Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party for its victory in the Lok Sabha elections. Trends showed the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance heading for a landslide victory in the polls, with leads in over 340 seats compared to 90 for the United Progressive Alliance.

“I had said during the campaign that the people rule,” Gandhi said at a press conference. “Today, the people have clearly made their decision. So, I would first like to congratulate Narendra Modi and the BJP.”

He said Congress candidates and workers had fought the polls with full effort. Gandhi said that while the ideology of the Congress and the BJP was different, it has to be admitted that Modi and the saffron party have won the polls.

The Congress chief refused to answer a question about what went wrong for the party. He said today is the day to respect the mandate of the people.

Gandhi told Congress workers not to be disheartened or lose confidence following the loss. “We know that there are many people in India who support the Congress’ ideology,” Gandhi said. “We want to tell them not to be afraid.” The Congress chief said he takes full responsibility for the party’s defeat.

Gandhi also conceded defeat in Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, where he contested against Union minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani. He congratulated Irani on her victory. “I wish that Smriti Irani works with compassion for the people of Amethi.” The Congress president reiterated that he will respond to any attacks on him only with compassion.

Irani is ahead of Gandhi in Amethi by 24,084 votes, according to the Election Commission’s website.