By Anand Singh
Lucknow: Asserting that Narendra Modi remains the first choice for the post of Prime Minister, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that Modi does not need the chair, but it is the chair that needs him.
In an interview to IANS, Maurya also said that the alliance between the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party, Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party and the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal will fail in the state as the people are with Modi and the BJP-led NDA will win more than 73 seats that it won in 2014.
“In the 2019 elections, people of the country have two options in front of them. One is Modiji and another is (Congress President) Rahul Gandhi or a dozen other leaders.
“So, the people are left with a choice of only one candidate – Modiji. The post of Prime Minister is very big. And I can say that Modiji does not need the chair but it is the chair that needs Modiji,” Maurya said.
Commenting on the SP-BSP-RLD alliance in the state, the BJP leader said that fear is its basis.
“This alliance has failed in the state. They have done an alliance and announced their candidates but the graph of the BJP is rising.
“People have understood their plans and have formed an alliance with Narendra Modi… we are hopeful of getting more than 73 seats,” Maurya said.
The BJP leader said the party was also confident of winning the Amethi parliamentary constituency represented by Rahul Gandhi.
Asked about Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar wanting to contest against Modi, he said: “BJP never looks at who will contest against Modiji and what will be its effect on the elections.”
“We know the people of Varanasi will support Modiji and this time we will get a much bigger mandate,” he said adding that the caste or religion card will no longer work.
Commenting on the opposition parties accusing the BJP of politicising the armed forces and posters being brought out by the party leaders with images of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, he said: “For the respect of soldier and the security forces, the entire country is united. And those who will insult the Army will not be accepted by the people.”
“After the Modi government came to power, surgical strikes happened twice and once we carried out an air strike against terror outfits in Pakistan. Demanding evidence of the results of the surgical strike and the air strike is respect or disrespect,” he asked.
Responding to a question about situation in UP after the Pulwama terror strike that left 40 CRPF troopers dead, he said: “The condition in the state always remained in favour of Modi even before Pulwama happened. There is also no effect of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra or Rahul or Akhilesh or Mayawati.”
The BJP had won 71 out of 80 seats in the state in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, while its ally, the Apna Dal won 2. The Congress won two and the SP five.
The seven phased Lok Sabha elections are scheduled from April 11 to May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])