New Delhi, Dec 23: Congress party today conceded defeat in Gujarat Assembly elections after early trends in the counting of votes showed that the BJP is all set to return to power.
“It is a great victory for him (Narendra Modi), it is a remarkable victory. I do not grudge him the victory," Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said as trends in the counting of votes indicated a clear win for BJP. However, he said that the election victory does not remove the "blot" or invalidate what all had happened under Modi's Government in the post-Godhra riots.
"An electoral victory can never invalidate violations of basic secular values," Singhvi said.
"Modi deserves congratulations," Singhvi said. He said the BJP's success in the elections shows that some of the "tactics" Modi used have worked.
"The victory is certainly limited to Gujarat and a certain kind of divisive politics has worked there," Singhvi said.
He said the party was obviously disappointed at the results, but added that it was surprised as it was expecting a much narrower margin.
Meanwhile, Congress General Secretary in charge of Gujarat, B K Hariprasad, said that ideological struggle of the party will continue in Gujarat.
Counting of votes cast in the two-phased elections commenced at 8 a.m. this morning in 37 counting stations amidst tight security with the Congress and the BJP locked in a virtual straight fight.
The exit polls conducted by several television channels also had predicted incumbent Chief Minister Narendra Modi's return to power for a second consecutive term.
The exit polls, however, have said that Modi will return, but with a reduced majority.
In the outgoing 182-member House, BJP and Congress had 127 seats and 51 respectively.
The Gujarat polls have for the first time attracted countrywide attention with Modi acquiring a larger than life image during what has been touted as a very acrimonious poll campaign, involving verbal slugfests between Modi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
In all, 1,268 candidates are battling for 182 seats.