New Delhi, Oct 24 : After improving its seat tally in the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections, the Congress on Thursday asserted that the poll results are an indication of a moral defeat for the BJP and the party differs with BJP chief Amit Shah’s view that the saffron party had won big.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said that the party accepts the people’s mandate with “honour and humility”.
“We want to say that this is a moral defeat for the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah’s and their entire leadership was far from ground reality and their entire campaign was based on issues not concerning masses,” the former union minister alleged.
Sharma accused the BJP of running a misleading campaign during the elections and said that they “misused governance, administration was in their possession, they had all means available to influence people”.
“But both Modi and BJP were silent on real issues like farmer crisis, economy in shambles, unemployment, rupee depreciation. None of them spoke on these issues. Despite what was shown was completely different,” he said.
The Congress won 31 seats in Maharashtra and was leading on 15 seats. The party on the other hand won 29 seats in Haryana and was leading on two seats. The Congress had won 42 seats in Maharashtra and 15 seats in Haryana in 2014 Assembly polls.
Taking potshots at the BJP over the dip in their vote share, Sharma said, “What was shown on the exit polls were proven wrong in these elections as we said earlier. In Maharashtra, BJP had 52 per cent of the vote share while Congress had 32 per cent during the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.
“Looking at the vote percentage at that time, the BJP-Shiv Sena had an edge over 224 seats in the state just four months ago, while today they have got around 154 seats which is 90 seats short,” Sharma pointed out.
Sharma then pointed out that at the time of Lok Sabha elections in Haryana, BJP had 58.2 per cent of the vote share and they were leading on 79 seats.
“And today BJP has lost majority,” he said. Commenting on BJP President’s remarks that the mandate in Haryana and Maharashtra was a big victory for the party, Sharma said, “We disagree with Shah that BJP has won big as they have lost.”
He said “if we agree with Shah’s views then we have to change the definition of victory”. The Deputy Lok Sabha leader further said that Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has lost the moral right to continue in power.
Sharma said that Congress’ Leader of Opposition in Haryana and former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda appealed to all non-BJP parties to come together to honour this anti-BJP mandate and form an alternative government as the mandate is against the BJP.
Targeting the defectors and the rebel leaders, Sharma said that a number of people defected and joined the BJP and Shiv Sena before elections.
“And the voters have taken a proper report from them as most of them have lost in the elections,” he said referring to the rebel NCP leader and direct descendent of Chatrapati Shivaji, Udayanraje Bhosale who lost in the Lok Sabha bypolls in Maharashtra and several Congress and NCP defectors losing in both the states.
Sharma said that there was no reason for the BJP to celebrate. The Congress leader said that the BJP has become so arrogant and they were still in campaign mode so it will be tough to stop them from celebrating.
“The BJP campaigned extensively, but it is the maturity, intelligence and honesty of the voters of Maharashtra and Haryana that they have voted to maintain balance of democracy in the country. This is the beginning of a mass movement,” Sharma said.
He highlighted that the country today faces a “deep crisis” while the government remains “unperturbed”. “Their only focus is to fully wrest power using undemocratic means. It was clear from these results that they cannot frighten the public,” he said.
He said BJP lost the by-elections in Gujarat, the home state of Modi and Shah.
“The leaders (like Alpesh Thakur) who defected in Gujarat have also been taught a lesson. We have also won by-elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab.”
Thakore had joined the Congress in 2017 ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls. He resigned from Congress and also as an MLA and joined the BJP last month. “These results indicate that the public cannot be fooled, its intelligence cannot be questioned. Now we hope that the Prime Minister will leave campaigning and work on the country’s economy, farmer crisis, and unemployment,” Sharma added.