Staring at bypoll rout in Gujarat, Congress hits out at BJP

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Ahmedabad, Nov 10 (PTI) As the BJP appears set to sweep bypolls held on eight assembly seats in Gujarat, the state Congress on Tuesday hit out at the ruling party, saying the outcome is a victory of its policy of using 'wrong means like manipulation, money and blackmail' to retain power.

The BJP has already won three seats and established a dominant lead over the Congress in the remaining five assembly constituencies. Voting for the bypolls was held on November 3 counting of ballots was taken up on Tuesday.

State Congress President Amit Chavda said the party accepted the people's verdict, though it was contrary to its expectation that voters will teach a lesson to the BJP for indulging in 'horse-trading and using money power'.

In the past, the BJP has repeatedly rejected Congress allegations of horse-trading and using money power to achieve political ends.

'Voters are supreme in a democracy. We accept their verdict. But it was contrary to our expectation that people will teach a lesson to the BJP for indulging in horse-trading using money and muscle power...

'Primary reason for our defeat is the BJP's policy ofsham, dam, dand, bhed(manipulation, use of money, harassment, blackmail), its misuse of power and administration, money, its hunger for power without care for any democratic values,' said Chavda at a press conference.

Elections to the eight seats were necessitated after sitting Congress MLAs resigned from the assembly and the party. Five of these legislators later joined the BJP and contested as its candidates in the bypolls.

Chavda said party members and leaders worked with team spirit to ensure victory on all the eight seats, and the candidates chosen by the party are loyal and committed to its ideology.

'Despite this, we have faced a defeat. We will sit together and try to find out the reasons behind why people voted the way they did, and will act upon them,' he said.

He thanked party workers and asked them not to get disappointed by the outcome.

'I thank party workers that despite all odds, they worked hard for party candidates and for Congress ideology.

'I request Congress workers not to be disappointed by the defeat, because victory and defeat are parts of an election.

'Our ideology is not to hanker for power but to fight for the rights of people,' the Congress leader said.

He asked party workers to continue their fight against the 'tyranny' of the BJP like the Congress fought against the British and drove them out of the country. PTI KA PD RSY RSY