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King Cong defeats NDA

May 13, 2004 14:49 IST
Last Updated: May 14, 2004 01:59 IST

In a stunning electoral verdict, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance was on Thursday voted out of power, to pave the way for the return of the Congress party after eight years in wilderness.

The Congress and its allies, such as the DMK, MDMK, PMK, TRS and RJD, got 215 seats, which could mean that they could reach the simple majority mark of 273 with the help of the Left parties, which have done extremely well and may get over 50 seats.

Shortly after the trends reflected the NDA rout, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee met top party leaders and coalition convener George Fernandes and decided to resign.

He convened a Cabinet meeting at 5.30pm, after which he will drive to Rashtrapati Bhavan to hand over his resignation to President A P J Abdul Kalam. Later, he made a broadcast to the nation thanking the people for giving him an opportunity to serve them.

A jubilant Congress said it would stake claim to form the government with leaders pitching for Sonia Gandhi as prime minister.

The verdict shows the Congress may not have to depend on parties like the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, with which it fought in Uttar Pradesh. The two parties together may get over 50 seats.

The most shocking reversal for the BJP came in Gujarat, where the saffron party lost six seats to end up with a tally of 14 from the 26 at stake.

The BJP maintained its dominance in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh, where it scored spectacular victories in the assembly elections five months back.

The Biju Janata Dal-BJP alliance swept the polls in Orissa. In Karnataka, the BJP made spectacular gains but needs the help of the Janata Dal (Secular) to form a government. Incidentally, the latter's leader H D Deve Gowda is a staunch opponent of the BJP giving rise to the possibility of the party joining hands with the Congress to form a coalition government.

The BJP suffered humiliating defeats in Delhi and Haryana. In Maharashtra, along with the Shiv Sena, it has got 25 of the 48 seats. The rest is shared by the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party-RPI combine.

The party ended up third in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh getting only 13 seats out of the 80 at stake while it has suffered a severe beating at the hands of the RJD-led alliance in Bihar in which the Congress is a partner.

The Congress has done well in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Assam and Jharkhand.

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