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Congress will start from scratch in Bihar, says Sonia Gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi today congratulated the Janata Dal-United, Bharatiya Janata Party alliance for its win in Bihar and said the Congress would be starting from scratch in the state.

delhi Updated: Nov 24, 2010 13:44 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday congratulated the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance for its win in Bihar and said the Congress would be starting from scratch in the state.

"We didn't have much hope," Gandhi told reporters, adding that the party had taken the "deliberate decision not to work in alliance with other parties".

"The results indicate that our party has to start from scratch and that is what we plan to do," Gandhi said as votes were being counted in Bihar and trends indicated that the Congress may not even be able to get the nine seats it got last time.

Earlier, AICC general secretary in-charge for Bihar Mukul Wasnik said it was a "tough time" for party politics in the state and that it will analyse why huge crowds in rallies of its top leaders could not translate into votes.

Wasnik said he takes full responsibility for the results in the state but refused to accept that Gandhi's "magic" failed to work.

"The time which Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi gave for Bihar had benefited us greatly. It enthused our party workers. None of their rallies had less crowds.

"But as far as election results are concerned, they are a different issue. We will have to find out the reason as why we could not translate the huge crowds that came in rallies addressed by our party leaders into votes," Wasnik told reporters here.

He said, "It is tough time for Congress politics in Bihar."

The Union Minister refused to accept that it was a wrong decision to go alone in Bihar by dumping old ally Lalu Prasad's RJD and said "it was a conscious decision".

"It was a new beginning and now the results have come. Nobody was thinking that we would make way easily. I don't belileve that we committed a mistake by going alone. We wanted to create our own space in Bihar.... the path may be longer. It was a conscious decision," he said to a volley of questions.

He said "organisation is a continuity" and added that he does not believe that "someone becoming in-charge at some point of time" could be a reason for the party's defeat.

Wasnik, at the same time, said "Being in-charge of the state, I take full responsibility for the results".

Asked about wrong ticket distribution and play of money into the exercise, he said, "Nothing in particular has come to my knowledge".

He maintained that the party will definitely go into all the issues once the final results are out.

Party spokesperson Jayanthi Natrarajn said, "We did not do as well as we had expected" but maintained, "We will keep strategist and working to strengthen the party till we get whatever space we have lost there".

He said a call had to be taken whether the party would like to secure its own identity or be continuing as a junior partner to any party and Congress decided for the former.

Acknowledging that there is difference between UP and Bihar, Natarajan expressed confidence that "next time, we will improve our tally".

She also gave credit for the victory to Nitish Kumar. "All credit to him (Kumar) for his and order did improve under Nitish Kumar," Natarajan said.

First Published: Nov 24, 2010 13:30 IST