Mumbai: As the BJP retained Gujarat, its ally, the Shiv Sena, has said that it was the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress which had emerged as the "real winner" in the election.
- BJP won 6th straight term in Gujarat but got 99 seats, fewer than 2012
- Coming to power in home turf was no "big thing", says Sanjay Raut
- Ties between BJP and Shiv Sena, allies in Maharashtra, have been stormy
Coming to power was no "big thing", Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, adding that the Congress may have lost the elections, but had "defeated" the BJP.
"Although you see the BJP coming to power, the real winner is the Congress party. They may have lost, but have defeated the BJP," Mr Raut said.
He pointed out that the BJP had been in power for over 20 years in Gujarat. Therefore "Coming to power is not a big thing," Mr Raut said. The sena leader also claimed that the BJP's "much-touted Gujarat model" had failed.
"The model which took the BJP on the path to power in the country, has failed. The reason is that none of the dreams you (BJP) showed the state and the country were realised," Mr Raut claimed.
The BJP "deprived the poor by emptying their pockets" with demonetisation, the Rajya Sabha member further said. "The result is seen in Gujarat," he told reporters in Mumbai.
Mr Raut stressed that the election results indicated that the people were not happy with the BJP in Gujarat.
The BJP came to power in the country by citing the 'Gujarat model' (of development), he said. "If people in Gujarat are not happy (with the BJP) today, then understand their psyche, understand what people in the country feel," Mr Raut said.
He also claimed that the Narendra Modi-led government had not registered success on a single issue, whether it was security, Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, the note ban, unemployment or farmer suicides. "This is what I gather from the Gujarat election results," he said.
Mr Raut's remarks came as the Shiv Sena heaped praise on Rahul Gandhi, lauding the newly appointed Congress president for "fighting the Gujarat election battle without bothering about the result".
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party said that 47-year-old Rahul Gandhi had taken over the reins of the party at a crucial stage. "Rahul Gandhi has accepted the responsibility as Congress president at a crucial stage. There should be no objection in wishing him all the best," said an editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
The BJP retained power in Gujarat yesterday, securing a simple majority in the 182-member Assembly.