What was common between the reactions from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Adityanath and Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, as results of the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh became clearer? Both leaders had the tone that they knew it all along.
Adityanath, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, said it was clear that a change in leadership at the Congress would be a good sign for the BJP, while Nirupam blamed it on the voting machines. “We were already fearing this...everyone should be careful, as this is a big threat for Indian democracy,” Nirupam said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it a “grand victory” for development, while Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi pitched in with “Gabbar has been demonetised in Gujarat” – referring to Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s jibe at the Goods and Services Tax being “Gabbar Singh Tax”.
Most major Congress leaders, including P Chidambaram, Shashi Tharoor and Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, steered clear of posting their reactions online for hours. When they did after 5 pm, the common message was that in its loss, Congress had somehow not really lost.
Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken began his day with a tweet saying his party was leading in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, but he posted nothing more as the tables turned within hours.
Here is what a few political leaders said during the day as the results came in:
‘Rahul Gandhi is made for Congress, not for India’
Attacking the Congress president’s “opportunistic politics”, BJP leader Giriraj Singh said, “After their loss in the two states, the Congress should understand that Rahul Gandhi is made only for the Congress, not for the country.”
‘BJP won, but Congress did not lose’
Look at the victory margins, says Surjewala
In a series of tweets, Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala pointed out that the BJP’s winning margins were fewer than 3,000 in 26 constituencies. Taking a potshot at the BJP’s aim of a “Congress-free India”, he urged the party to instead focus on “an India with happiness and development”.
Like Nirupam, Patidar leader Hardik Patel blamed the BJP’s victories in both states on the voting machines, calling them “hackable”.