Taking potshots at its ally over the Bihar poll outcome, Shiv Sena on Tuesday labelled RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav as the “man of the match” of the elections, while blaming the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan’s defeat on the Congress.
“Had the Congress performed better, Tejashwi would already have been declared CM,” Sena MP Sanjay Raut told mediapersons. He also refused to comment on Congress’ allegations of EVM tampering, saying that he had no knowledge of such statements.
Complimenting Tejashwi Yadav, the Sena spokesperson said, “He has emerged as the face of Bihar’s future. While he had no support, BJP had the entire state machinery and the might of Prime Minister Narendra Modi (behind it). Still, Tejaswhi managed to challenge them.”
Countering Raut, Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam, who was a star campaigner for the Bihar polls, pointed to Sena’s own drubbing in the elections.
“On 21 of the 22 seats it contested, Shiv Sena candidates got less votes than the NOTA option. It would be good if they keep their mouths shut and do not comment on the poll performance of the Congress,” said Nirupam.
Expressing surprise at the poll outcome, he added, “What we had seen on the ground was a mood for change. The Mahagathbandhan, led by Tejashwi Yadav, also ran an impressive campaign. We will have to introspect why it did not translate into votes.”
Earlier, in an editorial, Sena mouthpiece Saamana had compared the PM with US President Donald Trump and warned of BJP’s loss in the polls.
Taking on BJP, Raut further said that it was BJP’s experience with Sena in Maharashtra that may have ensured that Nitish Kumar remained in contention for the post of the chief minister despite BJP outperforming JDU.
The BJP, he added, had played games in Maharashtra over the post of the chief minister and has now realised that it cannot trifle with allies.
Raut also used the Bihar poll outcome to congratulate BJP’s Bihar poll in-charge and former CM Devendra Fadnavis for “his success”.
On condition of anonymity, a senior Congress leader said that the party’s poll campaign lacked cohesiveness, with the local leadership in Bihar being sidelined by senior leaders.
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