In a candid admission just a fortnight before elections, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said she was not confident of the party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) getting a majority.
Swaraj, who is in charge of her party for Madhya Pradesh, said in Bhopal: "I am not sure if the NDA will get a majority."
However, if "the NDA emerges as a single largest coalition (after the elections)", it could form the government with post-poll alliances, she said.
At a press conference in the state capital, the senior BJP leader said there was no confusion in her party over the issue of Varun Gandhi, the party's candidate in Pilibhit who has been jailed under the National Security Act (NSA) for his alleged inflammatory speeches, nor was the party distancing itself from him.
Swaraj said the party disapproved of the alleged "hate speeches", if he had made any, but was against the discriminatory treatment meted out to him by the Election Commission and the slapping of National Security Act (NSA) by the Uttar Pradesh government.
Accusing the Election Commission of adopting double standards on the issue, the BJP leader said "people like Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed" were allowed to contest polls in this country while it was advised that Varun Gandhi should not be fielded. “There should be one yardstick”.
Ansari, from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and Ahmed, who was with the Samajwadi Party and has now joined the Apna Dal, have criminal cases against them.
On Samajwadi Party's Sanjay Dutt not contesting from Lucknow seat, she said: “It hardly makes any difference because the BJP will win the prestigious seat held by (former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the voters in Lucknow see the BJP candidate (Lalji Tandon) as their representative”.
Swaraj conceded that the absence of Vajpayee, who is not contesting because of his ill health, was being felt "very much" by the party but added that "his blessings and guidance are with us".
On the NDA's election issues, she said the BJP and its allies would tell the people about the Congress-led government's failures including price rise, terrorism, retrenchment of employees, farmer's suicides and the "compromise" with the sovereignty of the nation while signing the India-US nuclear deal.