New Delhi: BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday named Samajwadi Party as its main rival in the next year's assembly election in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh even as he exuded confidence that his party will form the government in the key state.
Shah also rejected the contention that the party was on a sticky wicket in Gujarat following the violent Patidar quota agitation, claiming that it will win a two thirds majority in the state, where polls are due next year end.
He dismissed reports that the BJP brass was mulling over removing Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and said the party had not discussed the issue.
In an interaction with journalists, he said it had not been decided yet whether to name a chief ministerial candidate for UP, a tactic it successfully deployed in Assam, saying all states are different.
"It is certain that BJP will get a majority in UP," he said, adding the party had a strong base in the state where it won 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014.
His strong expectation from UP was not linked to the party's win in Assam, Shah said, adding the key Hindi heartland state was "easy" even before the polls in the northeastern state.
Asked about the party's election agenda for Uttar Pradesh, Shah said development would be the top priority as the entire state was in a "mess" from "top to bottom" under Samajwadi Party's "misrule". Shah said he considered SP as the BJP's main adversary because of its larger support base than Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party. The saffron outfit has been trying to wean away Dalit votes from Mayawati-led BSP.
To a query whether he was under pressure to deliver UP to the party, he said "There is always pressure for me". Asked about Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's plan to contest the UP polls, he said if Nitish factor worked, it would only benefit BJP. He was apparently referring to the split of secular votes the presence of Kumar's JD(U) in the electoral fray could cause.
Shah, who led party to victory in several states but under whom BJP suffered massive losses in Delhi and Bihar, also rejected the contention that it was at a disadvantage in Uttarakhand following its failed bid to topple the Harish Rawat government.
"There is a massive anti-incumbency wave in the state.We will come to power whenever polls are held," he asserted.
The hill state will go to the polls with UP next year. Asked about the likely reshuffle in the Union Council of Ministers, he said it would happen whenever it has to.