NEW DELHI: BJP leader Prakash Javadekar Sunday claimed that a clear trend in his party's favour had emerged for the Lok Sabha polls, as he made light of the challenge from a "divided" opposition, saying the Congress has become a "fringe" party under Rahul Gandhi.
Expressing confidence that the BJP will better its 2014 tally and win over 300 seats, the Union minister said that last time around people voted in "hope" (of better days) and now they will vote in "confidence" seeing the Modi government's performance.
The opposition's grand alliance hardly exists and its constituents have been fighting each other in states such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh, he claimed, adding that the people believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's only agenda is taking the country forward.
"I see a very clear trend in BJP's favour. People want to give Modi another chance. They voted in 2014 in hope because he was not tested in Delhi."
"Now, they will vote in confidence because they believe he is a man who leads from the front, is decisive, ended policy paralysis and works round-the-clock," Javadekar told PTI in an interview.
The seven-phase general elections are starting on April 11 and the counting will be held on May 23.
To a question about the several promises made by the Congress in its manifesto, including paying poor families Rs 72,000 annually, Javadekar said the opposition party is promising the moon as it knows that "it has no chance of coming to power".
They had earlier promised to eradicate poverty, and give electricity and houses to the poor, but they never fulfilled it.
People know it and will vote for the BJP for performance, prosperity, progress and decisiveness, he said.
The Congress, Javadekar said, has been reduced to a "fringe" party under its president Rahul Gandhi as it has neglected issues of national security and because of its association with "all the bad elements", including the "tukde-tukde gang", a reference to those allegedly favouring India's disintegration.
When asked about the opposition's criticism that the BJP was pitching national security as a key poll plank to turn the spotlight away from issues like unemployment and development, he said, world over national security will dominate any polls if a country is challenged.
"We are no exception. It was the Pulwama terror attack which triggered it and the way Pakistan is supporting terrorism. There is tremendous anger against it. And, the way the prime minister allowed the air force to do what was needed. This has created confidence in a decisive government," he said.
Javadekar claimed that the BJP will increase its tally from eight seats in the North East to around 22, in West Bengal from two to 22 and in Odisha from one to 15.
This will lead to an improvement from its last poll tally of 282, he said.
Even in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where the Congress had defeated the BJP in assembly polls, the saffron party will repeat its 2014 performance in this Lok Sabha polls, he said.
People in these three states are feeling "betrayed" as the Congress is not fulfilling its promises, Javadekar said.
He claimed that people vote differently in different elections.
In Lok Sabha polls the issue is about who will lead the country and make it more secure, the Union minister said.
Javadekar noted that in 1999 people in Maharashtra had voted in favour of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the Lok Sabha polls but not in the assembly poll, which was conducted simultaneously.
He said as there was a pro-Vajpayee mood in 1999, a similar pro-incumbency feeling was present among voters and added that the BJP had now become much stronger and will win a majority of seats like it did in 2014.
In the snap polls held in 1999, after the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government fell by one vote, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance had returned to power under him.
Rejecting any comparison between the 2004 polls, when the BJP under Vajpayee had suffered a shock defeat and the coming general election, Javadekar said the party organisation is much stronger now and the Modi government has delivered not just the "general good" like roads, but also "individual good" like electricity, houses, LPG connections and health facilities.
People have been given over Rs 4.5 lakh crore under 355 welfare schemes of the Modi government, he said.
The Opposition, he said, is divided and offers no policy or programme.
The SP-BSP-RLD alliance has kept the Congress away in Uttar Pradesh.
The Trinamool Congress, the Left and the Congress are fighting each other in West Bengal and a similar fractured opposition exists in many other states, he claimed.
Opposition leaders want a "majboor sarkar" (helpless government) as they believe in politics of entitlement while the BJP is for politics of empowerment.