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BJP tried to sell Narendra Modi like soap, toothpaste: Prithviraj Chavan

Buoyed by AICC announcement on his continuation, an unusually aggressive Prithiviraj Chavan lashed out at both his internal and external detractors yesterday 

His trip to Delhi and the AICC announcement on Thursday that he would lead the party in the upcoming polls seem to have given Prithviraj Chavan a huge dose of confidence.

CM Prithiviraj Chavan
Relieved? Aggression wasn’t the only emotion the CM displayed in his press interaction at Mantralaya yesterday

Making the transition from embattled to emboldened, Chavan exhibited a never-seen-before side of him in interactions with the media yesterday. Not only was he assertive about playing a dominant role in the government and the state alliance, he also took several swipes at opponents, including the BJP and its leader, PM Narendra Modi.

Parrying questions from reporters at Mantralaya, Chavan avoided naming ‘political friends’ who were behind stories of his removal. “I told my leaders that there was an atmosphere of uncertainty in the state, which needed to be cleared,” said Chavan, when he was asked about the purpose of his recent visit to Delhi.

“Congress and NCP will be facing the elections jointly. And I will let you know whether I am going to fight the assembly elections at an appropriate time,” said the CM.

Later, while sharing his strategy on contesting the assembly elections, Chavan said he was studying the media campaign and advertisements issued by the BJP during the Lok Sabha polls. “The BJP projected Prime Minister Narendra Modi like soap or toothpaste, and the election was fought on the lines of the Presidential elections in the US. But, they benefited from it and Congress failed to gauge the extent of the benefit,” said Chavan. In another veiled attack on the BJP and also on media houses, Chavan questioned the amount of screen time allotted to Modi.

He said there was a need to check whether paid news played a role in the elections and whether the Election Commission was going to do anything about it.

“Does the live telecast, which went on for two hours at a time, not amount to paid news?” asked Chavan. He also dropped hints about the BJP’s expenditure on the media blitz, calling it mindboggling but refusing to quote a figure. “If they sourced the money for this locally, there is a need to check what was promised in return,” said the CM.

As for the Congress-NCP combine, Chavan said, “We will put our performance in the last five years before the voters. This will include the decisions taken in the larger interest and the challenges before the state government.”

He added that his thrust would be on urbanisation, industrialisation of the state and improvement in the quality of education, apart from the challenges of farming on dry land and the spectre of drought looming over Maharashtra.

When asked who the face of the Congress-NCP combine would be for the next chief minister, however, Chavan declined to answer.

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