Former UP chief minister and BJP vice-president Kalyan Singh is confident that the Samajwadi Party government will not last long after Narendra Modi gets 272 and the NDA crosses the 300-mark (the latter, for Singh, has almost come to pass).
"Several SP MLAs are feeling suffocated and are in touch with us," he tells HT at his Etah home, while indicating that UP might go for assembly polls soon after the ongoing Lok Sabha election. "The SP government will crumble under its own pressure," he adds.
The BJP vice-president is not the first one to spell doom for the Akhilesh Yadav government. Over the course of electioneering in UP, firebrand party leader Uma Bharti recently said the UP government would fall after Modi's win.
According to Singh, the BJP will win 53 seats in UP, while the Congress, BSP and SP will get six, nine and eight seats, respectively.
The Hindu hardliner and Lodh Rajput leader, who has considerable influence among the backward castes of Bundelkhand, had left the party twice, only to rejoin it. This time he has thrown his weight behind Modi.
"Voters have made up their mind to have Modi as PM and youth will play a key role in bringing about a 'yug parivartan'," says Singh. "We might even get support from Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa," he adds.
Muslims, occupy his mindspace too. "Muslims have to understand that merely being a vote bank for parties is not in their favour. They should rather come into the mainstream and judge a party on merit," he says.
On the community being apprehensive about Modi's rule, he says, "The Gujarat riots were in reaction to action in Godhra where more than 50 people were burnt alive. No riot has taken place in Gujarat since 2002 while UP has witnessed 150 riots under SP's rule and Congress regime has seen 1,500 riots."
He goes on to defend Modi. "Modi followed 'Raj Dharma' while being the CM when Gujarat faced riots in 2002. Those guilty were punished and faced police action."
He dismisses the dissonant voices saying, "Those opposing the BJP have only two things to rely upon - Muslim appeasement and the 'Stop Narendra Modi' campaign, even as the BJP has a strategy to counter this." He, however, does not elaborate.
Denying allegations that senior leaders in the BJP were being sidelined, Singh says, "Our leader LK Advani has applauded Narendra Modi and blessed him."
On the issue of Ram Mandir, Kalyan repeats a line from the party's manifesto, saying ways to have Ram Mandir in Ayodhya are to be searched within the parameters of the constitution.