‘Janta maalik hai’: Rahul Gandhi concedes defeat, says will respect people’s mandate

Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses press (Source: INC)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for its resounding victory in the Lok Sabha elections after results projected a humiliating defeat for the Congress, the second time in a row. Addressing the media, Gandhi said, "the janta (public) is the master and the master has made its decision."

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said reports of Gandhi offering his resignation are incorrect. When asked on fixing responsibility for loss, Gandhi said, "This is between my party and I. Between me and the Congress CWC."

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When asked if he will resign as the party chief, Gandhi said the Congress Working Committee will meet soon and decide on the matter.

Rahul also conceded defeat in Congress bastion Amethi, from where he has been a three-time MP. Congratulating BJP’s Smriti Irani, Gandhi said he accepts the mandate of the people. In Uttar Pradesh, where Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was brought in to galvanise voters, the party has so far only been able to ascertain one seat- Rae Bareli-a Congress bastion and the constituency of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

However, Rahul is set to win from Wayanad, from where he contested beside Amethi. Kerala is one of the few states where the Congress has claimed significant numbers of seats, with the Congress-led UDF leading in all 20 seats in the state.

In the Lok Sabha polls, the party is faced with a crushing defeat with the BJP taking its tally up to 300 seats. The elections, the first since Rahul Gandhi took the reigns of the party from Sonia Gandhi, was being seen as a litmus test for the functioning of the grand old party and its attempted alliance with other Opposition leaders.

Party leaders in private conceded that the Congress faltered by turning the campaign into a bitter battle against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who anyway was itching to make the election a presidential contest between him and the undeclared opposition prime ministerial candidate.

The Congress is leading in 50 out of the 542 Lok Sabha seats, while the BJP is headed for a landslide victory with 302 seats.