Mumbai: The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra turned in its best ever showing in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, winning 42 of the state`s 48 seats, on the back of a massive 15.03 per cent swing in its favour over the previous election.
The BJP-Shiv Sena-Swabhiman Paksha alliance together polled 50.2 per cent votes against Congress-NCP`s 34.1 per cent, a record 16.1 per cent difference, according to the Election Commission`s statistics.
In terms of number of seats clinched by the rival alliance too, the gap was the widest-ever. While BJP got 23, Sena 18 and Swabhimani Paksha 1, Congress managed to garner just two and NCP four, their poorest ever showing.
In the previous elections in 2009, the ruling combination of Congress-NCP had polled 38.89 per cent votes and BJP-Sena 35.17 per cent, a difference of 3.72 per cent. While Congress-NCP secured 25 seats, BJP-Shiv Sena had 20 in their kitty.
The only other time in the last six general elections when Congress outperformed BJP-Shiv Sena alliance was in 1998, before Sharad Pawar walked out of Congress and floated NCP after rebelling over issue of Sonia Gandhi`s foreign origin.
In that election, Congress secured 43.64 per cent votes against BJP-Shiv Sena`s 42.15 per cent. However, despite the narrow gap of 1.49 per cent votes, Congress won 33 seats, 20 more than the saffron combine`s 10.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, when the NDA government`s `India Shining` bubble burst and Congress returned to power, BJP-Sena alliance polled 42.72 per cent votes and clinched 25 seats, surpassing Congress-NCP`s 42.08 per cent.
The meagre difference of 0.64 per cent of votes gave the saffron combine 25 seats, three more than the Congress-NCP coalition.
In the 1999 general elections, when Congress and NCP went to the hustings separately, they secured 29.71 per cent and 21.58 per cent votes respectively (51.29 per cent). The BJP-Sena bloc together polled 38.04 per cent.
However, a split in secular votes cost the two parties dearly as Congress managed to win 10 seats and NCP 6. The saffron combine put up a better showing together clinching 28 seats with BJP pocketing 13 and Sena 15.
The 1996 general elections saw BJP-Sena alliance fetch 38.64 per cent votes against Congress 34.78 per cent. The saffron alliance, which then ruled Maharashtra, got 33 seats against Congress` 15.