Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has said that half the credit for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's victory in the last Lok Sabha polls goes to Rahul Gandhi as his mocking the then Gujarat CM did not go down well with voters.
Thackeray, however, said that current trends and reports indicate that the ruling BJP could lose the upcoming Assembly election in Gujarat.
"Fifty per cent credit for Narendra Modi's victory in the 2014 general elections goes to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. The way he mocked Modi during the campaign, helped the latter win the polls," Thackeray told reporters at Kalyan near here last night.
Of the rest, 15 per cent was due to the social media, around 10-20 per cent credit would go to the BJP workers and also the RSS and the remaining was because of Modi's personal charisma, he said.
Thackeray's comment comes in the wake of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut saying that Gandhi was capable of leading the country and that the 'Modi wave' had faded.
"Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is capable of leading the country. It is wrong to call him 'Pappu'," Raut had said referring to the Hindi name used to mock the Congress vice-president by a section on social media to claim he was immature in politics.
On the Gujarat election, Thackeray said, "The recent trends as well as reports indicate that the ruling party is likely to lose the elections."
"Some visuals of Modi's public meetings are doing the round, which show that people are leaving the venue in groups during his address, which had never happened in the past. Even from this, one gets a message," he said.
Despite this, if the BJP gets more than 150 seats, it should be considered a miracle by the electronic voting machines (EVMs), he said.
Election to the 182-member Assembly in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14, and the results will be declared on December 18.
Thackeray also alleged that the Election Commission had "inordinately" delayed the announcement of Gujarat election dates under a lot of pressure.
"The Election Commission and other statutory bodies should work independently. But it does not happen here," he said.
On his party forcibly evicting hawkers from suburban railway stations in Mumbai, he said the MNS workers were not being given their due credit.
"In fact, the administration can do it (evict hawkers), but it does not want to do so for various reasons," he said.