Admitting its defeat, the Congress on Friday said it was "very disappointed" with the poll outcome but hit out at Narendra Modi for pursuing "politics of polarisation".
"Going by the election trends that have come so far, we humbly admit the defeat of Congress and UPA as people's mandate... We will introspect and then we will deliberate on our future role as a political party," senior party leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi told reporters at the AICC as election trends indicated its worst-ever performance.
Party leader Meem Afzal attributed the Bharatiya Janata Party's gains to the "huge" amount of money spent by the Opposition party in its campaign and "politics of polarisation like that was seen in Muzaffarnagar" as well as "caste card" played by BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
To a question on whether price rise and corruption could have done the party in, he said, "yes it could be an issue."
Union minister Rajiv Shukla said that the trends are "very disappointing" for the party.
"We did not expect this kind of results but in democracy everything happens. This is people's verdict and we will have to abide by that," said Shukla.
Asked whether Rahul Gandhi should take responsibility for the defeat, Shukla said, "it's collective responsibility".
To queries about reasons for such a performance of Congress, the Union minister said that while the Congress-led UPA government brought out a number of schemes for people's welfare, it could not take the message to the people.
"But Narendra Modi sold a dream to the people in which he said that he will get them the Sun, moon and the Jupiter and people believed in all of them and voted for it," Shukla said.
Conceding that its prospects appear "bleak" and that the Congress is ready to play the role of a "responsible opposition", party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said that the leads show that there was an "ambiance" but expressed confidence that the party will stage a come back with blazing guns after taking corrective measures.
The Congress spokesperson said that his party fought the election very well but added "we have to introspect" saying it has 10-12 corrections to do and there is a "need to look at things in terms of policies, persons and future".