THE RESULTS OF THE 2014 MAHARASHTRA ELECTION were announced on 19 October of that year. The vote, alongside another in Haryana, was part of the first round of state elections since Narendra Modi led the Bharatiya Janata Party to a resounding victory in the national election five months earlier. With momentum behind it, the BJP won 122 of the 288 seats in the Maharashtra legislative assembly, more than doubling its previous total. The Indian National Congress, in keeping with its countrywide decline, won only 42 seats—half of what it previously held. The Shiv Sena, earlier the BJP’s partner in the state, registered a modest gain, securing 63 seats; and the Nationalist Congress Party, earlier partnered with the Congress, registered a modest loss, keeping 41. These parties’ fortunes received, expectedly, a great deal of public attention.
There was another party that got a lot of attention too—and largely out of the blue. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, a virtual unknown in Maharashtra, won two seats—one in the heart of Mumbai, and the other in the district of Aurangabad—outperforming even the regional chauvinist Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which won only one. AIMIM candidates were also runners-up in three other constituencies, and came third in eight. The party contested 24 seats in all, making its first big foray outside its stronghold in Hyderabad, in Telangana. At the time, the AIMIM had just retained seven legislative assembly seats from the city, and had a large presence in the Hyderabad municipal corporation. But that, excepting a smattering of seats in other local bodies, primarily in Telangana and Maharashtra, was as far as its power went.