With exit polls forecasting the National Democratic Alliance staging a comeback to power, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Wednesday said his party could not be written off and it would fight for "politics of secularism" whether it forms the government or sits in the opposition.
"Media had written us off in 1977 (but) we bounced back; again wrote us off in 89, we bounced back; we again bounced back in 99. So for God's sake, don't write us off," Singh told reporters in Bangalore responding to questions on exit poll numbers that predicted a debacle for the Congress.
"Day after tomorrow, the counting will begin and the results of the 16th Lok Sabha will be coming. Although all the surveys have written us off, let me remind you that these surveys and media had written us off in 2004 and 2009 also," he said.
Singh, who attended the co-ordination committee meeting of ruling state Congress here, said his party had seen "ups and downs in its long political history but it has never deviated from the ideology of socialism, secularism..."
"...this has been a very distinctive fight between the ideology of extreme right coupled with the religious fundamentalism of the BJP and the socialist, secular character of Congress."
He said the BJP always begins its campaign talking about development but in the final stages it comes back to communal politics.
"...we can't hand over this country to people who create communal disturbances, disturb the communal harmony. And therefore, whether we form the government or sit in the opposition, the Congress party shall always fight for politics of secularism, politics of socialism."
Asked if his party had accepted defeat, he said, "...democracy means change. We have fought this election to form the government. If we get an opportunity we will form the government."
Responding to a question whether the election results will be a reflection on Rahul Gandhi's leadership, Singh said, "As far as Rahul Gandhi's leadership is concerned, the Congress party has got greatest regard and respect and confidence in his leadership."
On Congress' performance in Seemandhra and Telangana, Singh said, "We hope to form the government in Telangana, but we are not too hopeful in Seemandhra."
On the Third Front, Singh said, "...we have already experimented where a leader from small party becomes Prime Minister and (we are) giving outside support to them. But that experiment was not successful... so if any coalition government or secular front...if there is a possibility, then it has to be Congress-led government."
On Narendra Modi's campaign, he said the amount spent on it was "mind boggling" and his assessment was it should be anywhere around Rs 5,000 crore.
"...this kind of money we have never seen in Indian politics and obviously he has the support of the corporates..," the Congress leader said.
Asked why the Prime Minister was kept out of campaign, Digvijay said, "Manmohan Singhji is not a mass leader; he is a professional, an economist. He did campaign in Telangana, in UP, Maharashtra, Assam..."
Calling BJP leader Giriraj Singh's statement that all terrorists belonged to a "particular community" as "absolutely rubbish", Digvijay said, "I know six terror cases...in which Sangh activists have been charged in bomb blasts."
Recalling Giriraj's earlier statement that those opposed to Modi had no place in India and they should go to Pakistan, he said, "...Bihar government and Election Commission have to take strict action against him."