NEW DELHI: The Edward Lutyens designed colonial structure at the Congress’ Akbar road headquarters on Friday was humbled by a new avatar of the BJP powered by its PM pick Narendra Modi. At 8.30 am, even though a picture on the counting trends was still to emerge, the Congress spokespersons were behaving as if they had already lost the Lok Sabha elections and that the declaration of the results was merely a ritual or a formality.
The muted disbelief over the party’s humiliating loss amplified into a complete shock by noon. Over 20 spokespersons deputed by the party to interact with the media persons privately conceded that they were expecting a respectable performance by the party after the exit polls gave the UPA over 140 seats. But, the saffron surge and massive victory in states like UP, MP, Gujarat and Rajasthan reduced the Congress to its lowest ever tally prompting the party leaders to drag Modi’s good marketing strategy in their sound-bytes as the main reason for its worst rout.
Congress Spokesperson Satyavrat Chaturvedi told Express that he was surprised by the results as the ruling party had done some wonderful work in the last five years but it was completely overshadowed by the template of the Gujarat development model, which had become the centre of the election discourse across the country. The Congress leaders also appeared confused in briefing the media persons due to a party diktat not to hold the top brass responsible for the debacle. “We will try to find out the mistakes we made and correct the loopholes,” Chaturvedi added, while sidestepping a direct question on whether it will hold the top leaders accountable for the poor performance.
Some leaders also went into a huddle to discuss whether the top leadership of the party should accept the defeat and congratulate the new government. By 4.30 PM, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi appeared before the media persons and TV cameras to take the moral responsibility for the debacle.
Rahul’s speech laced with humility reflected the Congress’ stand that the party had accepted the people’s verdict. “I wish the new government all the best. The Congress has done badly and as the vice-president of the party, I hold myself responsible for Congress’ defeat,” he said.
While congratulating the incoming government Sonia said as Congress president she was taking responsibility for the party’s defeat. She also thanked the party workers and urged supporters to strive for the Congress’ core beliefs. “I congratulate the new government. We expect that the new government will not compromise with country’s secularism,” Sonia said. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections witnessed the Congress’ worst performance in recent times,with the party drawing a blank in at least 17 states and Union territories.