UP, Punjab results a `lesson`, UPA to remain unaffected: Cong

Congress on Tuesday said the poll outcome was a "lesson" for the party, but will not affect the UPA government at the Centre in anyway.

New Delhi: Acknowledging that the election
results in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab did not match its
expectations, Congress on Tuesday said the poll outcome was a
"lesson" for the party, but will not affect the UPA government
at the Centre in anyway.

"...the reasons for our not getting as much as...Probably
we projected for ourselves. We will sit and learn. Every
election does teach us a lesson," Congress leader Ambika Soni
said here.

Putting up a brave face, Soni said the poll was not a
disappointment for them.

"Actually when you fight to make governments in all the
states and one or two are slipping out of your hands, you do
feel what went wrong," she said.

Party leader Rajiv Shukla also admitted that the
results, especially in Punjab, were disappointing for the
party, but also pointed out that Congress has improved its
previous tally in Uttar Pradesh.

"It is disappointing for us as far as Punjab is
concerned. As far as UP is concerned, we have not done as we
wanted. We wanted to get at least 70-80 seats, but we have not
been able to get that," Shukla said.

On a question whether the Congress would support the
formation of a SP government in Uttar Pradesh, he said that
the decision would be taken by the party high command after
the results are out.

"We will get something between 50-60 seats according to
current trends which are available and our vote percentage has
gone up. Now we are party to reckon with in the state. So far
we were nowhere," he added.

Asked whether the results were against the verdict of UPA
government at the Centre, Soni replied in the negative.

"Not at all. UPA has a mandate which it got in 2009 for
five years. The agendas were different, the issues were
different. Naturally the issue of Vidhan Sabha is very
different. It does not affect the Central government," she

At the same time, she also dismissed suggestions that
Team Anna had an impact on the poll results.

"I do not think Team Anna was really...I was in Punjab
for 15 days and I did not see their campaign reflected in any
newspaper or television channel," she replied.

Asked whether the non-passage of Lokpal Bill had any
impact on votes, Soni said her party was always for a strong
Lokpal and could not be blamed for its delay.

"We tried to bring a strong Lokpal. Everybody knows, we
don`t have the numbers in Rajya Sabha. What prevented BJP from
supporting it in Rajya Sabha when they supported it in the Lok
Sabha?" she asked.

Talking about the trends, she said, "We are making
government in some states but not probably all now. In
Manipur, most certainly, but others are also not ruled out and
Punjab is a very close call."

However, she refused to comment on her party`s
performance in Punjab.

"I can not straight off tell you reasons for Akalis doing
better. Election was supposed to be quite a close one and you
(exit polls) also predicted a close call," she said.

The Union minister accepted that the Congress should have
"caught the weakness of Akali`s rule in Punjab" and said,
"their (Akali`s) corruption for five years for which people
were tired, may be we should have pushed those points harder."

Soni said Captain Amarinder Singh led from the front and
was also declared as the Chief Ministerial candidate by party
General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.

"Amarinder led us from the front. The general perception
was that Congress would do better with Amarinder as the
Captain. Also there was a lot of propaganda. In order to
lessen that vicious campaign by Akalis, Rahul Gandhi had
announced and it helped us consolidate our position," she

Meanwhile, Shukla also hit at the BJP who it said was
criticising Rahul Gandhi without having gained any ground in
Uttar Pradesh.

"We have improved from 22 to 50-60 seats. They (BJP) have
gone up from 49-50 to 55-56 seats. Actually they have not
gained anything but since morning they have been abusing Rahul
Gandhi (and) Congress Party," he claimed.