Defeat in HP polls due to anti-incumbency: Cong

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New Delhi, Dec 28 (UNI) Seeking to downplay its defeat in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress today cited ''anti-incumbency'' as the single largest factor that went against it.

Congress leader and Union Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma told newspersons that the anti-incumbency factor had worked against the Virbhadra Singh Government, despite the fact that it had undertaken many development works during the last five years. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also announced special packages for Himachal Pradesh, he added.

Asked for her reaction to the party losing power in Himachal Pradesh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi dodged the issue, saying this was not an occasion to speak on politics. She was giving bytes to television channels after an emergency meeting of the Congress Working Committee adopted a resolution condoling the demise of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Mr Sharma said there was a huge investment flow exceeding Rs 30,000 crore and creation of 300,000 new jobs during the five-year rule of the Congress.

Mr Sharma, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, said it was common practice in the state to get the Congress and the BJP elected in rotation.

To a question, he said the defeat of the Congress in Gujarat could not be compared with that in Himachal Pradesh as different factors worked against the party in the two states.

UNI

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