Assembly election results 2018: Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar hail Congress 3-0 scoreline
Speaking to reporters at the Parliament on Wednesday, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi said she was happy at the victory of the Congress party in the three Hindi heartland states, and called it “a win against the negative politics of the Bharatiya Janta Party”.
The Congress won three out of five states in the latest batch of assembly elections, whose results were declared Tuesday.
The party swept Chhattisgarh winning 68 of 90 assembly seats. In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the Congress won 99 out of 199 seats and 114 of 230 seats, respectively. All three states had BJP-led governments — in MP and Chhattisgarh, the BJP had won all previous elections since 2003, while in Rajasthan, the two parties have alternately held power in the past 20 years.
The Congress lost power Mizoram, and its alliance in Telangana performed poorly.
Hailing the Congress for its recent poll victories in the Hindi heartland, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said Rahul Gandhi-led Congress party has played an important role in giving an alternative to the BJP.
Pawar was addressing reporters at a meeting with party workers in Mumbai on the occasion of his 78th birthday.
He also expressed a wish that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) join the opposition alliance, which held a gathering in Delhi on Monday.
“Congress has played an important role in giving an alternative to the BJP. Congress was receptive towards other smaller parties,” Pawar said, adding that the people have expressed displeasure at Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government.
Pawar said that the BSP and the SP should be a part of the opposition alliance at the centre. “BSP and SP should be a part of this alliance. They are not yet together with us,” he said.
On December 10, 21 opposition parties held a meeting in New Delhi and issued a joint statement as “leaders of secular parties”. While Pawar was part of this meeting, BSP supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav gave it a miss.
In October, Mayawati had ruled out an alliance with the Congress, and said that while Gandhi’s intention for an alliance was honest, other Congress leaders were actively sabotaging the efforts. She also accused the party of having a casteist mindset.
The two parties have however, pledged support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, where it has fallen just short of the half way mark. Both BSP and SP’s seats—2 and 1 respectively—along with 4 independents, will help the Congress achieve a majority in the state.
Sharad Pawar also expressed displeasure over the way the Gandhi family was targeted by the BJP during the election campaign.
“The election campaigning targeted only one family, but the BJP didn’t realise that the new generation has not seen Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi,” he said.
He said the Ram temple issue may not work for the BJP as it once did in the past, and alleged that the saffron party may try to create communal divide on the temple issue, calling it a “matter of concern”.
The BJP is under pressure from its ideological fount the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, alliance partner Shiv Sena and other Hindutva organisations who are demanding a law on the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, on the site where the Babri Masjid once stood.
On Wednesday, Shiv Sena MPs staged a protest in the Lok Sabha demanding immediate construction of the temple, leading the speaker to adjourn the house on the second day of the winter session of the Parliament.
“The issue of Ram temple was used once in the past and the BJP stood benefited by it. In case they (the BJP) raise the issue again, people do not accept an issue twice... So, I don’t think it (Ram temple) will benefit them (the BJP),” Pawar said.