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UPA to remain unaffected: Congress

NEW DELHI: Acknowledging that the election results in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab did not match its expectations, Congress today said the poll outcome was a "lesson" for the party, but

Published: 06th March 2012 02:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:30 PM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Acknowledging that the election results in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab did not match its expectations, Congress today said the poll outcome was a "lesson" for the party, but will not affect the UPA government at the Centre in anyway.

"...the reasons for our not getting as much as...Probably we projected for ourselves. We will sit and learn. Every election does teach us a lesson," Congress leader Ambika Soni said here.

Putting up a brave face, Soni said the poll was not a disappointment for them.

"Actually when you fight to make governments in all the states and one or two are slipping out of your hands, you do feel what went wrong," she said.

Party leader Rajiv Shukla also admitted that the results, especially in Punjab, were disappointing for the party, but also pointed out that Congress has improved its previous tally in Uttar Pradesh.

"It is disappointing for us as far as Punjab is concerned. As far as UP is concerned, we have not done as we wanted. We wanted to get at least 70-80 seats, but we have not been able to get that," Shukla said.

On a question whether the Congress would support the formation of a SP government in Uttar Pradesh, he said that the decision would be taken by the party high command after the results are out.

"We will get something between 50-60 seats according to current trends which are available and our vote percentage has gone up. Now we are party to reckon with in the state. So far we were no where," he added.

Asked whether the results was against the verdict of UPA government at the Centre, Soni replied in the negative.

"Not at all. UPA has a mandate which it got in 2009 for five years. The agendas were different, the issues were different. Naturally the issue of Vidhan Sabha is very different. It does not affect the Central government," she said.

At the same time, she also dismissed suggestions that Team Anna had an impact on the poll results.

"I do not think Team Anna was really...I was in Punjab for 15 days and I did not see their campaign reflected in any newspaper or television channel," she replied.

Asked whether the non-passage of Lokpal Bill had any impact on votes, Soni said her party was always for a strong Lokpal and could not be blamed for its delay.

"We tried to bring a strong Lokpal. Everybody knows, we don't have the numbers in Rajya Sabha. What prevented BJP from supporting it in Rajya Sabha when they supported it in the Lok Sabha?" she asked.

Talking about the trends, she said, "We are making government in some states but not probably all now. In Manipur, most certainly, but others are also not ruled out and Punjab is a very close call."

However, she refused to comment on her party's performance in Punjab.

"I can not straight off tell you reasons for Akalis doing better. Election was supposed to be quite a close one and you (exit polls) also predicted a close call," she said.

The Union minister accepted that the Congress should have "caught the weakness of Akali's rule in Punjab" and said, "their (Akali's) corruption for five years for which people were tired, may be we should have pushed those points harder."

Soni said Captain Amarinder Singh led from the front and was also declared as the Chief Ministerial candidate by party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.

"Amarinder led us from the front. The general perception was that Congress would do better with Amarinder as the Captain. Also there was a lot of propaganda. In order to lessen that vicious campaign by Akalis, Rahul Gandhi had announced and it helped us consolidate our position," she said.

Meanwhile, Shukla also hit at the BJP who it said was criticising Rahul Gandhi without having gained any ground in Uttar Pradesh.

"We have improved from 22 to 50-60 seats. They (BJP) have gone up from 49-50 to 55-56 seats. Actually they have not gained anything but since morning they have been abusing Rahul Gandhi (and) Congress Party," he claimed.

UP results will cast shadow on central government: BJP

(IANS Reports)

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday said the Uttar Pradesh election results would cast a shadow on the Congress-led central government as the Samajwadi Party (SP) had emerged strongly in the state.

Senior party leader Sushma Swaraj, meanwhile, said that the results were a "mixed bag" for the BJP.

"The people in Uttar Pradesh wanted change, that change came in the form of SP," BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy told IANS.

"SP emerging independently in Uttar Pradesh is a bad sign for the Congress, it will cast a shadow on the central government," Rudy said.

"Congress' credit card in Uttar Pradesh has defaulted," he said, adding the Congress' failure in finding local leadership in the state was the reason behind its failure.

The Congress, which has been having problems with alliance partner Trinamool Congress at the centre, was expected to strike an alliance with the SP in Uttar Pradesh, according to political pundits.

"The elections were localised, we are where we were in Uttar Pradesh... We could have done better but we are not disappointed," he added.

Sushma Swaraj meanwhile told reporters outside BJP office "it's a mixed bag for BJP".

"We have won Punjab, we are winning Goa, we are nearing the majority in Uttarakhand also," she added.

She accepted that the party "could not do well" in Uttar Pradesh.

"The electorate wanted to get rid of BSP (Bhujan Samaj Party)-government and they selected SP (Samajwadi Party) as an alternative," she said.

"It would have been very good had we done well in UP also. In three states, we have performed well," Swaraj said.

She, however, refused to blame UP poll campaign in-charge Uma Bharati for the performance, saying the reasons needed to be "analyzed".

Swaraj, however, agreed that corruption was a major issue during the poll campaign.

"Corruption has become an issue... in that issue Anna Hazare has also contributed, we also contributed... so did Baba Ramdev, all these factors did matter...", she told news channel NDTV.

Another BJP leader, Prakash Javadekar, told IANS the party was overall happy, adding that regional parties had a larger role to play in Uttar Pradesh.

"Overall we are happy, we have won three out of five and ousted the Congress in Goa," he said.

"As for Uttar Pradesh, we are happy as we were expecting 80 plus," he said, adding: "It (Uttar Pradesh) has become the Tamil Nadu of the north."

"In general it (the poll result) shows people are against corruption and price rise...the magic of the Gandhi family has gone," Javadekar noted.



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