Expressing confidence that the opposition alliance will decimate the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar, senior leader Sharad Yadav claimed on Sunday that the Narendra Modi government is on its way out due to the BJP's poor show in Hindi heartland states such as Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Mr Yadav, who is contesting the Lok Sabha poll from Madhepura in Bihar as a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidate, asserted that a polarisation of most of the backward castes, Dalits and Muslims has taken place in favour of the opposition alliance in the state.
The alliance of the Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD, Congress and Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) among others will clinch as many seats as the NDA had in 2014, Sharad Yadav told news agency PTI in an interview, asserting that there is anger among the poor due to agrarian distress.
The NDA had won 31 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 in Bihar, while the opposition alliance had got nine.
Mr Yadav dismissed the claims of top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that the NDA is set to retain power at the Centre. He alleged a section of media has been "used" by the BJP leaders to "beat their drums" but the reality on ground is vastly different from what is shown on TV.
"Where is the BJP winning? Their seats will be reduced significantly in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The SP-BSP (Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party) alliance is far ahead of them in UP. They are losing in Bihar and also in Jharkhand. That the Modi government will be out of power on May 23 is certain," he said.
Four phases of the seven-phase general election have been held so far and the counting of votes is scheduled for May 23.
Asked about the BJP's campaign plank of nationalism and national security, Mr Yadav alleged the nationalism for the party is all about Hindu-Muslim issues under the garb of Kashmir and Pakistan.
"Their nationalism is all sentiments and exclude people. Are farmers' welfare, employment for youths and reducing poverty of Dalits and backwards not nationalism? But it is of no concern to the BJP," Mr Yadav said.
India had divided Pakistan in 1971 and its forces had marched closer to Lahore in 1965 under the Congress governments, he said, adding that Sikkim had merged with India in 1975 when Indira Gandhi was prime minister.
"This is nationalism. What is their nationalism? It is all Hindu-Musalman for them," he said, attacking the BJP.
He alleged the PM Modi government's policies have caused massive distress among farmers and the farmers in Bihar were forced to sell maize for as low as Rs 900 per quintal against its minimum support price of close to Rs 1425.
The government's claim of 'vikas' (development) is a sham, he alleged, adding that unemployment, lack of opportunities and farm distress will result in the BJP's loss. Demonetisation caused a loss of over four crore jobs, he alleged.
In Bihar, he said entry of leaders like Upendra Kushwaha, Jitan Ram Manjhi and Mukesh Sahni have broadened the base of the opposition alliance and led to a consolidation of Dalit and backward castes in its favour.