Mumbai: Even before the exit polls were out, state BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Monday claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena alliance would win nearly 250 out of 288 seats in the legislative Assembly.
Mr Patil, who is also a revenue minister, said that the BJP had set a target of 220 seats, but the latest internal party report received late on Sunday night showed that the alliance could cross the 250-seat mark.
The BJP leader also ridiculed Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s statement that it would not be an easy win for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance as the situation in the state had changed in the last few days.
Speaking to reporters before heading for his native Kolhapur to cast his vote, Mr Patil, who is contesting from Kothrud in Pune district, claimed that he would win by a huge margin.
“Since the 2014 elections, people’s faith in politics and politicians has increased. The reason for that is the transparent government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
“There is a huge enthusiasm among voters since polling began in the morning, and ‘body language’ of voters shows that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance would achieve a huge victory,” Mr Patil added.
The minister also told reporters that he would win his seat by a margin of 1.60 lakh votes.
The BJP has fielded Mr Patil from Kothrud after denying ticket to its sitting MLA Medha Kulkarni, which sparked some protests in parts of the constituency.
Mr Patil’s main rival is Maharashtra Navanirman Sena’s Kishor Shinde, who enjoys the backing of the Congress and NCP.
In the 2014 Assembly elections, Ms Kulkarni had won Kothrud by defeating the Sena candidate by a margin of almost 64,662 votes.
Mr Patil is considered close to BJP president and Union home minister Amit Shah.
He is also the de-facto number two in the BJP-Shiv Sena government after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.