Congress and NCP are paper tigers, says UP deputy CM


Mumbai: Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma Sunday described the Congress and the NCP as “paper tigers”, who he said would be wiped out in the Lok Sabha elections which are being held in seven phases.

Addressing a press conference here, Sharma said the BJP would improve its tally of Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra under the leadership of state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

In 2014 general elections, the BJP had won 23 out of total 48 seats in Maharashtra while its ally Shiv Sena bagged 18 seats.

Sharma, who was in the city to campaign for BJP candidates in the fray from three out of total six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai, also attacked Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, who is contesting from Mumbai North West.

“Nirupam was first among those to seek proof of (the cross-border) surgical strike which was conducted after Uri terror attack (in 2016). After the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, Nirupam was seeking peace with Pakistan,” Sharma said.

Mumbai region is set to vote in the final phase on April 29.

Responding to a query on regional affinity of voters, Sharma said regional and caste considerations don’t matter in the current scenario but the work done by a political leader.

He also said there was no vacancy for PM’s post till 2024.

“We are confident that Maharashtra will lead the country in giving a direction to the national political course after polls,” he said.

On the challenge posed by the Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Sharma said they are like “paper tigers” who are set to lose.

Speaking about emerging political scenario in Uttar Pradesh, Sharmapredicted the BJPwould win 74 out of total 80 constituencies in the politically crucial state.

“The trends of first two phases show that people have voted for a strong and stable government,” he said.

He also described the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh as an “opportunist” combine.

“The Opposition in UP is scared because the combination of Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set new benchmarks of development,” he said.

In 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) had formed an alliance while Mayawati-led BSP stayed out to eat into the votes of the BJP, he said.

“The scenario is changed this time with ‘UP ke ladke’ (a reference to SP chief Akhilesh Yadav) being replaced by ‘buaji’ (Mayawati), whereas the Congress has taken her place,” he said.

Hinting at a tacit understanding between the SP and the Congress, he said despite Akhilesh terming Congress a “cheater”, the SP is not contesting in Amethi and Raibareli seats, the pocketboroughs of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, respectively.

“Similarly, the Congress has not fielded candidates in Ferozabad, Kannauj and Azamgarh constituencies (which are traditional bastions of the SP).

“Moreover, Congress’ Patnasahib nominee ShatrughanSinha is campaigning for a SP contestant while his wife Poonam Sinha is fighting on SP ticket from Lucknow,” he said.