In a veiled message to the Shiv Sena, Home Minister Amit Shah asserted that it is not impossible for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to receive absolute majority in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly election.
In an exclusive interview with Network18 group editor-in-chief Rahul Joshi, Shah predicted a two-thirds majority for the BJP-Shiv Sena "gathbandhan". Though the home minister accepted that it might be a little premature to foretell the exact numbers at this juncture, he appeared confident while saying the BJP will improve its tally from last time.
The BJP, in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, had garnered win in 122 seats, only 22 short of the halfway mark. However, in an attempt to form a government, it later made a pact with the Shiv Sena, which traditionally has been the "big brother" in the alliance. In 2014, the NDA ally managed a win in only 63 seats.
This year, the BJP has emerged as the senior partner and is contesting on 164 seats.
On being asked if the saffron party could bag enough seats to form a a government single-handedly, Shah exuded confidence: "Yes, we can go that far. It is not impossible."
Shah further said that the development work carried out by the ruling alliance in the course of five years had won the trust of voters and convinced them to vote agin in their favour.
"BJP's journey in Maharashtra has been successful and interesting. In '14 we went alone and emerged as the biggest party, then formed government with Shiv Sena...In 15 years of UPA rule the state, which used to be number 1 in agriculture, investments, cooperative, industry, fell way below. In our five years we have brought the state on all these parameters back between number 1 and 5th position," the BJP president said.
Shah also said that the jodi of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has benefitted the state.
"There has been not a single allegation of corruption against Devendra Fadnavis and Narendra Modi in these five years," Shah claimed. He said that the state was developing critical infrastructure at a breakneck speed with special attention from the centre.
"Earlier governments gave only Rs 1.22 lakh crore to Maharashtra in five years, the prime minister has given the state three times as much -- Rs 4.78 lakh crore. Development works have percolated down to the ground level. We have in the last five years laid the foundation of all the development works that we plan to execute in the next 20 years," Shah said.
Clearing his party’s stand on Shiv Sena’s demand for the post of deputy chief minister, the BJP president indicated that his party is open to the idea. However, he made it clear that Devendra Fadnavis will continue to serve as the chief minister if NDA retains power.
Maharashtra will go to polls to 21 October, along with Haryana, in a single-phased election. Counting of votes in both states will happen on 24 October.
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Updated Date: Oct 17, 2019 13:24:42 IST