The Shiv Sena today congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP-led NDA headed to retain power comfortably and added a message - no one would be able to pose a challenge before PM Modi for the next 25 years.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party had often criticised the BJP in the last five years, but eventually sealed a fresh alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha election.
Sena parliamentarian Sanjay Raut said the people have given a befitting reply to opposition parties that created "an atmosphere of illusion" against PM Modi over issues such as the Rafale fighter jet deal.
"The truth has to be accepted that no one could counter Modi. Today's mandate is such that no one can counter (PM Modi) for the next 25 years," Mr Raut, who edits the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, told reporters in Mumbai.
The Rajya Sabha member said the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is doing well also in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where the Congress won the assembly elections last year.
"The country has reposed faith in Narendra Modi's leadership for the next five years. He will take the country even higher in five years," Mr Raut added.
The BJP and Shiv Sena combine in Maharashtra has taken 40 seats so far in trends made available by the Election Commission. The Congress and NCP have won seven, according to trends, in the state that sends 48 members to the Lok Sabha.
Over the last five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been credited with trying to tighten the administration, a strong foreign policy and high-profile campaigns like Swachh Bharat and make-in-India. But he has been attacked by the opposition over a slowing economy, failure to create jobs, a farm sector crisis and rising hate crimes by right-wing fringe groups. Earlier this week, the BJP has prepped a blueprint for its next term, built around the three themes of nationalism, national security and development.
With inputs from PTI