After a gruelling day of campaigning during which he addressed three rallies in Pune, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan took time out to talk to Deccan Herald’s B S Arun, expressing confidence of the Congress-NCP alliance doing well in the Lok Sabha elections. Excerpts:
Are the current elections a referendum for the state governments ruled by Congress and its allies?
As you know this is the Lok Sabha elections and is fought on the performance of the Government of India. So it cannot be a referendum for the work done by the state governments, be it those of the Congress or the BJP. Yes, if Central policies are not effectively implemented by state governments, it may impact on the results.
Your alliance won 25 out of 48 seats in 2009. How will you fare now?
We will do better this time. In the last two LS polls, the talk was that our combine will do badly. We all know what happened.
There is a view that the alliance is insecure this time because of the perceived ‘Modi wave’…
There is nothing like insecurity. I toured the entire Vidarbha region and I am touring Western Maharashtra now. I have not experienced any Modi wave. There was a lot of hype. Now even that is wearing off. As far as the current polls are concerned, the BJP-Modi balloon will be punctured once election results are out. Modi cannot manage a coalition like Vajpayee did. He cannot take everybody along. The people of India have realised that Modi’s leadership is dictatorial. Under Modi, there is no scope for debate and dissent.
There are talks the UPA is not really pulling together…
Our alliance is working fine. Instead of our alliance, why don’t you talk about the BJP-Shiv Sena combine? I am surprised how the senior-most alliance partner (Shiv Sena) does not get seat on the dais at Modi rallies. Is this the way to treat your ally? Modi in Maharashtra didn’t mention the name of Balasaheb Thackeray even once. The BJP is talking to MNS when Shiv Sena is opposing it. BJP told MNS, don’t contest against us which means it is OK if Sena gets defeated elsewhere. How is Sena tolerating this insult? You are asking me will our alliance survive. I am asking will BJP-Sena alliance survive?
Maharashtra will face Assembly elections in October…
I have no doubt that we will do well. The alliance is intact. I repeat there is no insecurity. Otherwise we would not have won three straight terms. I am telling you, despite the 15 years rule, we will win again. It is a question of good governance and bad governance only. We gave good governance and we won.