India's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati yesterday dashed any hopes of a post-poll alignment with the BJP-led NDA, an option about which Narendra Modi had talked in an interview.
"I want to make it clear that BSP will not extend any kind of support to Modi or NDA to form the government at any cost," Mayawati told reporters in Lucknow.
Also, rejecting the possibility of a tie up with BJP, Trinamool Congress spokesman Derek O'Brien said, "If he says BJP's doors are open for a Modi-led government, then I will use the same analogy to say that our doors are shut and the keys have been thrown away.”
He said the BJP's claim of 372 was a "hallucination" and suggested the party may get 180 to 190 seats, reports The Hindustan Times.
Both were reacting to Modi's comments in a television interview hinting at keeping the doors open for doing business with leaders like Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati.
Justifying attacks on political rivals for encouraging illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Modi hinted that BJP was open to alliances with the three powerful regional leaders after the national elections.
He alleged illegal immigration from Bangladesh was being encouraged due to vote-bank politics. "This is all due to vote-bank politics and some should oppose it,” he said.
"If one protests against infiltration, again it is called communal. Who will speak for my country then?" he told Times Now TV channel in an interview aired on Thursday night.
Asked if he was playing to religious sentiments when he said persecuted Hindus from Bangladesh should be given shelter in India while apparently excluding others, Modi said he is willing to accept a broader definition that includes Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others.
Notwithstanding his slanging match with Mamata, Mayawati, and Jayalalithaa during campaigning, the BJP leader suggested such strong criticism did not automatically shut the door on possible post-poll alliances with their parties, reports our New Delhi correspondent Pallab Bhattacharya.
“This can also be a strategy to keep the door open,” he said when asked if his attacks on the three leading lady politicians did not close the door on tie-ups with these parties, if need be, after the elections, particularly of BJP or the NDA led by it fails to get majority on its own.
“Whatever I wanted to explain, I have. This can also be a tactic to keep the door open,” the controversial politician said in the interview. “I won't explain it now but will do it after May 12.”
"Politics isn't conducted on the basis of what is said in the course of election campaign. Look at ancient history. Elections bring about a different kind of atmosphere. Every party spreads awareness about itself," Modi said ahead of the final phase of India's elections on May 12. Counting of votes will be taken up on May 16.
He stressed BJP has gone to the polls with the largest number of pre-poll allies and expressed confidence that NDA would get a clear majority on its own.
“For the first time in India's political history, BJP has 25 parties in a pre-poll alliance in the electoral fray. Even during the NDA regime, we didn't have a pre-poll alliance. Congress too has never had a pre-poll alliance on this scale.”
The BJP leader defended his attack on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra saying he was bound to react when allegations are levelled against him.
“If you are making serious allegations against me then can I not respond? Shouldn't I respond?”
Modi, however, sought to suggest he had no personal animosity towards the Gandhis and said he had even sent a bouquet of flowers to Sonia Gandhi after it became public that she was ill two years ago.
“But you must know that when the news of Sonia Madam being ill came to light, I was the first person, not even senior Congressmen, I was the first one to send her a 'get well soon' message with a bouquet.”
Also yesterday, exuding confidence that BJP and its existing NDA partners would win more than 300 seats to form a government, Modi's close aide and BJP's UP in-charge Amit Shah said the party is still open to support from any party “if they want to ally for the country's development”.
Reacting to BSP leader Mayawati's comments that there was no possibility of her party supporting the BJP, Shah told reporters in Varanasi that the “BJP does not believe in political untouchability”.
He added, “All parties are welcome to join the NDA if they want to give their support for the development of this country.”
The BJP leader also took a jibe at the election authorities and the district magistrate for refusing permission to Modi's rally, while allowing others, reports PTI.