In the wake of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) losing the civic election in Karnataka's Belgaum, senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday termed it as the defeat of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's ego.
He also asserted that it cannot be called the defeat of Marathi 'manoos' (person).
Belgaum has been at the centre-stage of the decades-old border dispute between the two neighbouring states - Maharashtra and Karnataka. Maharashtra claims Belgaum, part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, on linguistic grounds.
The ruling BJP in Karnataka got a clear majority in the polls to the 58-seat Belgaum civic body, as per the results announced on Monday.
When asked about Raut's statement that MES's loss in Belgaum is defeat of Marathi manoos, Fadnavis said, "I only want to say that it is not the defeat of Marathi manoos in Belgaum, because Marathi manoos cannot be defeated. It is the ego of Sanjay Raut that has been defeated in Belgaum." "More than 15 BJP corporators elected (there) are Marathi. Hence, the defeat of Marathi manoos or party cannot be the same. Marathi manoos cannot be defeated.," the former Maharashtra chief minister said.
Raut had earlier termed the MES's defeat in the Belgaum civic election as "unfortunate" and slammed the Maharashtra BJP for celebrating the poll result, claiming such "betrayal" with the Marathi people was never seen before.
Replying to another query, Fadnavis expressed confidence that the BJP would win the next year's Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.