Fielding Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur in the Lok Sabha elections is a “tactical mistake” of the BJP, NCP general secretary Jitendra Awhad said in Mumbai on Saturday.

Thakur was fielded from Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency against Congress’ Digvijaya Singh to cover up failures of the Narendra Modi government, he said.

“Fielding her is a tactical mistake for which they will have to pay a heavy price. This country’s structure is secular and people don’t like absolute right-wingers and hate-mongers,” he said.

The BJP thinks people have forgotten the Rafale “scam”, highly inflation and job losses and will support its “hardcore Hindutva agenda” as Prime Minister Modi doesn’t talk about everyday issues, he said.

The saffron party won’t get more than 220 seats, he claimed.

The NCP leader termed Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar’s interview with Modi a “publicity stunt”, saying it will not benefit the prime minister.

“Akshay Kumar is an excellent artist, but what outstanding academic credentials he has? This interview showed Modi’s insecurity,” he said.

To a question about Modi’s and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ jibes at NCP supremo Sharad Pawar over fielding Pawar’s grand-nephew Parth Pawar from Maval seat, Awhad said a sanctity should be maintained by leaders when talking about others’ private lives.

“Pawar doesn’t differentiate between Jitendra Awhad and Ajit Pawar (Parth’s father and NCP leader). Do we ask Modi why did he shunt out LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi so unceremoniously?” he said.

On Raj Thackeray’s campaign against the Modi government, Awhad said the MNS chief has “won the hearts of people”.

“We might have differences on several issues but our enemy is fascism, not Modi. The advent of fascism will kill democracy. Whoever fights fascism is a friend,” the NCP leader said.