Mumbai/Chandigarh: The BJP Sunday created history in Haryana by getting a clear majority on its own for the first time and said that it would form the government in Maharashtra too where it finished the single largest group in a hung assembly.
The Congress was humiliated in both Haryana and Maharashtra which it had been ruling for two and three consecutive terms respectively.
For the first time, the Bharatiya Janata Party got a clear mandate in Haryana and was looking at names of probable leaders who could be its first chief minister in the state.
Upsetting past trends, the BJP won 47 seats in the 90-member Haryana assembly, winning a 33.2 percent vote share.
The BJP Parliamentary Party Board met in New Delhi Sunday evening to discuss chief minister probables.
The names doing rounds include Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh activist Manohar Lal Khattar, state BJP president Ram Bilas Sharma and party spokesperson Abhimanyu. Other names of leaders, who did not contest, include union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal. Congressman-turned-BJP leader Birender Singh is also in the running.
Senior party sources told IANS that the new government could be sworn in before Diwali this week. The Hindu festival of lights falls on Oct 23.
In Maharashtra, the BJP won 119 seats and was leading in three others in the 288-member assembly, falling well short of the 145 seats required for a simple majority.
With the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party offering unexpected "outside support" to it, leaving the runner up and former ally Shiv Sena high and dry, BJP president Amit Shah said in New Delhi that his party would "form the next government" in the state.
NCP leader Praful Patel said Maharashtra needed stability and so his party was ready to prop up a BJP government. With the NCP's 41 seats, the BJP can cross the threshold.
The Shiv Sena, which could end up with 63 seats, had earlier said it was ready to make up with the BJP, a sentiment shared by some of the latter's leaders, including L.K. Advani.
"I hope the BJP and Shiv Sena will come together," said Advani, one of those who was not happy with the BJP decision to dump its ally of 25 long years after a row over seat sharing ahead of elections.
The Congress, which, with the NCP, ruled Maharashtra for 15 years until their alliance collapsed before the elections, is expected to finish third in Maharashtra with 42 seats.
Shiv Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut claimed that "all options" will still open for his party but he did not elaborate.
Party chief Udhav Thackeray later said that nobody from the BJP has approached his party for support, and his party would not approach it with any proposal.
"If (the BJP) they make any proposal, we shall consider it," he said.
Amit Shah said the victory in Haryana and the near victory in Maharashtra proved that the "Modi wave" which catapulted the BJP to power in the Lok Sabha battle was still intact.
Earlier, Maharashtra BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said that while no discussions had taken place with the Sena, "if the need arises, we expect our friends to support us".
Shiv Sena leader Anil Desai added that the acrimony between his party and the BJP was history.
Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena cut a sorry figure and is likely to end up with just three seats. Independents and smaller parties could have 19 members.
The NCP blamed the Congress for the Maharashtra verdict. Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan accepted responsibility for the Congress rout.
Outgoing Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda also accepted defeat and submitted his resignation to Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki to pave way for formation of the new government.
The BJP's win in Haryana is a big achievement considering it had won only four seats in the 2009 assembly polls.
Kailash Vijayvargiya, in charge of the BJP's party affairs in Haryana, said: "People of Haryana wanted a change. Our party cadres and leaders worked very hard. The credit for our success has to go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah."
The Congress won only 15 seats, down from its tally of 40 last time. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) ended with 19 seats, down from 31 seats in 2009.
"This is the Janadesh (public mandate). I accept this and wish well for the incoming government," said Hooda, who has at been at the helm since March 2005.
"The result is a surprise for us (INLD). We will review where we went wrong. People have given their mandate to the BJP. We will extend our support to the government for Haryana's progress," INLD leader Abhay Chautala told media after his party's defeat.
A record 76.54 percent of Haryana's 1.63 crore electorate voted in the assembly polls this time.