Rahul Gandhi accepts blame for poor India poll results

Published: March 6, 2012
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India’s Congress party was trailing in fourth place as counting of votes got underway in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, a stunning blow to Rahul Gandhi who had staked his political future on reviving his party’s fortunes in the populous northern state. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

India’s Congress party was trailing in fourth place as counting of votes got underway in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, a stunning blow to Rahul Gandhi who had staked his political future on reviving his party’s fortunes in the populous northern state. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party politician seen as India’s prime minister-in-waiting, on Tuesday accepted responsibility for poor results in state elections in which he had led campaigning.

“I stood in front, so it is my responsibility,” he told reporters in New Delhi. “Organisationally we are not where we should be in UP (Uttar Pradesh state).”

The five state elections, particularly in the key state of Uttar Pradesh, were a high-profile test for Gandhi, the 41-year-old scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

“I think it will be a very good lesson for me, because I think it will make me think about things in a detailed way, which I like to do,” he said.

“My work will go on. My entire effort will be to help the Congress party stand up in UP and that one day, we win there.”

Congress hoped to make a major advance on their 22 seats in the Uttar Pradesh state assembly, but are officially predicted to have just 27 seats when counting is completed later Tuesday.

Congress was trailing in fourth place as counting of votes got underway in UP on Tuesday, a stunning blow to Gandhi who had staked his political future on reviving his party’s fortunes in the populous northern state.

“It’s baffling if this is true,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said as partial results showed his party was likely to fall far short of the 120 seats it predicted it would win in the state’s 403-seat legislative assembly. “I still don’t believe the trends.”

With results in for 321 seats, Congress and a regional ally had won just 40.

Congress also looked set to lose in the states of Punjab and Uttarakhand, but were leading the seat tally in two smaller states that also went to the polls over the last month, Manipur and Goa.

The leftist Samajwadi Party (SP) looked set to win by far the largest number of seats in Uttar Pradesh, a state that with 200 million people. This could mean a return to power for Mulayam Singh Yadav and the ouster of flamboyant low-caste leader Mayawati as chief minister of the state.

Gandhi, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has ruled India for most of its 65 years of independence, campaigned tirelessly to revive his centre-left party in a politically crucial state where it has not held power for 22 years.

Congress, which heads the federal coalition government, won only 22 of Uttar Pradesh’s assembly seat in the last poll.

The party’s setbacks in Uttar Pradesh and the other states could make it harder for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s already weakened coalition government to pursue reforms that could shore up economic growth, which has slipped below 7%.

Congress spokesman Singhvi strenuously defended Gandhi’s electioneering despite the disappointing results. “Not even Rahul Gandhi’s worst enemies, political or otherwise, suggest that his leadership was lacking. He was outstanding,” he said. “He’s gone to every nook and cranny, he’s provided the spirit, the euphoria, the leadership – if it doesn’t translate, then it doesn’t translate.”

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Arijit Sharma
    Mar 6, 2012 - 11:30AM

    ” …. Gandhi’s Congress flops in Indian state elections …. “

    A very simple equation explains it all – Voter IQ much greater than Rahul’s IQ.

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  • unbeliever
    Mar 6, 2012 - 12:49PM

    please do not mislead innocent pakistanis who may think that gandhi may mean MAHATMA GANDHI. these gandhis are imposters, and at best pseudo-secularists.
    neither do have i any respect for a party which loots the nation, and just engages itself in sharing the booty and divide the nation on the basis of religion and caste.

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  • Paras Vikmani
    Mar 6, 2012 - 3:33PM

    BJP’s performance has been good in Punjab,Goa and Uttaarakhand and average in Uttar Pradesh.

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  • swapnil
    Mar 6, 2012 - 4:38PM

    BJP with its allies won in punjab, Goa and uttarakhand. Congress won just manipur. But man of the match is akhilesh yadav. Hope SP won’t repeat it’s past mistakes.

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  • Ameer
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:02PM

    This shows the power of Indian Muslims..Samajwadi Party represents the Muslim vote of Uttar Pradesh..

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  • arjun
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:26PM

    @Ameer:
    huh! Power? what power ? That was granted or dreamt as you are? In a secular nation, only fools consider their religion as powerful.

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  • G. Din
    Mar 6, 2012 - 5:40PM

    @Arijit Sharma:
    “A very simple equation explains it all – Voter IQ much greater than Rahul’s IQ.”
    Please do not insult the voters comparing them to an utter fool. Remember how the same voter rebuffed his grandmother? May be it is time for the family to retire to Europe !Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Mar 6, 2012 - 10:21PM

    @arjun: hey mate, I agree with u partially… what Ameer wants to say is that Muslims feel safer with SP & therefore statistically percentage of muslim votes to SP was more than it gave to any other party… here ‘power’ is not muscle power…
    Had SP received all & only muslim votes then it would have been not even 4th…
    Anyways lets hope the party does justice with all ‘samajs’ in UP… and does not repeat goondaraj…

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  • G. Din
    Mar 7, 2012 - 12:26AM

    @Ameer:
    “This shows the power of Indian Muslims..Samajwadi Party represents the Muslim vote of Uttar Pradesh..”
    Behold the power of Indian Muslims in skewing Indian Democracy by wanton block voting. Take heed, Maulana Mulayam! Now UP Muslims are eying you and you shall be driven into the ground as surely as they did the Congress Party in their state. Ask Rahool Ghandy!

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  • Ameer
    Mar 7, 2012 - 9:22AM

    @G. Din:
    Thank you Din for your studied analysis.

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  • SK.M HASANUZZAMAN
    Mar 7, 2012 - 9:14PM

    My yng frnd failure is the pillr of success& Rahul himself said that he lrnt lession. pls remmbr sacrifice of his grandmother and father. after all we need one or two powerful national party so that we can say we r INDIAN not bengali,gujrati, bihari ,UP ……

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  • Cynical
    Mar 12, 2012 - 5:07AM

    @G. Din

    Quite impressed with your message of love and tolerance.

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