Party leaders said the results showed that people were not angry with the UPA. The Congress won a simple majority in Himachal Pradesh and improved its tally by two seats in Gujarat.
“It is a pleasant moment for the party as far as Himachal is concerned... In Gujarat our seats improved,” Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed said.
But the results in Gujarat pointed to a leadership crisis faced by the Congress in the state. Both its Gujarat unit chief Arjun Modhwadia and leader of legislative party Shaktisinh Gohil lost the elections. Ahmed said the party will build new leadership in the state. “New leaders will come up. We have 61 MLAs,” he said.
Ahmed said a reason for Modi’s victory in Gujarat was hype created by the media that he will become a prime ministerialcandidate.
Ahmed, who is incharge of party affairs in West Bengal, said the ‘Keshubhai factor’ was another reason for the party’s defeat in Gujarat.
“The anti-Modi vote got divided,” he said. Congress leaders said the results in Himachal Pradesh were a reply to the BJP campaign against the UPA government on price rise and its economic policy decisions.
They said the decision to put a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders was taken days before the Himachal Pradesh elections and the BJP attempted to capitalise on the issue.
“At the national level, people have endorsed the UPA. Results from Himachal Pradesh clearly indicate that people are not angry with UPA,” said Congress general secretary BK Hariprasad.
Top Congress leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party chief Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi campaigned in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
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