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Ashok Chavan takes responsibility for Congress drubbing in Maharashtra

By Anuj Cariappa

Mumbai, May 23: Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan on Thursday accepted responsibility for his party's defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, saying they raised people's issues in the run-up to the polls but failed to succeed.

The Congress was trailing in all the seats it contested in the state, except Chandrapur where its nominee Suresh Dhanorkar was leading over his BJP rival and Union minister Hansraj Ahir.

Ashok Chavan takes responsibility for Congress drubbing in Maharashtra

To a query on whether he will continue as the state Congress chief, Chavan, who was also trailing in Nanded Lok Sabha seat, told reporters in his constituency that the party central leadership would take a call on his future role.

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"I will give my views to the party leadership. I accept responsibility for our defeat. We relentlessly raised people's issues and took on the government, but it is sad that we did not get success," he said.

Chavan appealed to the party workers not to get disheartened and rather start preparations for the state Assembly polls due later this year.

To a question, the senior Congress leader admitted "neglect" on his part during the poll campaign in his constituency Nanded because of his pre-occupation elsewhere in the state as the party unit chief.

Congress leader Milind Deora, who was also trailing in Mumbai-South Lok Sabha seat, accepted the people's verdict "with all humility".

"Our candidates gave a strong and commendable fight to the BJP and Shiv Sena. We shall give a constructive yet an uncompromising opposition to them," he said.

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In Maharashtra, which sends 48 members to the Lok Sabha, the BJP emerged victorious in one seat and was leading in 22 other seats while the Sena was ahead in 18 seats.

The Congress and its ally NCP were leading in one and four seats, respectively.

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