A Sena leader, who did not wish to be named, told The Indian Express that there was a dip in enthusiasm related to the poll-preparedness. “There is not much movement related to the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP will help us in campaigning and winning the Lok Sabha seats. BJP needs the numbers in Lok Sabha more than us.”
Last month, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP chief Amit Shah had announced a pre-poll alliance and seat-sharing formula for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the Assembly polls, scheduled later in the year. In the Lok Sabha polls, the Sena will contest on 23 seats and the BJP on 25.
Sena MPs, meanwhile, said that the poll-related activities were likely to pick up after the nominations were filed. “Not much activities are going on as of now. The sainiks have become complacent after the announcement of the alliance… it is a worrisome factor,” a Sena MP said, adding that it could have an impact on the polling percentage. The MP said local-level meetings were being held to reinvigorate party workers.
Another Sena MP said while the party is certain of a win, “…we can not afford to be overconfident and need to look at the arithmetic of each constituency. There are some constituencies where the opposition candidates secured sizeable votes in the last Lok Sabha polls.” He added a joint rally of the Sena and the BJP leaders could move things faster.
A Sena deputy vibhag pramukh said the opposition candidates seemed to be weak. “If there are strong opposition candidates, the Sainiks will work harder to ensure party candidates’ victory,” he said.