Amid several senior leaders of the opposition Congress and NCP joining the BJP, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said those inducted constitute just about two per cent of the ruling party's current strength of leaders.
Mr Fadnavis also said there is no need of an astrologer to predict the "bleak" future of the Congress and NCP.
He was speaking to reporters in Latur district as part of his 'Mahajanadesh Yatra', a mass outreach programme ahead of the upcoming state Assembly polls, which would conclude in Solapur later in the evening.
"We have inducted four-five leaders so far who need to be given ticket in the Assembly elections among all those who have joined. The BJP leaders' original strength of some 98 per cent is as it is."
He also took a dig at former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan who, in sarcastic remarks, said Mr Fadnavis was talking like a "political astrologer" by predicting that the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi may get Leader of the Opposition's post in the next Maharashtra Assembly.
"There is no need of an astrologer to indicate the bleak future of the Congress and NCP, even the common man has realised it," Mr Fadnavis said.
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) was formed by Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh leader Prakash Ambedkar and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi ahead of the Lok Sabha polls held earlier this year.
The VBA managed to win just one of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state, but took away a sizable number of votes, which the Congress and NCP claimed helped the BJP's cause. The Congress and NCP also labelled the VBA as the "B team of the BJP".
Meanwhile, Mr Fadnavis also said the state government was planning to divert 167 TMC water (from various reservoirs in the state) to the Godavari basin.
"A detailed project report for 25 TMC is ready with us. The Jal Parishad has approved the project followed by in-principle nod of the Cabinet," he said.
He said the government was also looking at a long-term solution for the problem of water scarcity in the drought-prone Marathwada region of the state.
If the Tembhu lift irrigation project (in Sangli) could work, then why not for Marathwada as well, he said. "The Godavari Water Disputes Tibunal has given permission for 102 TMC water (to Maharashtra), but in last seven-eight years, we could not use more than 80 TMC," he said.
"There have been some changes in the river's course and rainfall. We need to arrest the entire 102 TMC water and we can build dams and other structures for the same. No tribunal can object to us over it," he said.
The chief minister further said the government has already transferred Rs 1,400 crore to the authorities concerned for the construction of two tunnels for carrying water from the Ujani dam in Solapur to Latur.
"We are trying to finish the work by May 2020," he said.
The state government has also proposed a 64,000-km long pipeline to supply filtered water to the entire Marathwada region, he said.
"Tenders for Aurangabad and Jalna are already out. We are trying to float tenders for Latur and Osmanabad before the announcement of the code of conduct (for the upcoming state polls)," he added.