Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah has said that a joint opposition is not a threat to the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), as all the parties coming together were against the BJP even during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking to Zee News Editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary at India ka DNA conclave, Shah conceded that the battle for 2019 would be Prime Minister Narendra Modi vs the rest. Responding to a question on Mahagathbandhan, Shah recalled that when he was a worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the elections were Indira Gandhi vs the rest.
“When I saw that elections were about Indira Gandhi vs the rest, I used to wonder how strong the position of Congress party was. Today, it is Narendra Modi vs the rest, and the BJP is at the same position. We do not need to fear,” said Shah.
The BJP president further said that the increasing proximity of opposition parties does not matter as people of India would select only Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of the country when the time comes. “When the country will decide about who should be the next Prime Minister, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, people will vote for Narendra Modi,” he said.
According to Amit Shah, the country has seen several alliance governments, both under the UPA and the NDA, and they know that an alliance government is not the best for the interests of the country. He added, “When UPA was in power, the then Prime Minister was compelled to say that alliance was his compulsion.”
When asked about several opposition leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, among others, sharing a stage during the oath taking ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy, the BJP president took a dig at them saying, “Mahagathbandhan did not get any push from Karnataka. If the legal age for marriage is 21 years, you can't have 21 children of one year each.”
“All the opposition parties will lose against BJP. And there is a reason for the same. Rahul says remove Modi while BJP says remove poverty. Mamata says remove Modi while BJP says work for development,” said Shah.
Talking about the end of alliance with Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said that people were with the BJP even when it formed the alliance, and they are with the BJP now also when we have ended the alliance with the PDP. He further said that the strategy and vision of the BJP for Jammu and Kashmir will never change, adding that the party wants to work for Ladakh apart from Jammu and Kashmir regions.
“We had sent money to Kashmir government for re-establishing Kashmiri pandits and migrants from Pakistan, but nothing was done. Mehbooba had the intention, but there were pressure groups,” said Shah.
He also dismissed claims that the move by the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir was aimed at the strategy for 2019 Lok Sabha elections saying, “Pulling out of alliance with PDP is not because of Lok Sabha elections, we would have done the same 6 months later had that been the case.”