Key Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally Shiv Sena and rival Congress hurled fresh barbs at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over its humiliating poll debacle in Delhi with the Sena today saying the entire Assembly poll campaign was run in his name and virtually demanded he accept the blame.
Adding insult to BJP’s injury after its decimation yesterday, the Sena also said the “broom-wielding” AAP reduced the party to “dirt”.
Coming to the defence of Modi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tried to play down the BJP’s debacle, saying that winning and losing are part of the electoral battle and this outcome should not be seen as a verdict on the Prime Minister.
Stating that the Sena has been BJP’s long-time associate, Fadnavis said that as an able coalition partner, it should be with the party in “good times and bad”. He was talking to reporters in Nashik.
Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said that Prime Minister’s “magic” has faded and his development agenda stands exposed with AAP’s landslide victory.
“Modi ka mayajaal toot gaya (Modi’s magic has ended). His much hyped development agenda stands exposed,” Scindia told reporters in Bhopal when asked about the poll outcome.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the victory of Aam Aadmi Party reflected people’s strong sentiments against the BJP and the Prime Minister.
“The result was the outcome of people’s strong sentiments against BJP and Prime Minister Modi and along with that Congress votes were also lost,” Chandy told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
Ignoring the remonstrations by some in the BJP for blaming Modi for the debacle, the Sena said in a scathing editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ that the party should make it clear who would own up to the blame.
“The entire election campaign was run in the name of Modi. Anna Hazare said this is Modi’s defeat. We too feel the same. The way the party attributed its success in other states to Modi, they should do the same for Delhi,” Sena said.
BJP has been steadfast in defending Modi against criticism for the defeat, insisting the Delhi assembly poll was not a referendum on him.
Targeting BJP leaders including Modi for their “negative” election campaign, the Sena said, “Along with Modi, all BJP leaders mocked at (Congress Vice-President) Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal in their speeches. Ultimately, the BJP had to bear the consequences of this negative campaign.”
“Are the Delhi results a start of a new era in politics? Why did people desert the BJP? Unemployment rate has not gone down, inflation is persistent, homeless haven’t got homes and poll promises haven’t been fulfilled,” the editorial said.
“Elections are not merely won on the back of speeches and poll promises. This election has brought to the fore unrest within the party. Amit Shah failed to cast his magic on people and using Modi as the final weapon too failed to yield results,” it said.
The editorial came on the heels of BJP’s angry protest over Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s jibe against Modi following the saffron party’s abject defeat in which he said the “tsunami” in Delhi had proved mightier than the “Modi wave”.