S Jaishankar Asked To Bet On BJP Poll Score At NDTV Battleground. His Reply

Dr S Jaishankar was in a conversation with NDTV's editor-in-chief Sanjay Pugalia at Battleground, a special show focused on the election

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar was at NDTV's special show Battleground

New Delhi:

Pro-incumbency in several states and growing support in areas that are not the BJP's traditional strongholds will ensure that the ruling party beats its 2019 score in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said at NDTV's special show Battleground with Editor-in-Chief Sanjay Pugalia.

Asked what number he would choose if he has to place a bet on the BJP's tally in these polls, Dr Jaishankar said he would leave the numbers to experts. "But I can tell you one thing, I had several public interactions in this election. I think the support base in very solid. People have a way of showing pro-incumbency. So I felt there is a pro-incumbency in several states. Secondly, I went to Kerala several times last year. I went to Telangana for the election. These are not the BJP's traditional states. I sensed an emerging energy there. I can say that the trend in our favour is very positive. On the basis of my experience, I feel the numbers will increase, not decrease," he said.

On what is the basis of the BJP's claims that it will perform well in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and West Bengal, the former diplomat said the BJP is a "professional" party and does not rely on guesswork. "We analyse at the booth level and move upwards. When we say we will get this number of seats in this state, a lot of thought has gone into it. You have said the 370 target is a slogan. I don't think (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji has not randomly mentioned a number. Some thought has gone into it. It is clear that in several states, we will be able to hold our position and in some states, such as Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, we will increase our seats," he said.

A Rajya Sabha member, Dr Jaishankar has been instrumental in articulating New Delhi's position on international forums at a turbulent time as far as geopolitics in concerned. India's stand on international conflict situations and the Centre's steps in bringing Indians stranded in war zones safely home is a key plank in the BJP's campaign for a third straight term.

Five phases of the general election are over and two phases -- scheduled for May 25 and June 1 -- are left. Results will be counted on June 4.