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Congress blames anti-incumbency

December 05, 2003 05:48 IST

The Congress on Thursday blamed the anti-incumbency factor for the debacle in three states and asserted it is prepared to take on the BJP-led NDA in the next Lok Sabha polls.

"The election results have not come as a surprise to us. We hold nobody responsible for the defeat," party spokesman S Jaipal Reddy told reporters in Delhi.

Asked why Delhi was not affected by the anti-incumbency factor, Reddy said because the electorate was aware of the good work done by Dikshit.

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The "Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee too should get some credit for creating confusion on Delhi statehood, rapes, law and order and on many other issues relating to the state," he said sarcastically.

Ruling out any major changes in the party's organisational set-up or immediately convening a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, he said, "There is a certain cyclical pattern about the results in these states since 1967. Congress and the Bhartiya Jan Sangh/Janata Party/BJP have alternatively shared power."

For example Madhya Pradesh: BJS came to power in 1967, Congress in 1972, Janata Party in 1977, Congress in 1980 and again in 1985, BJP in 1989 and Congress in 1993 and 1998. Notably, Congress suffered a setback in the state during the 1999 Lok Sabha polls.

Asked if Ambika Soni, in-charge of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the two states which faced humiliating defeats, would be asked to quit her AICC post, Reddy said, "We hold nobody responsible for the defeat. These trends are temporary and there is a transient, cyclical character about these trends."

On why the party was taking shelter in historical trends instead of factually analysing the causes of the drubbing, he said the party would offer a more scientific, long-term analysis only after analysing all the poll results.

Dismissing suggestions that the Congress lost because it failed to unite like-minded secular forces against the BJP, he said, "We want to dispel any misconception that the Congress lost on account of this. We gave a call in our Shimla meeting itself, but there were no response."

Besides, he said these states were bipolar, politically dominated by Congress and BJP. The Congress could not accommodate smaller parties due to their claim for a higher number of seats.

Referring to the party's defeat in the new state of Chhattisgarh, Reddy said the BJP was able to gain sympathy for its chief ministerial aspirant Dilip Singh Judeo who is facing bribery allegations.

In Rajasthan, Congress claimed to have done a lot for the people during the four years of drought but Reddy failed to say which factors were responsible for the debacle.

A swing of a small percentage of votes can cause a shift in a large number of seats," he said pointing out that the party had lost by a margin of only three per cent. He denied dissidents had caused the setback.

Reddy evaded replying to a volley of questions as to who should be given credit for the defeat as the party had always given credit to its president Sonia Gandhi for its successes.

Reddy denied the debacle would herald a change in the party's style of functioning. "Political parties do not change their style after a minor setback."

Indicating that the party would persist with its much-publicised agenda of 'good governance', Reddy said it has helped the party to a 'requisite degree' in the past but did not click this time owing to some other factors at work.

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Sub: Sonia's BJP's best bet

As long as Congress does not hold Sonia Gandhi accountable for loses such as Gujarat & Rajasthan, BJP is safe. Sonia Gandhi is BJP's best ...

Posted by Amrish


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