The performance of Congress in the Gujarat elections has come as a major boost for the party in Maharashtra, which said it, along with its partner NCP, would intensify its agitation against the Devendra Fadnavis government. The two parties today said they had already begun preparing for the 2019 elections in the state. “The Congress has emerged stronger in Gujarat and it will have an effect across the country,” said state Congress president Ashok Chavan.
“It is actually a major moral victory for the Congress and party president Rahul Gandhi, who has proved his mettle. The Congress nearly pulled off a win…,” Chavan said. Chavan said the Gujarat result and, before that, the Congress’ performance in Punjab and Goa clearly reflected the party was making a comeback. “And that is the reason why we are already gearing up for the 2019 Assembly elections,” he said.
On the Shiv Sena’s “softening” of stand towards the Congress, Chavan said the Sena was not making its stand open and clear. “It has been saying it will quit the government, but continues to stay put. Therefore, it is difficult to know what the Sena is up to,” he said.
Echoing Chavan’s views, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Both the NCP and the Congress have already taken the Fadnavis government head-on over its failure on several fronts. In the coming days, we will intensify our agitation across the state,” he said. Hailing the Congress performance in Gujarat, Malik said had the Congress tied up with the NCP, it would have certainly helped the party in gaining majority. “We had fielded at least five-six serious candidates though we later supported the Congress… but our party strongly feels had the Congress tied up with the NCP, the scenario in Gujarat might have been different,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Kakade, MP, who was earlier reported to have said that the BJP would not get a majority in Gujarat, today clarified his statement. “I had said if Modi’s charisma prevails in Gujarat, then the BJP will win. There were too many negative factors working for the BJP in Gujarat. In such a scenario, I felt only Modi’s charisma could save the party. I had said if Modi failed to work on the voters, then the BJP will not gain a majority,” he said. Kakade said he was not quoted properly in the media.
Meanwhile, the Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad units of the BJP celebrated the party’s victories in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh by distributing sweets outside its office along with raising of slogans in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah. On the other hand, a jubilant Congress said its performance in Gujarat showed things were changing and the party would do well in future as well.
BJP leaders led by city unit chief Yogesh Gogawale, Srinath Bhimale, Murlidhar Mohol along with the party cadre gathered outside the office on J M Road, once it became clear, by afternoon, that the BJP was on the victory path.
The party office premise was decorated with flowers and hoardings of the prime minister and party chief. Hoardings were also put up at various places in the city, congratulating the leaders for the victory. “The victory of the BJP in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh is because of the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah. The opposition led by the Congress tried to play caste politics to defeat the BJP and even went on to make a joke of the development work done by Gujarat but the voters have shown them their place,” said Gogawale.
The city BJP chief said this election has shown that those playing caste politics would be using it for creating hurdles in the development of the country. City BJP MP Anil Shirole said the voters had shown confidence in the BJP on the development work done by the party in the last 22 years in Gujarat. “The result proves that the public supports the efforts of the government to bring in financial discipline through the introduction of Goods and Service Tax (GST),” he said, adding the voters of Himachal Pradesh believe in Modi’s vision on development. City Congress general secretary Ramesh Iyer said the Gujarat results had proved the BJP will not have it easy in the future.
“The Congress was able to restrict the BJP to 99 seats when it was claiming win in 150 of the 182 seats. The BJP tally has dropped while the Congress has managed to increase its legislators by 19,” he said, adding that this despite the prime minister and all senior BJP leaders making all efforts in the Gujarat elections.
The Congress’ performance in Gujarat has enthused the party cadre, who would be well-prepared for the elections in future, Iyer added.