MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena on Monday said the West Bengal election results have proved that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are not invincible.
An editorial in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said out of four states (West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala) and a Union Territory (Puducherry) which recently went to polls, all eyes were on West Bengal.
"Instead of tackling the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the entire central government, including Prime Minister Modi, was in the poll arena of West Bengal to defeat (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee," it said.
On Sunday, Banerjee fended off a spirited challenge by a resurgent BJP in West Bengal with a landslide victory for her Trinamool Congress (TMC) party for a third consecutive term.
"The results have proved that despite having all the machinery and technology at their disposal, Modi-Shah are not invincible," the Marathi daily said.
The Shiv Sena, which shares power in Maharashtra with the NCP and Congress, did not contest the West Bengal polls, but extended its support to Banerjee.
West Bengal had to go through eight phases of voting, the editorial noted, and claimed the BJP used money, power andgovernment machinery to defeat Mamata Banerjee.
"The BJP lost and the corona won. This is a one-line analysis of the Bengal poll results," the editorial said.
With the single aim to win West Bengal, Modi and Shah entered the poll fray, held massive rallies and roadshows, violating all COVID-19 safety rules, it alleged.
It said the Madras High Court has blamed the Election Commission for the spread of COVID-19 due to the long-drawn campaign in the states where polls were recently held, especially West Bengal.
The Sena asked who will take the responsibility of the BJP's performance in the polls.
Except for Assam and Puducherry, the BJP has not done well (in other states which went to polls), it said.
"The people of West Bengal need to be complimented for not falling prey to an artificial wave and for unitedly standing up for their own prestige. The country should learn from Bengal," the editorial said.