Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday said restrictions imposed by the Election Commission on campaigning for upcoming Assembly polls in five states in view of COVID-19 should be applied uniformly, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi must himself set an example in this regard.
"During the West Bengal polls, we have seen how some parties and leaders, especially the BJP and the prime minister, campaigned during the peak of the second wave of coronavirus. (This time) the prime minister should lead by example," Raut, a Rajya Sabha member, told reporters.
Announcing Assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh, earlier in the day, the EC said rallies, roadshows and processions will not be allowed till January 15 in view of the coronavirus situation.
He said the Sena planned to contest a few seats in Uttar Pradesh and Goa, both currently ruled by the BJP, a former ally of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
"In Goa, the Shiv Sena and NCP are together. We want the Congress to be with us. But there is the issue of seat sharing. If the Congress feels it can win in Goa on its own, our best wishes to them," he said.
He said the ruling BJP and new entrant Trinamool Congress were contesting Goa polls by "breaking the Congress", a reference to the large scale desertions the grand old party has seen in the last few months and weeks there.
On Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant questioning Raut's frequent visits to the coastal state with the taunt that the Sena does not have "even a village sarpanch", Raut said even the BJP did not have a sarpanch there till a few years ago.
The BJP made inroads in Goa by splitting the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), he claimed.
The Sena leader said the people of Goa want to teach the BJP a lesson but the lack unity among opposition outfits will give the ruling party an "open field".
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