- Sena and BJP held a rally in Kolhapur, considered NCP bastion
- PM Modi's approach to terrorism different from UPA government: Fadnavis
- Shiv Sena mocked the opposition's over their seat-sharing issues
The Lok Sabha elections will be fought between those who take on the country's enemies head-on and others who question the achievements of its armed forces for political reasons, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said at a rally held jointly by the Shiv Sena and the BJP in Kolhapur district on Sunday.
He and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray launched the political campaign earlier in the day after visiting the Mahalakshmi Temple to pay their respects to goddess Ambabai. Addressing a packed crowd, the BJP politician quickly got down to ridiculing the opposition. "We have decided on our alliance and even distributed tickets, but what about the opposition? They say they are 56 parties in all, but you don't need 56 parties to win an election. You need a 56-inch chest," he said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mr Fadnavis described his party's agreement with the Shiv Sena as a "Hindutvawadi" alliance that goes beyond caste, religion and language. "Also, we have nationalism in our DNA instead of our name," he said in a pointed jibe at Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The two parties will be facing off against the Congress-NCP alliance in the Lok Sabha elections, to be held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.
Mr Fadnavis then went on to list the many achievements of the Narendra Modi government, including bank accounts, toilets and gas connections for the poor. "India and Maharashtra are changing together. I challenge the Congress to get data for the last 15 years and compare it with that of the last four-and-a-half years," he claimed, adding that his government stands firmly with farmers.
The Maharashtra Chief Minister said that PM Modi's approach to terrorism is very different from that of the previous UPA government, which "only went to the United Nations and held negotiations" after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Mr Thackeray indicated in his address that the Shiv Sena's differences with the BJP were a thing of the past, and their objectives were now intertwined. "When we had to fight with the BJP, we did it openly. But that's over now, and we will are embracing each other with open arms," he said.
The Shiv Sena chief also mocked the opposition's lack of a prime ministerial face at the rally. "If they come to you, tell them that we have a prime ministerial candidate in Modi. Ask them who do they have," he said, adding that their political rivals were still struggling with seat-sharing issues.
Mr Thackeray said that the NDA's victory in the Lok Sabha elections will also spell good news for those wanting a temple at Ayodhya. "I'm sure that the Ram Mandir will be built once we come to power. We want to win for the sake of serving the people, not for any position," he claimed.
Election Results for Lok Sabha Election 2019 will be out on May 23. Get the latest election news and live updates on ndtv.com/elections. Catch all the action on NDTV Live. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the election 2019