A day after the Congress’ disappointing peformance in the Gujarat election – Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot declared the Congress remains ‘alive somewhere’ and that they are huge anti-government trends in the state. Gehlot – who must steer his own government past an Assembly election next year – also insisted the Congress had ‘won the fight of principles’.
“BJP might have won elections in Gujarat but huge anti-government trends were seen there, which means Congress is alive somewhere. We are happy that Congress has won the fight of principles and ideology,” he was quoted by news agency ANI in Jaipur.
The Congress slumped to a massive defeat Thursday in prime minister Narendra Modi’s home state; the party won just 17 seats and managed only 27.28 per cent of the vote share.
In the 2017 election the Congress secured 77 seats and over 40 per cent of the vote share.
The ruling BJP cantered to victory – as predicted by all the exit polls – with 156 seats, an improvement of 57 seats from five years ago and setting a new state record in the process.
The record they beat was the Congress’ – 149 seats in the 1985 election.
As defeat became apparent Thursday, the Congress’ Gujarat chief sought to throw blame on the Aam Aadmi Party (making its debut in Gujarat Assembly elections) and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM; Jagdish Thakor claimed they had eaten into the Congress’ votes.
The data suggests otherwise; the BJP’s vote share is well over 52 per cent and even with the vote share of the AAP and AIMIM (12.92 per cent and 0.29 per cent) the Congress is behind.
Gehlot, meanwhile, did have something to cheer about Thursday after the Congress claimed the Sardarshahar Assembly bypoll; Anil Sharma beat the BJP’s Ashok Pincha by 26,852 votes.
In data that bodes well for the Congress next year, the Gehlot government in Rajasthan has won seven of nine bypolls held in the state. ” This victory is the stamp of the public on the transparent, sensitive, accountable good governance and public welfare schemes of the Congress government for education, health and social security,” Gehlot tweeted.