NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi, leader of India’s main opposition Congress party, conceded on Thursday he had lost his seat in the famous family’s long-held home constituency.
“Smriti Irani (of the BJP) has won in Amethi and I congratulate her. The people of Amethi have given their mandate,” Gandhi told a news conference.
At national level, Congress looked to have been given a hiding at the polls as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party headed for a landslide victory.
Congress has held Amethi in Uttar Pradesh state since 1967 except for one three-year stint in 1977-80 and a separate one-year period in 1998-99.
Rahul Gandhi, 48, won the seat in 2004, 2009 and 2014 and the constituency is considered one of the two Nehru-Gandhi family bastions.
The heavy losses suffered by the Congress to Modi put paid to Gandhi’s hopes of becoming the fourth member of his famous dynasty to lead the world’s biggest democracy.
Votes counted so far indicated that the party won just 50 seats against 301 for the BJP, which secured an even bigger majority than at the last election in 2014.
“I can’t comment on the results today. I want to say that our fight is a fight for ideology. I want to tell our leaders, who won and lost, don’t worry, don’t lose confidence. We will fight together for our ideology,” Gandhi told the news conference.
“It doesn’t matter what I think went wrong. Frankly people of India have decided that Modi should be the prime minister, as an Indian person I accept it,” he said.