Lok Sabha election results 2019 |‘I will take responsibility’, says Rahul Gandhi on Congress’s stunning defeat
Underlining that he did not want to “colour the mandate” by his analysis, Rahul Gandhi congratulated PM Modi’s on his huge win in the general elections and said the “people have decided”.Updated: May 23, 2019 20:01 IST
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the NDA’s massive win and assumed responsibility for the party’s massive defeat.
“Cent per cent. I will take responsibility,” Gandhi told a news conference on Thursday evening without elaborating how this would play out. To a question if he would resign, Gandhi said this was a matter between him and the Congress Working Committee. Later, the party said the CWC - the party’s highest decision-making body - would meet on Saturday.
Gandhi declined to offer his analysis of the electoral verdict, underlining that he did not want to “colour the mandate”.
“Today is not the day for me to go into the details of this mandate. Today is the day that a new prime minister has been elected. Today is the day to wish him all the best,” Gandhi, 48, said.
“Hopefully,” the Congress president added, ”he (PM Modi) will look after interests of this country”.
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Gandhi had made PM Modi’s defeat his single-point agenda in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, initially centering his party’s campaign around allegations of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal and then broadening it to incorporate the agrarian crisis and unemployment that had delivered three states.
He had also come up with the Nyay scheme – a promise to give the 20 per cent poorest families Rs 72,000 annually – that the Congress had hoped would persuade India’s millions of poor to help bring the party to power.
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By evening, it increasingly became clear that something had gone horribly wrong for the party. The party is close to ending up with just about 51 seats in the new Lok Sabha, not such an improvement over the 44 seats that the Congress had won in 2014.
Gandhi also suffered a personal defeat in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi that has been a party stronghold for a long time. He did end up with an impressive margin in Kerala’s Wayanad though.
Rahul Gandhi wished luck to Smriti Irani, the union minister who was taking him on in Amethi for the second time. Smriti Irani’s high-powered campaign in Amethi had narrowed Gandhi’s victory margin in 2014. Around the time Gandhi conceded defeat in the Congress bastion, Election Commission data showed that he had received 43 per cent vote share against Irani’s 50.