Loksabha election

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

gopinath Munde tries to play down MNS threat

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) may have ruffled Shiv Sena but BJP national general secretary Gopinath Munde feels the 17-party
Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF) would more than offset MNS damage by hurting Congress-NCP.

Mr Munde, BJP's campaign leader for the assembly polls, claimed on Monday that the Third Front would get 12-14% votes away from Congress-NCP as against a 4% dent in the BJP-Sena votes that the MNS was likely to make. However, Mr Munde’s optimism has overlooked the fact that MNS’ state-wide 4% vote has little bearing on its damage potential in the Mumbai-Thane-Pune belt, where it polled more than 20% votes in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

In addition, Congress-NCP was fighting a serious rebellion in the ranks with as many as 120 rebels in the fray against official nominees, Mr Munde said. He conceded that even the BJP-Sena too were facing rebellion but it was restricted to only 7 to 8 seats out of 288.

"The current political situation is comparable to the 1995 assembly polls in Maharashtra, when Congress lost because of large-scale rebellion. Rebellion will ensure that the transfer of votes from Congress to NCP or vice-versa will not take place," Mr Munde said.

In 1995, Sena-BJP had polled 29.5% votes, which gave them 133 seats, Mr Munde recalled. The saffron combine roped in Independents to form the government. Asked if a post-poll situation similar to that in 1995 would mean BJP-Sena may have to take support from Independents, Mr Munde said the alliance would get a clear majority.

He referred to elections held in other states during the last two-three years, pointing out that the electorate had voted against a hung assembly. "As many as eight states have showed this trend and here the performance has also mattered," he said.

The BJP leader argued that several factors would go against the 10-year-old Congress-NCP rule. Anti-incumbency, price rise, corruption, energy shortage, and a deplorable law and order situation were only some of them, he said. Mr Munde claimed Congress-NCP had failed to justify their return to power in the Lok Sabha elections five months back.

"Not even a point on the 100-day agenda outlined by the prime minister has been achieved. People gave them more seats in Maharashtra than BJP-Sena with some expectations but they have not fulfilled those expectations," Mr Munde said.

Mr Munde ridiculed the Congress-NCP manifesto accusing the combo of copying 13 agendas from the 21-point manifesto of BJP-Sena alliance. "If they can't think of something original even after ruling the state for ten years, why would the people trust them again," he asked. But keeping the manifesto season alive, Mr Munde promised BJP-Sena, if voted to power, would cut allocations already budgeted for different departments to find Rs 2,000 crore to fight drought.

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