The Opposition reacted sharply to the BJP’s win in Gujarat, saying the “victory was a confirmation of the deep communal polarisation that has been engineered by the BJP-RSS” and that the saffron party funded “the AAP to divide the Congress votes” in the state.
In its official statement on the results Thursday, The CPI(M) called “the BJP’s seventh successive victory” in Gujarat “a confirmation of the deep communal polarisation that has been engineered by the BJP-RSS over the last three decades”. “The projection of a pan-Hindu identity along with the rhetoric about Gujarati pride have overcome the more vital issues like price rise, unemployment and poor public health and educational facilities,” it said.
Talking to reporters after the results, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole alleged that the BJP used “liquor and money” in the Gujarat elections, adding that “the BJP misused all institutions including the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and Election Commission to win the polls.”
”There is no BJP wave in the country. The people are fed up with BJP’s politics of hatred, declining economy, inflation and unemployment and the same is reflected in these results,” the Maharashtra Congress chief said.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru Thursday, former Karnataka chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah alleged that the BJP funded the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Gujarat to divide the Congress votes.
“In Gujarat, the AAP spent a lot. My information says that the BJP funded the AAP to divide the Congress vote. Because the AAP contested the election, we lagged behind,” Siddaramaiah said.
“The AAP spent huge money in the election. They spent more than the Congress… The BJP winning in Gujarat was not a matter of surprise. There is no surprise that the BJP is coming to power in Gujarat because the AAP contested the election and ate away our votes in all the seats,” he added.
Seeking to downplay the impact of the Gujarat election results in poll-bound Karnataka, the Congress leader said the wave in one state will never have an effect in another. “What happened to ‘Modi wave’ in Delhi where the BJP lost the MCD election?” he said.
Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeem (AIMIM) contested the Assembly elections in Gujarat for the first time. He fielded candidates in 13 seats but drew a blank.
Despite the results not going his way, Owaisi said he was “not discouraged”. In a video posted on the party’s Twitter account, he thanked the voters who voted for the party and said the party respects the people’s decision. The AIMIM “would discuss its performance, remove shortcomings and make efforts to strengthen the party in the future,” he said.
At a press conference in Surat Thursday, AAP Gujarat president Gopal Italia said his party made an “impressive entry” and gave a “tough fight” to the ruling outfit in the just concluded Assembly polls. Italia also termed the AAP winning five seats in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state a “victory of Kejriwal’s politics of honesty” and vowed to make the party a “formidable challenger” of the BJP in Gujarat in the coming years.
“It’s a historic day as the AAP today made an impressive entry into Gujarat, which is the BJP stronghold. We gave a tough fight to the rival and won five seats. It’s a revolution in Gujarat and the victory of Arvind Kejriwal’s honest politics,” he said.
The BJP came to power in Gujarat for a record seventh consecutive term by winning 156 seats in the 182-member Assembly. It suffered a blow in Himachal Pradesh, where the Congress came to power by winning 40 seats in the 68-member Assembly.
Calling the Congress victory in Himachal Pradesh “reassuring”, its DMK ally and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin congratulated the party on Twitter. “May the aspirations of Himachal people be fulfilled,” he said.
About the hill state’s Assembly election results, the CPI(M) said “the Congress victory constitutes a stinging defeat for the BJP which had put in all its resources and state machinery to try to retain power. The popular discontent over the BJP misrule prevailed.”
(With inputs from PTI)