Ahmedabad: Recently, Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment, Ramdas Athawale made a prediction for the Bhartiya Janta Party and said that in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls the party may face a downfall by “30-40” seats but still NDA will rule the elections and will come into power again in 2019.

The minister also said that in order to resolve the issue of reservation between Patidar leader Hardik Patel and the BJP in Gujarat, he was ready to act as a mediator.

Besides this, Athawale also warned regarding the concern that if the Patidar stir is not resolved in time then it may cost two to three Lok Sabha seats to the BJP in Gujarat in next year’s elections.

“Since Patidars turned against the ruling party, the BJP lost around 15-20 seats in the last Gujarat elections. If the situation persists, the BJP may lose two-three Lok Sabha seats in 2019. I will try to talk to Hardik over the phone to convince him. Only talks can resolve this issue. I am also ready to become a mediator between him and the BJP at the Centre. If he agrees, I will take him to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss this issue,” Athawale told reporters.

“I once told Hardik that he can get the desired results if he remains by the BJP’s side. I told him that he will not get anything by joining hands with the Congress. I think he needs to talk to BJP leaders to resolve this issue,” Athawale added.

Athawale also talked about quotas and said that all communities falling in the general category should be granted reservation. He named some of the general categories as Patidars in Gujarat, Marathas in Maharashtra and Jats in Haryana.

“Since there is a cap of 50 per cent (on reservations), Parliament needs to first amend the Constitution to allow an additional quota of 25 per cent. We can exclude those who earn over Rs 8 lakh. I even suggested this to the prime minister in a meeting of NDA allies,” Athawale said.

When questioned about Ayodhya Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute, Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment, Ramdas Athawale said that the site once housed a Buddhist temple.

Athawale also said that if you will dig in the premises you will find Buddhist-era statues as initially there was a Buddhist temple after which Hindus built a temple which was destroyed by Mughals in order to build a mosque.