Despite defeat, Congress not to dilute anti-communal stand

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New Delhi, Dec 23 (UNI) A shocked Congress Party today gave the entire "credit" of the BJP's victory in the Gujarat Assembly elections to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, though it accused him of having "communalised the poll," and asserted that it would not dilute its stand against communalism despite the defeat.

"It was a victory of Mr Modi. The BJP was nowhere in the picture," AICC General Secretary in charge of Gujarat B K Hariprasad told mediapersons, while pointing out that the Congress expected its candidates to win at least 95 seats.

While owning up the responsibility for the party's debacle in the elections, he said "losing election is fine...but we cannot dilute our stand (against communalism)." "It is not a defeat for Congress. It is a defeat for individuals like me. Mr Modi defeated me," he said.

Mr Hariprasad said the Congress Party fought the elections on ideological basis. "We might have failed, but still we will continue to fight Mr Modi on ideological grounds." In this context, he said that Mr Modi had communalised the poll.

Though the Ram Sethu project was given clearance by the previous BJP-led NDA government, he had raised even this issue against the Congress Party to make it communal.

Asked if the poll outcome was a setback to the Congress-led Government at the Centre, Mr Hariprasad said Mr Modi had never raised national issues in his campaign.

Replying to a question on if the poll outcome in Gujarat would reflect on the next Lok Sabha elections, Mr Hariprasad replied in the negative saying that issues were different in state and central elections.

He identified the organisational weakness of the Party in Gujarat as one of the reasons for the party's poor show in the poll.

"Ms Gandhi and members of the Gandhi family are vote pullers in any election. When you could not convert their visits to votes, it is our failure." Mr Hariprasad said the party would study as to what went wrong in Gujarat, despite the fact that the party had never made such a massive and systematic preparedness in any of the recent elections.

Asked if the Congress could have fared better had it projected a Chief Ministerial candidate, he said his party never projected anyone before the elections. "Our Chief Ministers are decided by the elected members of the party." UNI

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