Results second consecutive defeat for Rahul:Sushma Swaraj

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New Delhi: The Congress’s poor showing in Uttar Pradesh was a “defeat” for Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj said here Tuesday.

“Congress and the media had created a big hype about Rahul Gandhi. Congress had made it a prestige issue. These results show that this is the second consecutive defeat for Rahul,” Swaraj told reporters outside the party office.

She was referring to the 2010 Bihar assembly elections when, despite Rahul’s intensive campaigning, the Congress had fared badly. The Congress tally had dipped in the face of massive peoples’ support for the Nitish Kumar-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The Congress, for which Gandhi had campaigned extensively, trailed the Samajwadi Party as well as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh as votes were counted Tuesday.

Swaraj said the mandate in the just-concluded elections was against “corruption, price rise and communal politics of Congress”.

She said the party’s performance in the elections was “not unexpected” in Punjab and Uttarakhand.

“It’s a mixed bag for BJP,” she said.

“We have won Punjab, we are winning Goa, we are nearing the majority in Uttarakhand also,” she added.

In Punjab, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine appeared poised for victory. In Goa, too, the BJP was leading.

In Uttarakhand, BJP is running neck-and-neck with the Congress, while in Uttar Pradesh it is positioned behind the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Swaraj conceded that the party “could not do well” in Uttar Pradesh.

“The electorate wanted to get rid of BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party)-government and they selected SP (Samajwadi Party) as an alternative,” she said.

“It would have been very good had we done well in UP also. In three states, we have performed well,” Swaraj said.

She also said the party needed to do “serious introspection” on why the BJP could not do well in Uttar Pradesh and it will be discussed within the party.

The BJP parliamentary board is meeting Tuesday to discuss the poll outcome.