Claiming that the Congress was doing much better in Maharashtra than what was being assumed, senior party leader Anand Sharma on Thursday said his party would win double-digit seats in the state. The alliance with NCP would fetch more than 20 seats in the state, he claimed.
“Twenty is the minimum, I think, we are getting. Both the partners would be in double digits. I don’t think there is too much a difference between the NDA and us in Maharashtra. It would be a matter of a few seats here and there in terms of who gets more,” Sharma, who is deputy leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said in an interaction with The Indian Express.
“In Vidarbha, which went to polls in the first phase, we will win at least five seats. Mark my words. Even (Union Highways Minister and BJP leader) Nitin Gadkari is not safe in Nagpur. Don’t be surprised if he does not win,” said Sharma.
The Congress leader claimed that people were angry with the BJP government, and especially with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, because of lack of jobs and the agrarian crisis. “Joblessness and farm crisis will take this government down. The arrogance of the Prime Minister is insufferable,” he said.
Attacking Modi for “bringing down the level of public debate”, Sharma said no other Prime Minister had lowered the dignity of his office like Modi had.
“The language he used to speak before he became the Prime Minister was unbecoming of the chief minister of a state. But we used to think that maybe he will change after becoming the Prime Minister. But he has only become worse. The kind of words he uses are not meant to be used in a healthy democracy. This has never happened in this country’s history. From Jawaharlal Nehru to Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Manmohan Singh, no one has lowered the dignity of the Prime Minister’s Office the way Modi has been doing. In a democracy, we should have healthy respect for our opponents. Modi clearly does not believe in these things,” Sharma said.
And that was why, Sharma claimed, there was no ‘Modi wave’ this time. “There is anger among the youth as the government has failed to ensure adequate employment opportunities. The farmers are angry as the government has not been able to give them anything,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Sharma, while addressing a press conference, said the Modi government had no success stories to take to the voters, as a result of which it was talking about the Balakot air strikes.
“He is making an emotional appeal to the people by raking up the air strikes, the sacrifice of our jawans and caste issues. The decision of the Modi government, to implement demonetisation and GST, broke the back of the economy. Instead of creating new jobs, even the existing jobs were lost. That is why unemployment kept growing. The common man was hit as petrol, diesel, gas and electricity rates went up,” he said.
Sharma was in Pune city to campaign for Congress-NCP alliance candidate Mohan Joshi.