Top BJP leaders on Saturday exuded confidence that the party will retain power in four states and make impressive gains in Punjab.
Addressing a joint press conference here ahead of the final phase of voting in Uttar Pradesh, BJP president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah said those hoping for any dilution in the party's mandate in the state would be disappointed and it will get a massive majority.
"The BJP is set to come back with a firm majority in the states we were in the government - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur," Nadda said.
Both Shah and Nadda were emphatic in rejecting the possibility of the BJP needing the support of parties outside its alliance to form a government in Uttar Pradesh.
Nadda also dismissed the view that there is a close fight in the state, saying such claims are often made during the polls but the BJP ends up winning a strong majority.
Shah asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has replaced the politics of casteism, appeasement and nepotism with the politics of performance, and this has not just defined the agenda of BJP but also that of the entire nation for the future.
To a query on the government's handling of the Ukraine crisis, especially the evacuation of students, he said it will have a positive impact on polls. He said the government had issued an advisory as early as February 15 for Indians in Ukraine.
Underlining that the party ran a scientific and well-organised campaign, Shah said, "We saw Prime Minister Modi's popularity in five states where polls were held was more than that of any earlier prime minister of independent India and the BJP has got the direct benefit of this in the elections."
Shah also said he is confident that BJP will return to power in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur and make impressive gains in Punjab.
In Uttar Pradesh, Shah said some leaders might have left the party, but not the voters.
The government headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has fulfilled ''over 92.6 percent" of promises made in the 2017 polls and successfully implemented the central government's policies in the state, Shah said.
The BJP has sought people's mandate on the back of its fulfilled promises so that it can raise a strong structure on this foundation, he said.
To a question about the likely impact of issues like unemployment, price rise and stray cattle on the BJP's poll prospects in UP amid perceived benefits it may draw from the planks of law and order, and free ration, Shah said things should be seen in totality.
Overall, the BJP will gain positively from the issues at play in the polls, he said.
The Modi government's welfare schemes have given the poor hope that they can have a better living standard, Shah said.
Discussing the party prospects, Shah said the BJP has transformed Manipur from blockades, bandhs, violence and drugs to organic farming, medical institutions and more.
“Prime Minister Modi and our chief minister of Manipur have worked hard to end the differences between hills and valleys,” he said.
Similarly in Uttarakhand, Shah said, the BJP gave a clean government for five years “without a single corruption allegation”.
Benefits of One Rank-One Pension for defence personnel have reached the doorsteps of retired soldiers of Uttarakhand, Shah said.
Asked about the winning prospect of parties in Punjab, he said the BJP will make gains and this also means that the alliance led by it has a good chance as well.
Only an astrologer can say which way the poll results will go in such a multi-cornered contest, he quipped.
In his remarks, Nadda said, "Our focus area was majorly empowerment of women, youth, poor and needy and farmers among other sectors and development.”
"In these four states, another major focus was on development - educational institutions, connectivity, highways, airports and more. In UP, five airports have come up, 10 universities, 78 degree colleges, 28 engineering colleges, 59 medical colleges have been started," he added.
The elections in five states spanned over two months, with the first round of voting on February 10, and the last phase of polling will be held in Uttar Pradesh on March 7.
Counting of votes will be held on March 10. The Congress is in power in Punjab while the BJP is ruling in the other four states.(With PTi inputs)