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National
By-poll results: Modi government’s ‘honeymoon period’ is over, says Congress
17-09-2014

New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday termed the results of Assembly bypolls, in which BJP suffered major reverses, as ‘good omen’ for the secular forces and said it should ring alarm bells in the saffron party as people have rejected the ‘politics of polarisation.’

Saying that “Modi’s honeymoon period with the people was over”, party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed sought to portray the verdict in Uttar Pradesh, where BJP could win only three of 11 assembly seats while rest going to SP, as “the vote against BJP more than in favour of any party.”

He, at the same time, acknowledged that Congress could not perform as per its expectations in the Hindi state by not winning a single seat, but reminded that in the Lok Sabha elections too, it had won only in two of the 80 Parliamentary constituencies.

Ahmed claimed that anti-incumbency factor has set in within 100 days of Modi government coming to power. “People did not like the attitude of BJP and Modi government. While the Prime Minister himself kept silent, BJP leaders and ministers in the Modi government played the politics of polarisation with their statements. People of Uttar Pradesh have rejected BJP’s politics of hate mongering.

“This is perhaps first government, whose anti-incumbency had begun within 100 days of coming to power...Alarm bells are ringing for the BJP. This is a good omen for secular forces that people have started rejecting them,” Ahmed said.

He, however, noted that Congress' gains in Gujarat and Rajasthan were significant as in the Lok Sabha polls it had drawn a blank in both states. Terming the results as a “morale booster” for Congress, Ahmed, who is AICC general secretary in-charge for poll bound Haryana said, “Now we will try to improve our performance.”

Turning to Uttar Pradesh, the Congress spokesman alleged that ‘full authority’ had been given to people who were responsible for inciting riots in the state. “Leave aside caste, creed and religion, these communal forces were acting as triggers to incite fight between husband and wife,” he said, in an obvious reference to BJP raking up the issue of ‘Love Jihad’, the alleged forcible conversion of Hindu girls through marriage.

Ahmed alleged that the BJP wanted to pit communities against each other under a well-planned conspiracy and had they succeeded, this could have led to race among others to try the method to gain power.

Reeling out figures, the Congress spokesperson said ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, bypolls have been held in 54 Assembly constituencies. Of these BJP had lead in 42, but it now has come down to 21.

“Not only this, the 33 seats on which elections results were declared today, the BJP has lost on 13 of the 26 seats it had won. They have in half of these seats...It indicates Modi (government's) honeymoon period with people was getting over.

“Through the results, people have made clear that they do not agree with the policies of this government,” he said. Ahmed, at the same time, sounded a word of caution saying the elections have been held this time on only a few seats and hence “it cannot be said that the BJP is finished.”

The Congress reaction came on a day when the BJP was dealt a major blow in the Assembly by-elections in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, which it had swept in the Lok Sabha polls four months ago.

Buoyed by the bypoll verdict, Congress today had a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that within 100 days of his rule, people have started voting for a ‘Modi-free India.’

Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi also said on Twitter that BJP chief Amit Shah may have to apply for a new job in the party in the wake of the electoral reverses.