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BJP has not accepted its defeat: Sonia

August 21, 2004 11:47 IST
Last Updated: August 21, 2004 12:44 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of subverting the electoral mandate by not accepting its defeat in the last general election and behaving in an "anti-democratic" manner.

"The verdict was a clear, categorical, decisive rejection of the BJP and of the NDA. Their arrogance, their lust for power, and their pursuit of personal profit blinded them to reality. They believed they had attained political immortality. Obviously, the BJP did not expect to lose. It lost.

"The BJP is still behaving in a manner that subverts this mandate. It has not accepted its rejection by the people, by the 'aam admi' (common man)," Gandhi said in her opening address at the one-day All India Congress Committee session in New Delhi.

Ridiculing the saffron party's chintan baithaks (brainstorming sessions) as chinta baithaks (worrying sessions), she said: "The BJP is clearly worried. Let us be under no illusions. The BJP has not accepted the verdict of the people. And it will continue to disregard this verdict. But in doing so, it will be shown up for what it really is - anti-democratic, illiberal and hypocritical."

Gandhi said there was a lesson for the Congress in BJP's behaviour and "that is --we must never fall prey to the arrogance of power. We must never lose sight of the fact that we are here to serve the people of India."

She said the Congress always acknowledged that the will of the people was supreme. "For six years, we played the role of a responsible opposition. Even when our views were not sought, we extended our support to get legislations passed in Parliament. We supported the government's initiatives on foreign policy, on Jammu and Kashmir and on many  other issues of national interest."

Referring to the Congress victory and her decision not to accept prime minister ship, Gandhi said she was aware that many Congress workers and supporters expected her to be the prime minister. "And I am grateful that all of you understood and accepted my decision. It was a decision that came from the heart," she said.

She said after many years the party now has both a prime minister and a Congress president. "It is a new experience but I have no doubt that both the party and the government will emerge stronger."

Praising Manmohan Singh, she said: "India has a prime minister of great learning, vast administrative experience and impeccable reputation. Let us welcome him and congratulate him once again."                 


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