The Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi ran a “campaign of defamation” against the Congress in Gujarat, party President Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday, while addressing party workers in Gujarat.

“We may have lost the elections, but we won,” Gandhi said, adding that in the next state elections in 2022, the Congress will “counter the BJP” and win 135 seats.

The BJP won power in Gujarat for the sixth time in a row, but by a much narrower margin than earlier. The Congress made significant strides by winning 77 seats and succeeded in taking over a large part of the rural Patidar-dominated belt of Gujarat’s Saurashtra region.

During his address on Saturday, Gandhi congratulated his party workers, saying they had changed the perception about the Congress. “Three to four months ago, people were questioning whether the Congress could even contest in Gujarat,” he said, also hinting at taking action against some leaders “who did not fight with us”.

He said the Congress’ role in the state now was to “protect the people, farmers and the youth of Gujarat”. “We will show that we can do it,” he asserted.

The day after the results were announced, Gandhi said the polls were a “massive jolt” to the BJP, and that the results proved to him that the people of Gujarat did not approve of Modi’s model of development.