In the wake of the recent Bharatiya Janata Party's debacle in the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar byelections, the Shiv Sena on Friday said that the BJP's tally may drop by 100-110 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
BJP's political ally said it was quite clear BJP's numbers will not be 282 after the 2019 general elections.
The Shiv Sena made this gloomy prediction following the recently concluded UP and Bihar bypolls, where the party lost its stronghold in Gorakhpur and Phulpur to the strategic BSP-SP alliance.
"The twin wins by the Samajwadi Party in BJP bastions like Gorakhpur and Phulpur has created panic in the BJP camp even as they were busy celebrating the party's victory in a small state like Tripura last week," the Sena said in a tough edit in the party mouthpieces, 'Saamana' (Marathi) and 'Dopahar Ka Saamana' (Hindi).
Although the BJP claims that byelections do not indicate the exact mood of the country, ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over, the party has lost nearly nine seats in the Lok Sabha bypolls, slashing its tally from 282 to around 272 - the half-way mark in the 543-strong Lower House, the editorial said.
"It was barely a year ago that the BJP won the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, creating a record by winning 325 seats. The saffron-clad Yogi Adityanath, who has never lost the Gorakhpur seat since 1991, became the state Chief Minister. So despite the huge popularity, they enjoyed, why was their citadel shattered," the Sena wondered.
It could be said that in 2014, there was a huge "wave" of popularity that blinded the eyes of the masses, leading to BJP's victory, but, now the wave has receded and people can "see" everything clearly, the edit said.
The BJP is now alleging "poor voter turnout", "lack of enthusiasm" or "a deal between the Samajwadi Party with Bahujan Samaj Party" for its rout in the two critical seats in Uttar Pradesh.
"Since 2014, how many deals has the BJP entered into for power... What about Naresh Agrawal, who was inducted in BJP with such fanfare? In Tripura, the BJP could win only after the entire Congress and Trinamool Congress 'merged' with it" the Sena pointed out.
Referring to the polls, the Sena said the SP candidates secured big margins in both Gorakhpur and Phulpur, indicating that the people went out of the way to defeat the BJP in both seats which it won with huge margins of two-three lakh votes in 2014.
On Rashtriya Janata Dal's win in Bihar's Jehanabad and Araria, the Sena said some BJP leaders were living in a fool's paradise as they attributed it to "a sympathy wave" for the jailed RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav.
"Amidst all this, it is clear now, that in 2019, the BJP's numbers will not be 280, but it will plummet by at least 100-110 seats. The elections are not being fought in Russia, America, Canada, France or Israel, but in India. So they (BJP) should keep their feet on the ground here," the Sena warned.