The new-found momentum in the UPA establishment on pushing reforms will not be affected by the Congress' defeat in Gujarat assembly poll, party leaders claimed after the results came out on Thursday.
The UPA management feels that the assembly elections were fought on local issues and it was not a reflection of the centre's big-ticket policies. "Our reforms measures would come for scrutiny in the 2014 general elections. Since these policies were not an agenda for assembly tests, there would be no impact on our ongoing reforms process," said a senior Congress minister.
The Congress, in fact, tried to find solace in its increased tally in Gujarat and win in Himachal Pradesh. Finance minister P Chidambaram called it Congress' "victory" because the party had managed to raise its vote share. "BJP attained less than 117 seats in Gujarat, we made significant gains, it's our victory," he said. Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh told HT, “Our victory in Himachal is convincing while the Gujarat defeat is not demoralising.”
Congress leaders point out that the reduction in cap of LPG cylinders — part of the reforms process to reduce subsidy burden — had become BJP's talking point in Himachal Pradesh, but the Congress still managed to win.
Three days before the second phase of polling in Himachal, oil minister Veerappa Moily had announced that the Centre would hike the number of subsidised LPG cylinders and earned the poll panel’s ire.
But Congress' internal assessment at different stages never really gave much hope for the party in Gujarat.