Mumbai: The Shiv Sena today said it would be no surprise if the BJP goes on to win even “800 seats” in the 2019 polls and referred to the Madhya Pradesh incident wherein a VVPAT machine had allegedly wrongly dispensed slips of the BJP symbol during a demonstration exercise early this year.
In an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Sena also took potshots at NCP leader Praful Patel who had said that the dream of the NCP workers to see Sharad Pawar becoming prime minister in 2019 is “not impossible”.
Stating that everybody is certain that the 2014 “Modi wave” cannot be repeated in 2019, the edit said while the BJP has set a target of 350 plus seats in 2019, there are internal discussions happening if they could be able to retain their present numbers.
“…The other worry is the use of money…and Electronic Voting Machines machines. In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP was getting votes when the button having the Congress symbol was being pressed. Hence, it would be no surprise if the BJP gets 700-800 seats in 2019 polls,” the editorial said.
Ahead of the Bhind Assembly bypoll in the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh in April this year, a VVPAT machine attached to an EVM had allegedly dispensed slips of the BJP symbol during a demonstration exercise, raising allegations of tampering.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that Pawar was his “political guru”, Sena asked will Prime Minister Narendra Modi support the veteran Maratha politician if the political situation post 2019 demands so.
“The NCP was never able to increase its strength beyond 10-12 (MPs) and the Modi wave has brought the numbers down to barely four. How much can it increase in 2019 polls?” the edit said.
Though Pawar has a vast experience in politics and administration, how will he manage the numbers necessary to stake claim to the prime minister’s post, it said.
“If no party achieves a majority and if Pawar’s name comes up mutually, he can become prime minister. But will this come true. Pawar has friends across the political spectrum, but in the political race will these friends support you or will they stab you in the back which the Sena is experiencing now,” Sena said in a veiled jibe at the BJP.
Pawar had on multiple occasions said that he was not in the race for prime minister’s job as he was aware of the numerical strength of his party. However, Praful Patel recently said the NCP workers’ dream to see Pawar as prime minister is not impossible.
Taking potshots at Modi, the Sena said, “The prime minister had said he entered politics by grabbing Pawar’s fingers and had also publicly called Pawar his political guru. If the guru now gets a chance to become the prime minister, will Modi support him?”
Amid strained ties with its senior ally BJP, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray recently held separate meetings with Pawar and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.