Taking potshots at the ruling BJP, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday said a coalition government with Congress as a major party will come to power in 2024, when general elections are due, which will end the reign of the incumbent one-party government.
Speaking to reporters in Pune city of Maharashtra after addressing J S Karandikar memorial lecture organised by the Pune press club, Raut said, “No government can be formed without Congress, which is a major and deeply-rooted party in the country. Congress is the main opposition party too. Others are regional parties.”
Queried about political strategist Prashant Kishor’s reported statement that BJP will remain in power for many decades, Raut said the BJP will stay in Indian politics but as an opposition party.
“BJP claims that it is the world’s biggest party. If the world’s biggest party loses elections they will become an opposition party. For example, in Maharashtra, the BJP is the main opposition party with 105 MLAs”, he said.
The BJP’s estranged ally Shiv Sena shares power with NCP and Congress in Maharashtra.
Speaking about the upcoming Assembly elections in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Raut said, “Presently we are focusing in Dadra, Nagar Haveli, and Goa. There is still time for UP elections. We are a smaller player in UP but we will contest”.
Earlier, addressing the lecture, Raut underlined various challenges being faced by the media.
“Since the last two years, media persons are not allowed in the central hall of Parliament by the ruling party citing the reason of coronavirus pandemic. But the real reason behind the ban is fear that many things might come out if reporters are allowed to speak to ministers who are being asked to maintain distance from journalists. They (the Central government) has asked ministers to keep their distance from reporters, even they are under the scanner. Media was not stopped even during Emergency like it is now,” Raut claimed.
He underlined various challenges before the print and electronic media.
Raut alleged the (Central) government only wants favourable reporting.
“After a newspaper reported about corpses floating in the Ganga river (during the worst phase of the COVID-19 pandemic) the Income Tax department raided the offices of that newspaper,” he said.
He alleged that industries that wanted licenses to operate were made to invest in media organisations so that they (the government) can control the media.
“Top ten industries have bought media houses. The government is behind this,” he alleged.
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