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'Congress has done well in Punjab'
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | February 27, 2007 20:07 IST
Ambika Soni, minister for tourism and culture in the United Progressive Alliance government, who virtually took charge of the Congress party campaign in the Punjab Assembly elections, said that the party had done well in the state by bagging 44 seats.
Speaking to rediff.com, Soni admitted that the loss of power in the state has come as a surprise to the party.
"We thought we would win the state and we had good reasons to believe our own assessment. Now that we have lost power in the state, the Akali/BJP government would have to deal with the issue of price rise," she said.
She was one of the politicians who argued with the scribes that the Akali/BJP stood no chance and Congress would take at least 75 seats. Even the theory of power alternating between Akalis and the Congress every five years did not cut ice with her.
"Price rise was definitely was one of the factors that led to our defeat. We are going to sit together and find out the reasons for loss of Punjab and Uttarakhand," she said.
Other senior leaders from Punjab, who did not wish to be named, admitted in private conversations that the arrogance of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh contributed to party's debacle at the hustings.
"He prepared the list of the candidates and not one in his list was changed. We did not pay enough attention to rebels who showed a powerful presence in the state. We lost at least five to six seats because of wrong choice of candidates," these leaders said.
Soni refused to blame either Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Congress president Sonia Gandhi for not being able to raise the confidence level of the people and ask them to vote for the party.
"You cannot blame an individual for such a show. We have improved our voting percentage and this is a healthy sign for us. Look at the Akali and BJP together, they were predicting a clean sweep. They got just 67 and we managed 44," she said.