PILBHIT: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi has predicted that Samajwadi Party will emerge as the single largest party in the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh where two phases of voting are still left to be completed.
Varun, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Pilbhit and who has stayed away from campaigning, also took a jibe at his own party saying BJP has 55 chief ministerial candidates. He said he did not think the results would be "super magnificent" for the BJP. Counting of votes will be taken up on March 6.
While the BJP responded to Varun's predictions with a remark that he is a "good psephologist", its senior leader L K Advani declined to comment.
"Varun Gandhi is an intelligent leader and good psephologist. He has his own predictions. His predictions are not as a BJP leader but as a psephologist. He can have predictions, even we also benefit from that," BJP spokesperson Saeed Naqvi said.
Varun also said that Congress and the BJP would both improve their tallies at the cost of the ruling BSP.
"I haven't toured the state but I feel it is probably a truism that SP will be the single largest party in UP, but other than that I don't know how much BJP, Congress and BSP will get," he told a television news channel.
"I think the BJP will do significantly better. But I can't say how much. I think SP will be the single largest gainer but I can't say how well," he said. Varun at the same time said he was not a soothsayer.
He replied in the negative when asked if he was a wellwisher of the SP, asserting that he likes to talk "straight".
Varun said BJP has at least "55 candidates" who can be chief ministers but parties projecting names as chief ministers are at an advantage because in that case it is easy for the people to identify.
"It is a human relationship craft. If you do not have one person your message gets diffused. But I think the BJP is one step ahead as it has 55 chief ministerial candidates."
Making a case for naming chief ministerial candidates, Varun said "people vote for people" and not for symbols.
The Congress had a "genuine problem" as it does not have a single state leader who has the stature, Varun said, adding that if the party named one person as the chief ministerial candidate there would be infighting.
He was asked whether it would have been better if the BJP or Congress had named chief ministerial candidates in the ongoing UP elections.