In Message to Shiv Sena, Amit Shah Says BJP Can Get Majority in Maharashtra on Its Own
New Delhi: Declaring in no uncertain terms that the BJP will keep the CM’s chair in Maharashtra if NDA were to form the government, Union Home Minister Amit Shah predicted a two-thirds majority for the alliance in the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections and did not rule out the BJP getting absolute majority on its own.
In an exclusive interview to News18 Network’s Group Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi, Shah said that while it was premature to offer numbers at this point, the BJP will surely improve on its tally from last time.
In the 2014 assembly election which BJP and Shiv Sena fought separately, the BJP came out strongest with 122 seats, just 22 less than the halfway mark, and later tied up with Shiv Sena to form government. The Sena, which traditionally had been the ‘big brother’ in the alliance, had won 63 seats, leading to the shift in the balance of power between the allies.
After a lot of bargaining, hectic parleys and times when ties appeared to be reaching breaking point, the BJP this time emerged as the senior partner and is contesting on more seats, a first in this three decade-old partnership.
When asked whether BJP, which is fighting on 164 seats, could get enough seats to form the government on its own, Shah said, "Yes, we can go that far. It is not impossible."
Clearing his party’s stand on Shiv Sena’s demand for deputy chief ministership, the BJP president indicated that his party is open to the idea of offering the post to its ally. But he made it clear that Devendra Fadnavis will continue as Maharashtra CM if NDA comes to power in the state.
Shah said that the people of Maharashtra stood behind his party "like a rock" and various development works carried out by BJP-SS combine over the last five years had convinced the voters to once again.
"BJP's journey in Maharashtra has been successful and interesting. In '14 we went alone and emerged as the biggest party, then formed government with Shiv Sena...In 15 years of UPA rule the state, which used to be number 1 in agriculture, investments, cooperative, industry, fell way below. In our five years we have brought the state on all these parameters back between number 1 and 5th position," Shah said.
Shah also said that the 'jodi' of Devendra Fadnavis and Narendra Modi has worked well for the state, underscoring the 'Narendra-Devendra' formula that BJP workers are going to people with, and which the Prime Minister himself has highlighted in his speeches in Maharashtra. He said that the state was developing critical infrastructure at a breakneck speed with special attention from the centre.
"Earlier governments gave only Rs 1.22 lakh crore to Maharashtra in five years, the Prime Minister has given the state three times as much - Rs 4.78 lakh crore. Development works have percolated down to the ground level. We have in the last five years laid the foundation of all the development works that we plan to execute in the next 20 years," Shah said.
Shah also said that the unblemished image of the Fadnavis led government in the state has also put the voters behind BJP.
"In five years not even the staunchest political opponents of BJP in Maharashtra have been able to level one charge of corruption against our government just as they haven't been able to do for the Prime Minister at the centre," Shah added.