We should aim to win at least 40 out of 48 seats (in Maharashtra), Amit Shah
In a veiled warning to the Shiv Sena, BJP president Amit Shah said today that if an alliance happened, the party will ensure victory for its allies, but if it did not, the party will thrash its former allies in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
Mr Shah's statement came immediately after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis set the BJP workers a target of winning 40 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Reacting to the statements, the Shiv Sena said it was ready to take on whoever challenges it.
Mr Shah and Mr Fadnavis addressed BJP workers from Latur, Osmanabad, Hingoli and Nanded districts in Latur city today. "Party workers should get rid of confusion about (prospects of) alliance (with the Shiv Sena). If the allies join us, we will ensure their win, or else will defeat them too ("patak denge"). Party workers should start preparations at every booth," Mr Shah said.
If we win this election, our ideology will continue to rule for next 50 years: Amit Shah
Amit Shah said the country was "enslaved" for 200 years. "If we win this election, our ideology will continue to rule for next 50 years. We should put in extra efforts to win this election," Mr Shah said. "In 2014, the BJP won 73 seats (in Uttar Pradesh). This time even if SP and BSP join hands, we will win 74 seats," he said.
Echoing Mr Fadnavis, Mr Shah said, "We should aim to win at least 40 out of 48 seats (in Maharashtra)."
This is for the first time the BJP has taken an assertive stand in the matter of alliance with the Shiv Sena.
The Sena has been regularly hitting out at the BJP despite being part of the government in the state and the Centre. Its leaders have often said they would contest the next polls on their own.
Mr Fadnavis said, "The victory of 2019 will be bigger than 2014. Last time we won 122 seats in (state) Assembly and received 1.50 crore votes. We need two crore votes to attain power on our own. The number of people who have benefited from the state government''s policies is more than that."
Late Sunday evening, the Shiv Sena hit back at the BJP, saying its plan to win 40 seats meant it would rely on manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
"Amit Shah's arrogant and boastful statements have exposed that party….Shiv Sena talked about Hindutva and Ram temple but it seems our stand did not go down well with the BJP," said an aide of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. "The BJP does not want anybody who talks of Hindutva," the Sena leader said.