'BJP can form govt on its own'
Top ruling party office-bearer fires warning shots intended to keep the Sena in its place
With just two days of campaigning left, the BJP on Thursday sent out its clearest and loudest message to the Shiv Sena about who the big brother in the state alliance is. BJP national general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra and Rajya Sabha MP, Saroj Pandey, told mid-day that her party will be capable of forming the government on its own with a simple majority.
The Rajya Sabha MP, however, parried a direct question on whether this meant the BJP will not need the Sena at all. "In fact, we were in a position to form our own stable government even in 2014, but we did not pursue that route," she said. "We are contesting 164 seats and I think we should reach the magic figure (144/288) on our own."
If her prediction indeed comes true, Pandey's comments are a clear indicator that the BJP will be less amenable to the Sena's "unreasonable demands" in a post-poll scenario. Pandey said her calculations are based on the party's internal surveys and the public response she saw on her extensive tour of the state.
"The BJP will gain everywhere in the state," she said. "We are confident of getting more seats than 2014 in Vidarbha. We will add to our numbers in Western Maharashtra and Marathwada. North Maharashtra will remain our stronghold." Asked if the Sena's rebels will not damage the BJP's prospects, Pandey said the BJP, on its part, has followed alliance dharma by expelling rebels from its ranks.
"We are different parties and have our respective policies. We did our job by sending the message that rebels will not have a place in BJP," she said. Asserting that the BJP is the big brother in the alliance, she added: "We don't think much about some mistakes. We have to act like an elder who forgives the younger ones for their flaws."
If that is the case, why has there been so many rebels contesting against official candidates in this election? Pandey said the party did try to convince the rebels and many indeed withdrew from contests but those who thought they could perform better even as independent candidates refused to step back.
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