The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its alliance partner, Shiv Sena are poised to win two-thirds majority in the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections, says Union home minister Amit Shah.
Speaking to News18 Network Group Editor-in-chief Rahul Joshi in an exclusive interview, Shah exuded confidence that his party will improve its tally in the state and didn’t rule out BJP even winning a majority on its own.
"Yes, we can go that far. It is not impossible," News18.com quoted Shah as saying.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena are the main constituents of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra, contesting 164 and 124 seats, respectively.
The BJP had fought the 2014 Maharashtra assembly elections on its own, winning 122 seats and emerging as the single-largest party but about 22 short of the half-way majority mark of 144. The Sena’s could bag just 63 seats.
Soon after the results, the two joined hands and formed the government with the BJP getting the chief minister's post.
In fact, in the interview, Shah made it clear that Fadnavis will be the CM if the NDA comes to power. He is the first chief minister of the state in nearly 50 years to complete a full five-year tenure.
BJP winning majority on its own could further raise the party’s stature within the alliance in the state and put the Sena on back foot. The Sena has been demanding for appointing a deputy CM from long time but BJP has remained non-committal on the issue.
On Sena’s demand for deputy CM, Shah said it will be decided by CM Fadnavis and his team but the home minister also indicated that all options are open.
Speaking on BJP’s track record on governance, Shah said that there is no allegation of graft against chief minister Devendra Fadnavis as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and their Jodi has worked well for the state.
"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," News18.com quoted Shah as saying.
Polling for all 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra will be held on October 21 and counting of votes will take place on October 24.
The elections are being held just five months after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections where the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance was able to win 41 of Maharashtra's 48 parliamentary seats.
The BJP won 23 seats, while the Sena bagged 18 seats with the alliance garnering over 50 percent vote share in the state. In contrast, the main opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance won just 5 seats at a vote share of over 31 percent.
The interview will be aired across Network18 TV channels on Thursday, October 17.
CNBCTV18.com will run special coverage of the interview throughout the day.
Read other stories from the interview here.
First Published: IST