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… formalizes its prime ministerial candidate.

Even if the Congress NCP sees this as a positive sign, it does have to worry about the possibility of MNS president Raj Thackeray joining hands with the saffron alliance. As expected, the report card of the Congress-NCP government, which has ruled Maharashtra for three terms now, is moderate and, on most fronts, things have remained the same for voters. People questioned on the condition of roads, control of corruption, electricity and water supply, apart from irrigation and the condition of farmers, were quite clear that things hadn’t changed much. Also people in the rural areas, especially drought-hit Marathwada, are unhappy with the way the government handled the situation.

Springing a little surprise, the survey finds that Raj Thackeray is best suited to take forward the late Bal Thackeray’s political legacy and Raj enjoys more support from the Shiv Sainiks with 57 per cent of the sample backing him. Only 18 per cent thought Uddhav was the heir to that legacy, and 25 per cent from his party thought so.

While the Congress and the NCP are constantly bickering and saying they should part ways, they should pay heed to voters as the survey says that people want the Congress-NCP alliance to continue and support for this has come from the traditional support base of both the parties. Interestingly the poll endorsed more or less what people have been saying about the demand for the MNS and Shiv Sena to join hands. Over 40 per cent want the BJP and the Shiv Sena to continue their alliance and about 46 per cent want the BJP to ally with both the Shiv Sena and the MNS.

To a question on whether the Sena and the MNS should fight together, more Shiv Sainiks responded positively to this than MNS supporters though the study cautioned that the MNS sample size was low.