Even as reports of the residual disgruntlement between Shiv Sena and BJP over the latter's overtures to Raj Thackeray-led MNS persist, former BJP Maharashtra chief and legislator from Ballarpur in Chandrapur district, Sudhir Mungantiwar claims that the crisis has blown over. Speaking to Dhaval Kulkarni from dna, Mungantiwar projected the BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi as a change agent who would work for India's betterment. Edited excerpts:
How do you analyse the present political situation?
We have a sub-terrain wave in favour of Modi, like the Janata wave in 1977. The same wave exists in Maharashtra and BJP-Shiv Sena-led Mahayuti will win here. Congress is in trouble and is, hence, using the same old allegations on the 2002 riots and communalism, which it has been invoking for years. During BJP and Sena's years in power in the state and at the Centre, riots never occurred. We ruled on the plank of development and there has been no instance of someone being discriminated on the grounds of caste and religion. Instead of talking on development, Congress and NCP are targeting Modi and trying to diminish him. However, they will fail in this.
What will be the effect of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Maharashtra?
AAP will have no effect in Maharashtra due to the experience people had with them in Delhi. In the movie Nayak, Anil Kapoor becomes the chief minister but not by tying up with (villain) Amrish Puri. AAP took support from Congress and will have to reap the perils of the same. They have changed colours faster than a chameleon.
The relation between Shiv Sena and BJP seem to have hit a rough patch over former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari's overtures to MNS. There are fears that this dispute may manifest itself in the Lok Sabha polls.
That is a closed chapter. The activists of Shiv Sena and BJP are patriotic and are worried about the state of the country. Hence, Sena workers will help BJP candidates, while BJP activists will help Sena nominees. Ramdas Athavale's RPI is also with us. We are working together as one. Modi held a public meeting in Amravati for Sena candidate Anandrao Adsul. Our differences of opinion have been sunk. Our alliance is very strong and stands on the bedrock of ideology. Such things will never impact us in the elections.
BJP workers and leaders had expressed consternation at the language used by Sena against Gadkari.
That was the result of a misunderstanding. This misunderstanding, in turn, has been done away with and both parties need to ensure that this is not repeated in the future. Shiv Sena must exercise restraint while talking about BJP leaders and vice versa.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, MNS had led to Shiv Sena and BJP being defeated in nine constituencies.
MNS will have no impact in the Lok Sabha polls. These elections, people are under the Modi fever and they have made up their mind to ensure Modi becomes the PM to return India to its golden days. Instead of being bogged down by factors like caste and religion, people see the capability in Modi to convert India to a 'sujalam, sufalam' land. While (Congress vice president) Rahul Gandhi has no administrative experience, Modi has converted Gujarat into a 'suvarna bhoomi'.