may end up with almost the same figure and may not have problems in forming the government with the support of rebels of both the parties and independents.

Congress has bagged one seat and was leading in 75 others, while the NCP has won three and was ahead in 50 others.

Affected vastly by the presence of Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) combine has managed to be ahead in only 84 seats, far behind its 2004 tally of 116 seats. Shiv Sena won 2 seats and was ahead in 41 seats, while BJP bagged one seat and was leading in 46 seats.

Results in Haryana came as a bit of surprise for the Congress which advanced polls by over seven months to cash in on its spectacular Lok Sabha election performance in which it had won 9 of the 10 seats.

Today, the Congress managed to win 9 seats and was ahead only in 31 seats in the 90—member assembly and may have to look for support from rebels and independents who are ahead in 9 seats.

The Congress, which had won 67 seats in the 2005 elections, was apparently over—confident as reflected by an impressive show by Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) which has won 6 and was leading in 23 others. The INLD had 9 seats in the previous assembly.

The BJP was ahead in 4 seats, BSP in two and Bhajan Lal-led Haryana Janhit Congress in five. ‘Others’ accounted for eight leads and one win.

Arunachal Pradesh turned out to be a happy hunting ground for the Congress which has already won 13 seats and was ahead in 10 others in the 60—member assembly. The Congress had 34 seats in the outgoing assembly.

The Trinamool Congress has won two seats and was leading in one while the NCP was ahead in one and has won one. BJP was ahead in one seat.

In Maharashtra, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and a number of other leaders have emerged victorious, while President Pratibha Patil’s son Rajendra Shekhawat is trailing behind Congress rebel Sunil Deshmukh.

47 candidates in ‘others’ category are leading in the State while two have won.

MNS put up an impressive show and was leading in over 10 seats and the Third Front in 10.

As the ruling alliance was set for another term in office, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Union Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh, who is speculated to be one of the contenders for the Chief Minister’s post, said the High Command would decide on the issue.

Ally Sharad Pawar made it clear that the Congress would decide on the Chief Minister’s post virtually dismissing a demand voiced by his party colleague and Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal that the office be rotated.

In Haryana, enthused by his party’s performance, INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala demanded that Congress should accept defeat as the opposition parties have won or led in 51 of the 90 seats.

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