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How political leaders reacted to the Gujarat, Himachal election results

BJP cadres greet party president Amit Shah at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Monday.

BJP cadres greet party president Amit Shah at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: R.V.Moorthy

A look at leaders' reactions cutting across party lines on the Assembly polls results in the two States.

Development has won: Modi

Election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh indicate a strong support for politics of good governance and development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday as trends showed that the BJP was inching towards victory in the two states.

“I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” he said in a series of tweets.

Rahul accepts defeat

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said he accepted the verdict of people and congratulated the new government in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. “I thank people of Gujarat and Himachal with all my heart for the love they showed me”, “Unlike others who fought with anger, you fought the polls with dignity”, Mr. Gandhi said in a message to party workers. Read more

A vote for development, trust in Modi: BJP

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and Union Minister described the poll outcome as a vote for development and trust in Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Echoing his party's mood, Modi flashed a victory sign after he arrived in Parliament here.

Party leaders used the 1992 Aamir Khan starrer "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar" title to downplay the better than projected performance of the Congress in Gujarat and a possible decline in their own numbers.

"Jo jeeta wohi Sikandar (whoever wins is king). This is the message to those who joked about vikas (development)," said Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Union minister Smriti Irani seconded him and said the victory was dedicated to booth-level party workers and those who voted for "good governance" and "development".

Asked whether the Congress had given the party a tough fight, she said, "I feel 'Jo jeeta wohi Sikander'..."

Other senior Union Ministers, including Rajnath Singh and Prakash Javadekar, said the polls trends reflect the impact of Modi's leadership, while party leaders like Sakshi Maharaj attributed the outcome to the Prime Minister's "magic".

Union Minister Giriraj Singh termed the result as the first defeat for Congress' new president Rahul Gandhi and asserted that his charisma did not work.

"This is a vote for development and trust for Narendra Modi," added his colleague Jitendra Singh.

Asked if the results were an endorsement of the Modi government's policies, Rajnath Singh, the former party president, said, "Of course. It is an approval of the government."

Echoing his view, Mr. Javadekar said, "Development is the mantra of today's polity. And therefore, people are with Modiji."

According to Nirmala Sitharaman, the credit goes to people of Gujarat who "voted for development" and rejected "Congress' politics of caste".

Sakshi Maharaj said Rahul Gandhi "changes his colour like a chameleon". "That is why he was visiting temples in Gujarat. But even that failed. This is the magic of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he added.

BJP vice president Shyam Jaju said anti-incumbency had not worked in Gujarat. "The Prime Minister's popularity is intact. Amit Shah's strategy has worked," he said.

BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya agreed. "There is nothing to worry. We will form government in Gujarat with comfortable majority," Mr. Vijayvargiya added.

On suggestions that the BJP may have suffered a setback as trends indicated that it would end up with fewer than expected seats in Gujarat, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli wondered how a win could be considered a setback.

It’s the beginning of Rahul's political story: Congress

The Congress leaders on Monday said the party's improved electoral performance in Gujarat was the result of their new chief Rahul Gandhi's effective leadership and the beginning of his political story.

While Kamal Nath pointed out that Gujarat is a BJP bastion and Shashi Tharoor appreciated the fact that the "journey" had been good, Renuka Chowdary hailed Gandhi for his "brilliant intervention".

"Every election has its own message. Gujarat has been the BJP's bastion. It is the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Congress' tally has gone up there, while the BJP's numbers have fallen. This is the start of Rahul Gandhi's political story," senior Congress leader Kamal Nath told reporters outside Parliament.

Renuka Chowdary seconded him."Congress has done brilliantly. Our strength has increased. Morally, it has been a brilliant intervention of Rahul Gandhi," Chowdary said.

She also accused the prime minister of postponing the winter session in view of the assembly polls and taking personal swipes at opposition leaders during the poll campaign, marking a "new low" in public discourse. The jump in the Congress tally, according to trends, was due to Gandhi's "very effective" campaign in the state, Shashi Tharoor added.

"We may not have reached the destination, but our journey was good," Mr. Tharoor said.

However, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam attributed the BJP’s victories to the EVMs. The BJP's victory in Gujarat was not because of the people in the state but because of EVMs, he said.

He also termed electronic voting machines a "big threat to Indian democracy". "When the entire Gujarat was against the BJP and empty chairs could be seen during the prime minister's poll rallies, this victory for the BJP is not by the people of Gujarat but by the EVMs.

"We suspected this right from the beginning. All beware, this is a big threat to Indian democracy," the president of the Mumbai unit of the Congress said in a tweet.

A victory for development against political dynasty: Shah

BJP president Amit Shah attributed the party’s victory in Gujarat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and public welfare works carried by the Centre and the state government.

Asked if there was a close fight with the Congress in Gujarat, he said having a eight per cent victory margin over the rival cannot be taken as ‘kante ki takkar’ (close fight). Read more

Shiv Sena praises Rahul Gandhi

The BJP's bickering ally Shiv Sena heaped praise on Rahul Gandhi, lauding the newly appointed Congress president for "fighting the Gujarat poll battle without bothering about the result".

"Rahul Gandhi has accepted the responsibility as Congress president at a crucial stage. There should be no objection in wishing him all the best," said an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna.

Moral defeat for BJP in Gujarat: Mamata

Congratulating the people of Gujarat for their "very balanced verdict at this hour", West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee said it was a face-saving win for the ruling party.

"It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people. Gujarat belled the cat for 2019," Ms. Banerjee tweeted.

An endorsement of Modi’s governance: Mehbooba

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh election results were an endorsement of the governance and developmental agenda of his government.

Ms. Mufti hoped that the Prime Minister would give a new impetus to the development agenda.

“These results are an endorsement of his government’s governance, developmental and economic agenda,” she said in a statement.

Nitish greets Modi, Shah

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

The Janata Dal (United) president also took a dig at the Congress, saying that while the party was aiming to defeat the BJP in Gujarat, it “ended up losing even in Himachal Pradesh”, where it was in power.

“Congratulations to honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the victory in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. The Congress, which had claimed it would wrest power from the BJP in Gujarat, has ended up losing even Himachal Pradesh,” Mr. Kumar tweeted in Hindi.

Great success for Congress in Gujarat: Sharad Yadav

Rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav congratulated Congress president Rahul Gandhi on the improved show of his party in the Gujarat polls, dubbing it a "great success".

"It is a matter of satisfaction that the Congress has achieved a great success in improving its tally in the Gujarat election. I would congratulate Rahul Gandhi for his untiring efforts," Mr. Yadav said.

Poll outcome will not impact Karnataka polls: Siddharamiah

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday said the results of the Gujarat Assembly polls would not have any impact on the Assembly election in the state, which is due early next year.

"The election results of one state will not have an effect on the election of another state. The issues will be different. Whatever may the Gujarat poll results be, it will have no impact on Karnataka," he told reporters at Yadgir in the northern parts of the state.

The Congress leader also claimed that by ensuring the party's victory in the Assembly polls, Karnataka would give the "first gift" to newly-appointed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his leadership.

No alternative to BJP in country: Raje

Congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday said there was no alternative to the party in the country.

Ms. Raje said it was the victory of Modi's leadership and Shah's organisational skills.

"The people of Gujarat have once again voted for development. They once again reposed faith in the BJP leadership. It shows there is no alternative to the BJP in the country."Results in Himachal Pradesh have proved that the country is moving ahead to become Congress-free," Ms. Raje said in a statement.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 3:39:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/how-political-leaders-reacted-to-the-gujarat-and-himachal-election-results/article21832783.ece

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