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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Indian press review
Congress supporters celebrate in Mumbai
The Hindu called the Congress alliance win a "superlative victory"
The power tussle within the winning coalition in western Maharashtra state leads Monday's newspaper front pages in India.

Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the two parties that won last week's state election together, are both pitching for the chief minister's chair.

The leading English daily, The Indian Express, says the fight for the top job has "spoilt the Congress and NCP party".

Emerging as the largest party in the alliance, the NCP, the paper says, is insisting on the chief minister's post but Congress leaders are not giving up their claim to the top job.

The NCP secured 71 seats while Congress could only manage 69.

The paper says Congress suffered another blow when one of its newly elected legislators died of a heart attack on Sunday.

The Hindustan Times says pressure is mounting on Congress to concede the chief minister's post.

NCP leader, Sharad Pawar, the paper says, has told his alliance partner that his party may stay out of the government, giving only "outside support" to Congress in the event of being denied the top post.

LK Advani
The Asian Age says the BJP may now turn to LK Advani

"Pawar pushes power envelope", is the headline in the paper.

"By threatening to stay out, Pawar has clearly resorted to brinkmanship, knowing full well that a government minus his party would lack political credibility - so vital for effective governance in the face of a strong opposition," says the paper.

It says it is crucial for Congress to hold on to the chief ministership in the country's financial heartland "both in terms of public perception and real politik".

The Hindu says the Congress-NCP alliance has pulled off a "superlative victory" in Maharashtra, overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.

"Remarkable triumph", lauds an editorial in the paper.

It also analyses the defeat of the opposition BJP-Shiv Sena alliance.

"If the BJP seemed paralysed by the loss of power at the centre, the Sena was caught in a succession battle arising from [leader] Bal Thackeray's failing health."

"[Former BJP leader] Atal Behari Vajpayee's lacklustre last-minute appearance and Mr Thackeray's unwise attacks on Sonia Gandhi and the state's immigrant community virtually sealed the opposition's fate", it says.

The Asian Age says pressure is now mounting on BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu and general secretary Pramod Mahajan to resign following the defeat.

"One section of the party wants LK Advani to take charge immediately," it says.

And "if he is not willing, then a young articulate north Indian face" should lead the BJP.

The Pioneer says the BJP is taking the Maharashtra election results as a challenge.

"In the next few days, the broad outlines of tackling the new situation would be drawn," the paper says.

"It could mean an overhaul of the organisational structure, from top downwards."


SEE ALSO:
Indian allies haggle after poll
18 Oct 04  |  South Asia
Congress wins in key Indian state
16 Oct 04  |  South Asia
A major test for Congress
12 Oct 04  |  South Asia
Candidates face criminal charges
08 Oct 04  |  South Asia
Left 'no threat' to Indian business
08 Oct 04  |  South Asia
BJP struggles to find direction
31 Aug 04  |  South Asia


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