'These poll results are not a reflection of the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. Certainly not! These are state elections, which are fought on state issues, and there were no national issues involved.' A reflective Digvijaya Singh speaks to Rediff.com's Vaihayasi Pande Daniel.
When Rediff.com's Vaihayasi Pande Daniel spoke to Digvijaya Singh, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress general secretary, early on Sunday to seek his views about the assembly election, the leads seemed to favour the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The usually buoyant Singh sounded calm when he requested that Daniel get in touch with him in the evening after all the results were in.
By late evening, when it was clear that the Congress had lost all the four northern states, Singh sounded tired but reflective. And still very calm.
Having served two terms -- for 10 years, from 1993 to 2003 -- as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh (during his first term, and part of his second term, when the state was still undivided and Chhattisgarh was under his leadership too), the defeat in MP and Chhattisgarh, where he put in several rounds of campaigning, was upsetting, he said.
Frankly, I am very disappointed with the results. I was not expecting this kind of result in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where I had campaigned.
But in Delhi, the Congress party has faced defeat in the past, and yet made a comeback.
It is definitely a setback. But we shall introspect and, again, go back to the people with greater confidence and (understanding) uppermost in our mind.
About what could have gone wrong at this point, it is very difficult to say because different states have different issues.
I would also accept that the people of this country are disenchanted with the established political structures and political parties. That is why we see, I would say, such a fine performance by the Aam Aadmi Party, which is hardly a year old.
I think it is a good sign. I would now ask all the civil society activists -- who criticise the politics of the nation and don't participate in the democratic process -- to come and become part and parcel of the democratic process.
All those people who want to clean up politics, who want clear politics, who want better people in politics, should come off the shelf and join the democratic process, whichever party they want to.
There is a great opportunity (in front) of all people who are interested in politics, and who want to, sort of, be in public life, to come and participate in the democratic process.
These poll results are not a reflection of the leadership of (Congress Vice-President) Rahul Gandhi. Certainly not! These are state elections, which are fought on state issues, and there were no national issues involved in this.
I would not attribute the BJP's victory to (the party's prime ministerial candidate) Narendra Modi.
In Chhattisgarh, Dr Raman Singh, who was the leader, campaigned.
In Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan campaigned and worked in that state.
In Rajasthan, it was Vasundhara Raje Scindia who has been working in the state.
Therefore, I would not attribute this BJP victory to Narendra Modi.
My son (Jaivardhan Singh) has won by a margin of 58,000 votes (from Raghogarh in MP). Of course, he worked very hard. Had I contested this assembly election, I would have won, but not with the margin he got.