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Target is to win all 80 Lok Sabha seats of UP: Zadafia

BJP's newly-appointed Lok Sabha election in-charge for Uttar Pradesh Gordhan Zadafia on Thursday said his goal will be to win all 80 seats in the state and dismissed any grand alliance of opposition parties against the saffron party as an "exercise for survival".

Opposition parties like the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress will come together due to their fear of the BJP, said Zadafia, who once was a bitter critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their Gujarat politics days.

Now as a chosen man by Modi and the party's president Amit Shah to deliver a rich harvest of seats from Uttar Pradesh, politically most crucial state which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha, the influential Patel community leader from Gujarat told PTI, "My goal is to win 80 out of 80 seats in the state, nothing less than it".

He also hoped that Modi would again contest Lok Sabha election from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

Incidentally, it was Shah who was the state's in-charge during the 2014 general elections and engineered the BJP's win in an unprecedented 71 seats.

Asked about his bitter relations with the party in the past, Zadafia said, "Individual politics can be played but individual's ego should not be bigger than the nation. Past have to be forgotten and it's now time to look ahead." The party is like a mother and if one goes away from it and comes back it will embraces you like a mother only, said Zadafia, who was the minister of state for home during the 2002 riots.

During the riots, he had faced allegations of partisan behaviour. After Modi won the 2002 Gujarat elections with a thumping majority, Zadafia refused to become a minister, citing at that time the then chief minister's alleged high-handed ways.

Zadafia, who had revolted against Modi to form his own party before the 2007 assembly elections in Gujarat, said such ups and downs are parts and parcel of political life.

"Such ups and downs are part and parcel of political life. What is important is my commitment to the ideology. I was a swayamsevak (RSS volunteer), I am a swayamsevak and I will remain a swayamsevak," Zadafia said.

He was always seen as a Hindutva leader and even when he was not in the BJP, he was known for his proximity to the RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, including its then firebrand working president Pravin Togadia.

Before the 2007 elections, he had formed his own MahaGujarat Janata Party (MJP) and tried to influence many BJP leaders against Modi.

However, it failed to make much mark in the polls.

Before the 2012 elections, Zadafia joined --Gujarat Parivarthan Party-- an outfit floated by his mentor and former chief minister Keshubhai Patel.

However, GPP managed to win only two seats in those polls and Keshubhai Patel merged his party with the BJP. Subsequently, Zadafia also re-joined his original party.

Being a Patel, he had also closely worked with former VHP president Pravin Togadia, another critic of Modi, and even quota leaders like Lalji Patel.

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