Dismissing his colleague Ram Madhav's assessment that the BJP will need the support of allies to form a government, senior leader P Muralidhar Rao says his party will get more than 280 seats while the NDA's tally will be 300 plus. Regional leaders like BSP supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav are irrelevant in the national context, the BJP's national general secretary told PTI.
Taking a potshot at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao, he said everybody is thinking of becoming prime minister regardless of the numbers their parties might get in the elections. Discussing Madhav's comment in a recent interview that the BJP will require the support of allies to form the next government, he said, "My entire party does not agree with him. It is not me alone. My party president, my PM candidate and my party have expressed the opinions disagreeing... And I have also learnt that he has changed his view after his interview."
Rao said the BJP has got a clear advantage and this perception has increased phase by phase. "So, in my view, we will either not be less than 300 (with NDA allies) or 280 plus on our own," Rao said.
"We will be calling it NDA government. In 2014 also, we formed the NDA government but we had our own majority. So the same situation will continue," he said. Modi said in a rally in Bihar this week that the BJP will cross the 300 marks on its own.
According to Rao, the Congress and opposition parties have been unable to put up a united front to fight the BJP. "Though they were desirous of giving a united fight, they could not translate it into action," the senior party functionary said ahead of the last round of the seven-phase election on May 19.
To a question on the party's probable tally in Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats, Rao said the BJP is seen as a party with a "Delhi advantage". "Because of this, people think Mayawati is no choice for Delhi. Akhilesh Yadav is no choice for Delhi. Even the voters of these parties think... why should we vote for this party when they are not relevant in the Delhi context," he said.
Referring to the SP-BSP alliance in UP, Rao said their politics will not work in the state and the BJP will be able to improve its position in UP and entire north India. "I don't see a great deficit or shortfall (there)," Rao said when asked whether the BJP will be able to maintain its 2014 tally of 71 in Uttar Pradesh.
Reacting to KCR's reported statement that the next prime minister should be from south India, Rao said everybody is thinking of becoming the prime minister, whether or not they have the numbers. "When he (KCR) is saying so he must be having his own name (for becoming the PM). Mamata Banerjee is contesting 42 seats in Bengal... She is also available for PM. So everybody is thinking (of becoming the pm)," he said.
Rao said the party will get all the seats in Rajasthan this time too. "In a state like Rajasthan where we had 100 per cent seats, all 25, we cannot win more seats. So our entire effort is to retain that number and achieve that number again.
With the kind of feedback we are getting in MP and Rajasthan, we will be able to get the same number of seats we had in 2014," he said. The party got 27 of 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh in the last general election.
Talking about Bihar, he said Modi wave is at its peak in the state. "The feedback is our alliance is going to do very well in Bihar and we will be adding one or two seats to our previous result as we are going to do in Karnataka," Rao said.
BJP has joined hands with Nitish Kumar-led JD (U) and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party in Bihar. Rao said the issues of corruption and the Rafale jet deal raked up by the Congress and the opposition parties have gone against them.
"Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and all the opposition parties will realise this after May 23 results. I have gone to many parts of the country and there I have talked to people and there they are not willing to accept that Modi can be corrupt... So attacking him has not given any advantage to Congress or to the entire opposition," Rao said.
(With inputs from agencies.)