NEW DELHI: The Congress-led UPA is all set to retain power at the Centre putting up an impressive performance in states like Andhra Pradesh and UPA leads in Lok Sabha elections. (Reyters Photo) Tamil Nadu to overwhelm the BJP-led NDA.
The UPA alliance has won in 263 constituencies with Congress alone leading in 198 seats. The ruling Front is just short of a little less 20 seats for the magic figure of 272 in the 543-member Lok Sabha. The NDA has won 154 seats seats.
The Congress exulted over its victory saying it as a vindication of its policies.
Manmohan Singh will be the first Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after a full five-year term with the Congress having nominated him as its candidate for the top post, first time it had done in its history.
The Congress performance was spectacular in Kerala where it routed the Left Front and dealt a severe blow to the Marxists in West Bengal with help from ally Trinamool Congress.
It also swept Delhi, did exceedingly well in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and more than doubled its tally in UP leading in 20 of the 80 seats there.
The BJP has conceded defeat and said the party had performed below expectation and the mandate of the people was in favour of the Congress-led UPA alliance. "It has become clear that Congress and the alliance led by it has emerged as the largest coalition...though there was no clear majority," BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley told reporters here.
Putting up a brave face, Jaitley said the BJP honoured the mandate of the people with "due respect".
Commenting on performance of the party, he said "we performed well in some places but we performed below expectation in some other states.
"It is a collective failure," he said but made it clear that there would be no change in party’s ideology.
Jaitley said the BJP had run a positive campaign during the electioneering.
The BJP has put up a good showing in Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The party was leading in 18 of the 28 seats in Karnataka, 19 out of the 29 seats in MP and 15 out of 26 in Gujarat.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli), her son Rahul Gandhi (Amethi), External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee(Jangipur), Industry Minister Kamal Nath (Chhindwara), Veerappa Moily (Chikaballapur), Jyotiraditya Scindia (Guna) were among the prominent party candidates leading. Sachin Pilot (Ajmer) has won.
BJP leader L K Advani (Gandhinagar), party president Rajnath Singh (Ghaziabad), Yashwant Sinha (Hazaribagh), Jaswant Singh (Darjeeling), Sushma Swaraj (Vidisha) and Varun Gandhi (Pilibhit) were leading while his mother Maneka Gandhi has lost from Aonla.
Other prominent leaders who were ahead were Sharad Pawar (Madha), Mulayam Singh Yadav in Mainpuri, Lalu Yadav (Pataliputra and Saran), Kalyan Singh (Etah), Ajit Singh (Baghpat), Sharad Yadav (Madhepura) and Mamata Bannerjee (Kolkata South). LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan has lost from Hajipur.
Praja Rajyam Party chief Chiranjeevi has won from Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
Surprisingly, the Congress ally DMK put up a good showing leading in 18 of the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu while AIADMK, which had no member in the outgoing House, was ahead in nine seats.
The Congress was leading in eight seats but its stalwart P Chidambaram lost from Sivaganga. Mani Shankar Aiyar was trailing in Mayiladuthurai.
DMK candidates M K Azhagiri, son of chief minister M Karunanidhi has won from Madurai and Dayanidhi Maran was leading Chennai South while Union Minister T R Baalu was trailing in Sriperumbudur. MDMK leader Vaiko was trailing in Sivakasi.
Congress reaffirmed Manmohan Singh will be the Prime Minister now and Rahul Gandhi its future prime minister.
This election Manmohan Singh is our prime ministerial candidate, AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters here.
The prime minister’s chair is Rahul Gandhi’s future as he is the future leader of the party, Dwivedi said.
He said there were three decisive factors for party’s good performance - leadership of the government by the Prime Minister, leadership of UPA by Sonia Gandhi and leadership of campaign by Rahul.
Dwivedi’s remarks come at a time when UPA appeared all set to return to power.
On the issue of alliances, Dwivedi said Left parties also have very little options and will also introspect in the post election scenario. "We had not broken the relationship, they had withdrawn support," he said.
The Left parties had withdrawn support to the Congress-led UPA government following differences over the Indo-US nuclear deal. (Courtesy Times of India)