KOLKATA: Calling opposition parties' efforts to forge an alliance to take on BJP in upcoming national polls a futile exercise without a prime ministerial candidate, senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan Thursday said it was like readying for a wedding without anyone knowing who would be the groom.
The BJP national vice-president and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said the opposition alliance is without any principle, intention or leader and claimed the BJP will win 300 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, expected to take place in April-May.
He also took a swipe at Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party getting into a seat-sharing arrangement in Uttar Pradesh and said it is not clear who has prevailed over whom - Akhilesh Yadav or Mayawati - to form the alliance.
"Only hands have come together, but not the hearts," Chouhan said at a press conference at the BJP headquarters here, while alleging that the alliances are being formed only to serve interests of the opposition leaders and not on the basis of any idealism.
He said the BJP will improve its tally from the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the entire NDA (National Democratic Alliance) will win 400 seats this time.
"The opposition does not have any niti, niyat aur neta (principle, intention or leader), while in our case all these are in front of the world," Chouhan said.
He said the "in-cohesive" opposition alliance was like a wedding where preparations have been done for the party and even the bridegroom's horse is decked up, but nobody knows who will be the groom (prime minister).
He also dismissed allegations the opposition allegations that summoning of Robert Vadra, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's husband, or the CBI action against Kolkata Police Commissioner had links to the upcoming elections, saying investigations had started long back and the summons being issued now was incidental.
Chouhan said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being wrongly accused of vindictiveness.
He also alleged that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was standing by a police officer now, but she did not shed her tears for poor who lost their money in chit fund scam or for those who committed suicide after having been rendered penniless.
"Despite the poor people's sufferings, you (Banerjee) did not sit on a dharna. When your party's (TMC) leaders and MPs were arrested you did not think of sitting on a dharna. But when the CBI reached the residence of a police commissioner who is required for assistance in the probe, you opted for a sit-in," he said.
It is unprecedented that an elected head of a state sits on a dharna for a police commissioner and police officers also join the demonstration, Chouhan said.
"If officers are there for providing security do they sit or stand, or do they come in uniform instead of civil dress?" he asked.
Chouhan alleged that the TMC government in the state is throttling democracy and making a mockery of the Constitution by preventing opposition leaders from holding public meetings and rallies.
"Recently assembly elections were held in Madhya Pradesh. There was not a single incident of violence or booth capturing, while more than 100 people died during panchayat elections in Bengal," he alleged.
He claimed that Trilochan Mahato, a 20-year old man in Purulia district, was hanged before local body polls because he was a BJP worker.
Mahato's body was found hanging from a tree under Balarampur limits in Purulia district on May 30, 2017 after the rural polls.
BJP had claimed that he was a party member and an unsigned handwritten note in Bengali found near the body of the 20-year-old victim said that he was "punished for working for the BJP" during the recent rural polls in the state.
Chouhan also alleged that West Bengal began to slide in terms of development during the 30-year Congress rule (from 1947-1977), while violence was ushered into the state's politics during the 34-year Left Front rule (1977-2011).
"During the current TMC rule, the state is suffering from poverty, violence and syndicate raj," he alleged and said Banerjee needs to answer the country on the Saradha scam.
He accused the TMC government of stopping BJP from holding rallies, trying to create impediments for Modi and BJP president Amit Shah's meetings and preventing Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from holding rallies by refusing permission to land helicopters.
Chouhan, however, thanked Banerjee for not giving permission for his helicopter to land, saying he got an opportunity to travel by road and could interact with people who are disillusioned with the the TMC rule.
He was scheduled to address two public meetings Wednesday but could attend only one at Kharagpur.
A scheduled public meeting at Baharampur had to be cancelled as the district administration did not give permission to land his helicopter.
He said that the opposition is talking of 'Mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance), but its constituents are afraid of Modi's rule.
"What kind of a grand alliance is this where Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee talk of going together, while the state unit of Congress is opposed to TMC," he said and claimed that he has learnt about the CPI(M) and Congress coming closer now.