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BJP will win 2019, with or without the Sena, says Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

Fadnavis said the 2019 general elections would centre around PM Narendra Modi and his “decisive leadership’’, just like in 2014.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2018 23:56 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Devendra Fadnavis,Shiv Sena,2019 Lok Sabha polls
Maharashtra chief minster Devendra Fadnavis in Pune October 20.(HT File Photo)

The BJP will emerge the number one party in the state and Centre in 2019, with or without its ally Shiv Sena, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday.

Fadnavis said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will try to form an alliance with the Sena, for both the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls next year, and given the political reality, such a tie-up will fall in place. But, he added even if the alliance falls apart, the BJP was already prepared and would emerge winner.

“Both of us will suffer if we don’t have an alliance. If we form one, we will win the polls easily and if we don’t, we [BJP] will have to struggle a little. But, the BJP will be the number one party in any scenario,’’ the chief minister told HT.

Fadnavis was speaking to a group of mediapersons at the government guest house in Mumbai. His government completes four years on October 31.

In the past four years, one of the biggest talking points of his government, politically, has been the continued, acerbic criticism from its 25-year-old ally, the Sena. Of late, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has sharpened his focus on the Hindutva agenda, pointing out the BJP shortcomings on delivering on it.

However, Fadnavis felt Thackeray’s Hindutva narrative, and his trip to Ayodhya next month to campaign for a Ram temple, was itself indication that the saffron parties would come together in the larger interest of the ideology — just like the “so-called secular parties” joined forces. “Thackeray’s focus on Hindutva can only bring us together,” he said.

But he added that he did not see the Sena’s dual position — of staying in government and criticising it — bringing it any electoral dividends. “I don’t think a dual position can be beneficial. It can only lead to losses especially if there is opposition on every issue.’’

Asked if BJP willing to split the chief minister’s tenure with Sena to bring it on board before the polls? Fadnavis said the Sena had made no such demand yet.

Fadnavis backed his party’s stand on the building of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. “I feel the Ram mandir must be built. It is the aspirations of crores of Indians... I hope for a favourable verdict from the apex court...,’’ he said. The 48-year-old CM said the 2019 general elections would centre around PM Narendra Modi and his “decisive leadership’’, just like in 2014. “We will win the general polls because of PM Modi... victory in the Assembly polls will follow.’’

Is he open to taking up a role in Delhi? “I am happy anywhere (the party sends me),” Fadnavis said. “But, at the moment, I don’t think I am required in Delhi.’’

While the CM did not want to speak about specific charges made in the #MeToo movement, he believed any complaint of harassment of women at the work must be addressed immediately.

First Published: Oct 26, 2018 23:30 IST