The Congress on Friday said it was open to post-poll alliances, even though it exuded confidence of emerging victorious in all five states, including Uttar Pradesh in alliance with the Samajwadi Party.
“It is obvious that neither politics nor nature permits a vacuum. In such a situation, not a single voter or party would want elections after elections.
“Therefore, in that situation the most easily available handshake which will ensure a certain amount of continuity in governance without a vacuum will be attempted,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said when asked if the party was ready for an alliance if the results throw up hung assembly.
The Congress leader also said that to say beyond that is “highly hypothetical and highly speculative which is absolutely unnecessary”.
At the same time, he exuded confidence that the party would emerge victorious in all the five states that went to polls, including Uttar Pradesh where it fought elections in alliance with the Samajwadi Party.
“We have the least doubt about our victory and it is not necessary to reply to such hypothetical questions and it is not the truth.
“Let me reiterate very categorically that we are supremely, strongly and comprehensively confident of victory in each of the states on our own and in Uttar Pradesh in the alliance form,” he claimed.
Singhvi said irrespective of who wins on Saturday in different states, it will be a victory for democracy, it will be a victory for the voters, a victory for the winning party, a victory for the winning candidate and a victory for India.
Pointing fingers at the kind of poll campaign resorted to by the Bharatiya Janata Party and National Democratic Alliance leaders, he targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for resorting to the kind of language used in the campaign and for adopting “cheap tactics” in attempts at polarising and dividing society.
Singhvi said the kind of idiom employed, the kind of symbolism created, the kind of divisiveness, atmospherics attempted. These are not going to be condoned by any result any which way and these are against and will remain against the idea of India and against the ethos of India, he said.
“The prime minister must be singled out to having been acted in inverse proportion to the stature of the office he holds. Inverse proportion in terms of cheap tactics, hitting below the belt and analogies which do not behove the high Office of the Prime Minister of this great country and stooping not to conquer but stooping to divide, stooping to debase and devalue, stooping to insult,” he said.
Singhvi also questioned exit polls by various channels and pointed out they had gone “awfully wrong” in the 2009 general elections as well as in Bihar and Tamil Nadu assembly elections, saying they cannot be adopted in a country as diverse as India, where the society is not homogeneous unlike in the United States or Europe.
Singhvi said, “Demonetisation will remain a historical blunder irrespective of (assembly poll) results.”
The Congress said, “We are proud that we have fought elections with a straight bat. We have fought elections on the front foot and we have fought elections without resorting to subterfuge, to divisiveness or to manipulation, I don’t think something which each and every party can claim credit for.”
Talking about exit polls, he said those who do not learn lessons of history are “condemned to repeat its errors”.
Citing the example of 2009 national elections, when the exit polls went “grievously wrong”, he said that even those which went towards the Congress underestimated its tally by more than 25-30 per cent.
Singhvi said in Bihar less than two years ago, most exit polls gave the alliance 110-115 seats, but the alliance got over 180 seats.
“In Tamil Nadu pollsters again got it completely wrong. So let us keep our balance, let us respect democracy, let us respect the intelligence of voters and treat it only as an attempt by someone -- may be bona fide.
“But the reason why exit polls, though definitely better than opinion polls, get it wrong frequently is that they are most successful in a homogeneous society -- homogeneity in income pattern, in living standards. Homogeneity in Europe and maybe even America,” he said.
“So, as I said earlier, let us look at it, not only with a pinch of salt, perhaps with a bucketful of salt, perhaps with a tub of salt,” he said.
Senior Congress leader and AICC general secretary in-charge of UP, Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “The SP-Congress alliance will win the UP elections despite the exit poll claims.”
Asked if Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who single handedly spearheaded the party campaign in the politically-crucial Uttar Pradesh, would be responsible for the loss or victory, Azad said, “Elections are not a referendum on individuals.”
Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “We will win all five states, including UP in alliance with the SP.”