As Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters celebrated a landslide victory, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi addressed a joint press conference on Friday afternoon, taking moral responsibility for the grand old party's worst-ever showing in the general elections.
Congress party vice-president Rahul Gandhi addresses the media, as his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi stands by his side outside the party headquarters in New Delhi. (AP)
In a brief appearance before the media, the top Congress leaders did not take any question though.
First to address the media was Rahul, who was appointed as the Congress campaign committee chief in January.
"The Congress has done pretty badly, and there is a lot to think about. I hold myself responsible," he said.
The Congress leader added he wanted to congratulate the new government. "They have been given the mandate by the people. I want to wish them the best."
With counting trends suggesting that the Congress would be reduced to 50-odd seats, Sonia said, "With all humility, we accept the mandate of the people and hope that the new government at the Centre will uphold the unity and interests of the country."
She, too, congratulated the new government after the victory of the BJP became certain within the first few hours of the counting of votes.
"As president (of the Congress), I take responsibility for the defeat," she added, as curtains came down on a mammoth electoral process which was marked by bitter verbal duels between the BJP and the Congress.
(With agency inputs)