Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday took a swipe at former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. He said that the speeches made by Gandhi will eventually help the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance win more votes in assembly elections.

While addressing an election rally at Pusad in Yavatmal district, the Chief Minister said, Gandhi joined the campaign “unwillingly” in view of Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s remarks. Khurshid had said the Congress had failed to carry out a detailed analysis of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, as Gandhi, the then president of the party, “walked away”.

CM Fadnavis said, “The Congress had won 42 seats in 2014 state assembly elections in Maharashtra. Knowing well that his party will not win more than 24 seats this time, Rahul was unwilling to campaign and instead had gone abroad.”

“Congress leader Salman Khurshid recently said that party leaders ran away at the time of putting up a fight. Now, Gandhi has come and speaking the same old things,” the Chief Minister said while targeting Gandhi for his election rally speeches on Sunday. Rahul Gandhi spoke on issues like Rafale deal, GST, demonetization etc.

The Congress leader and the party raised these issues in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as well. The BJP had won a massive mandate while the Congress performed abysmally.

“More Rahul Gandhi speaks, the votes of the BJP-Sena will keep rising,” Fadnavis said.

Maharashtra CM attacked NCP chief Sharad Pawar as well. Continuing his war of words he said, unlike the past practice of funds for farmers getting “siphoned off by middlemen”, the money is now directly deposited into their bank accounts under the BJP rule.

Out of the total 288 seats, the BJP is contesting on 164 seats in alliance with smaller parties. Its principal ally, Shiv Sena is fighting in 124 constituencies under the “Maha Yuti” or grand-alliance.

Maharashtra will go to polls on October 21. Counting of votes will take place on October 24 and the results will be out on the same day. The five-year term of the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra expires on November 9.