File photo: Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee Photograph:( AFP )
'The BJP's tally will reduce to half in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. So how will they come back to power?' Banerjee reasoned.
The long electoral exercise is heading towards an end in India, with only the seventh and last phase of voting remaining. The politicians are now eagerly waiting for election results, scheduled to be announced on May 23.
But before the results are out, tongues are wagging and regional leaders - who many say will hold the key to government formation - are predicting not-so-bright future for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
One such politician is West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee who said that the BJP will not win more than 150 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.
On the campaign trail, she spoke to Zee 24 Ghanta, Zee Media's Bengali language channel. "I have attended more than 100 meetings and undertook pad yatras (march on foot) in this heatwave. I think I am dehydrated," said Banerjee, smiling. But as the conversation moved towards election results and BJP's future, she turned combative.
"The BJP formed the government in 2014 because of the high number of seats it won in Uttar Pradesh. They won 73 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. But this time, they will not get more than 17 seats in UP. The alliance of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati will win 55 seats, so if you deduct 55 from 73, you'll get the actual number of seats that BJP will get," Banerjee told Zee 24 Ghanta.
"The BJP's tally will reduce to half in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. So how will they come back to power?" Banerjee added.
When asked if Congress will support a PM face from regional parties, Banerjee said, "The regional parties will get more seats than the BJP and the Congress. If there is such a situation, we can ask for Congress's support. We want to make a stable government." At the same time, she also ruled out supporting BJP in case there is a need. "I don't know how BJP is saying it will win all 42 seats in West Bengal? Everything will be clear on May 23. But the TMC will never support BJP," said Banerjee.
"If someone gives love, we are ready to wash dishes at that person's house. But if someone threatens us, we will not spare that person," added Banerjee.
Banerjee has been instrumental in forging the 'Mahagathbandhan', a group of like-minded parties who have come together to stop the BJP from forming the government. She, along with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, has met leaders of various parties to take on the BJP.
Nine constituencies of West Bengal will vote in the final phase of the seven-phased Lok Sabha election on May 19. The staggered election exercise has seen more than seven weeks of campaigning.