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'BJP hopeful of getting Cong allies onboard'

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 24, 2013
First Published: 14:37 IST(24/11/2013) | Last Updated: 20:07 IST(24/11/2013)

Claiming that some of the UPA constituents were in touch with the party, BJP leader Nitin Gadkari today said several former allies could return to the NDA fold if it crosses the "magic figure" of 175 in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

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Gadkari, former BJP chief, was upbeat over the party's prospects in the current round of Assembly polls.

He rejected demands for reconsideration of Narendra Modi as BJP's prime ministerial candidate in the wake of the snooping issue.

He accused Congress of "playing politics of character assassination" of its detractors.

In an interview to PTI, 56-year-old Gadkari dubbed the UPA-II as a "sinking ship" and said, "we talk to all parties and keep in touch with them".

"When the ship starts sinking, then those in it do not sit tight and meet the watery grave. When the water starts crossing the danger mark, they depart telling the captain that they are sorry. You know who are they," he said without elaborating.

NCP, National Conference and RLD are some of the prominent constituents of the Congress-led UPA. While National Conference has already said that it will have nothing to do with BJP, RLD has allied with BJP in the past.

NCP's Sharad Pawar had on October 12 attended a function organised by Gadkari's Purti Group in Nagpur, where he had said "there are no untouchables in politics".

Trinamool Congress, DMK and JVM (P) have left the UPA alliance.

Gadkari was asked whether any of the UPA allies were in touch with BJP.

On the issue of prospective allies, he recalled that when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, there were several constituents of NDA.

"When we will cross the magic figure of 175, then those who had left us after being unhappy and disappointed will come back and together we can...," an upbeat Gadkari said, dubbing politics as "a game of convenience, compulsion, limitation and contradictions."

"Right now there is no such proposal," he said when asked about the talk of an alliance in Haryana with INLD whose leaders are in jail in a graft case.

"We will contest all the seats from these states," he said to a question on how many seats the BJP would contest from Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Kerala and Tamil Nadu where it does not have much presence or allies.

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