As the BJP retained Gujarat, its bickering ally, the Shiv Sena, today said it was the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress which had emerged as the “real winner” in the election. Coming to power was no “big thing”, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, adding that the Congress might have lost the polls, but had “defeated” the BJP. “Although you see the BJP coming to power, the real winner is the Congress party. They may have lost, but have defeated the BJP,” Raut said. He pointed out that the BJP had been in power for over 20 years in Gujarat. “Coming to power is not a big thing,” Raut said.
The sena leader also claimed that the BJP’s “much-touted Gujarat model” had failed. “…the model, which took the BJP on the path to power in the country, has failed. The reason is that none of the dreams you (BJP) showed the state and the country were realised,” Raut claimed. The BJP “deprived the poor by emptying their pockets” with demonetisation, the Rajya Sabha member further said. “The result is seen in Gujarat,” he told reporters here. Raut stressed that the poll results indicated that the people were not happy with the BJP in Gujarat. The BJP came to power in the country by citing the ‘Gujarat model’ (of development), he said.
“If people in Gujarat are not happy (with the BJP) today, then understand their psyche, understand what people in the country feel,” Raut said. The BJP, he added, should understand the mindset of the people of Gujarat and “the reason the people there are not happy”. Raut claimed that the Narendra Modi-led government had not registered success on a single issue, whether it was security, Kashmir, Pakistan, the note ban, unemployment or farmer suicides. “This is what I gather from the Gujarat election results,” he said.
Raut’s remarks came as the Sena heaped praise on Rahul Gandhi, lauding the newly appointed Congress president for “fighting the Gujarat poll battle without bothering about the result”. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party said the 47-year-old Amethi MP had taken over the reins of the party at a crucial stage. “Rahul Gandhi has accepted the responsibility as Congress president at a crucial stage. There should be no objection in wishing him all the best,” said an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. The BJP today retained power in Gujarat, securing a simple majority in the 182-member Assembly.