Maharashtra polls: Anti-BJP rhetoric shows Sena has lost the battle, says BJP

Mumbai: Shiv Sena's attack on BJP shows that the party founded by late Bal Thackeray has "lost the battle" ahead of the October 15 Maharashtra Assembly elections, senior BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said here today. "They (Sena) have lost track and are talking only about BJP," Rudy, BJP's Maharashtra affairs in-charge, told PTI in an interview.

"If they (Sena) are contesting to win the elections, then they should be contesting against Congress and NCP. But if they are talking about BJP, it possibly shows that they have lost the battle," Rudy said. "They are cribbing partners. We are absolutely not talking about them as a matter of policy.

The prime minister has clearly spelt it out," he said. "It is amusing that Sena is not fighting the actual enemies of the state. And they say we have betrayed them. How does it matter? You were claiming to be a larger partner and more powerful. Why should you complain?" he said.

"They (Sena) must have assessed that they are losing ground to BJP very heavily. So this desperation," Rudy said, when asked about Sena mouthpiece Saamana criticising Modi on his "won't utter a word against Sena" remark. Asked what led to the snapping of the 25-year old alliance with Sena, Rudy said, "The central leadership of BJP was very persistent on an alliance. Somehow, the negotiations (on seat sharing) were not moving."

"There was a lack of communication. And the Sena was still in the old mode for some reason and was not ready to scale down from 151 seats. And for us, it was practically impossible to come down below 130," he said. "There was no question of leaving our new alliance partners, the Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Mahadeo Jankar-led Rashtriya Samaj Party, RPI and Vinayak Mete-led Shivsangram. So, we had to find a solution," he said.

"Maybe, if poll dates were later, we could have found a solution, But it did not happen like that. The call was taken by the state BJP leadership," Rudy said. "It was a case of 'who blinks first'. And in doing so, we came to a point where nothing was moving and there was no time to move further," he said.

"There was no animosity in that but we had to take a call because time was only 48 hours to go before deadline for filing nominations ended," the BJP leader said.

"It was unspoken but possibly, the numbers were related to the chief ministerial post, which was not being discussed across the table. That could have been one of the factors," Rudy said.

"People in Maharashtra have always seen a coalition government in the last several years. Now they have an opportunity to elect a single party government and BJP is a better choice," he said.

Asked about speculation that there could be a post-poll alliance with Sena, Rudy said, "I doubt that situation will arise. People will give a full mandate to BJP and our target is to unseat Congress and NCP. So there is no question of us coming together. We are not even thinking remotely about that."

Asked about NCP chief Sharad Pawar's remarks that Modi was addressing so many poll rallies, something which prime ministers don't do, Rudy said, "If the benchmark in this country for Congress was Manmohan Singh, what better explanation they can offer to us ? ".







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