The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) narrative that its recent electoral triumph in four States was solely owing to its development work there was false, said the Shiv Sena on Monday, asserting that a split in the Opposition votes helped it coast to victory.
In an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena said contentious issues like hijab were calculatedly raked up (by the BJP) with an eye on the polls and would now fade away as the elections in five States were over.
“However, they will be revived once the 2024 Lok Sabha polls are near,” it said.
Asserting that the BJP gave a religious colour to such issues which then took precedence over developmental works during elections, the Sena accused All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi of acting like the BJP’s ‘B-team’.
“Even though the BJP might say it won on the basis of development in the four States, it is not true. They won as a result of a division of votes and many other factors. Did Mr. Owaisi take the poll plunge in Uttar Pradesh to secure Muslim votes? No. He [Mr. Owaisi] was used to divide the Muslim votes and to instigate the Hindu community. The BJP achieved success with this tactic, but till how long will it last?” said the Sena.
The editorial disagreed with PM Narendra Modi’s claims that the BJP’s victory was a decisive indicator of the party’s performance in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
The Sena agreed with poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s remarks that results in “a State election cannot decide the future of a Lok Sabha election”.
Alluding to the civic and Assembly polls in Maharashtra, the editorial said issues like terrorism, Pakistan and Dawood Ibrahim, which were forgotten by the BJP once the polls were over, would be raked up again.
Acknowledging the ineffective leadership of the non-BJP Opposition in contrast to PM Modi’s leadership, the Sena said creating a viable Opposition leader by 2024 would have the BJP in a fix.
“The Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo and the entire BJP take to the electoral battlefield in a reckless manner. The BJP takes to the political or electoral battlefield only to win or defeat the opponents. Their aim is to completely decimate the political opponents,” said the editorial.
The Sena, which shares power in Maharashtra along with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, had targeted Mr. Owaisi’s campaign in U.P. last year as well, remarking that the AIMIM leader was nothing but a “behind–the–scenes facilitator” of the BJP in its successful political journey in the country.