Karad: Despite a resounding win in the key constituency of South Karad in Satara district, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said he took full responsibility for the Congress defeat in Maharashtra.
“I take full responsibility, right from the election campaign to the final results,” he told The Hindu during his victory crawl-around through the township of Karad.
While acknowledging the impact of the Narendra Modi juggernaut, he refused to admit that the Congress had been decimated or there had been a Modi ‘wave’.
“We have held our own against any so-called ‘wave’. South Karad was indeed a tough fight, but we have triumphed. While I congratulate the BJP on their success, the Congress will work towards being a responsible and strong Opposition party,” remarked Mr. Chavan.
He refused to comment on post-poll equations, stating that the Congress was only concerned about its own performance. “There is no point in talking about past ruptured alliances or future ones. Let bygones be bygones,” he said, adding, “I do not wish to say anything about grapevine that feelers are being exchanged between the NCP and the BJP. I am not interested in the NCP’s affairs. We will be analyzing what went wrong with the Congress once I return to Mumbai.”
Mr. Chavan, who faced a particularly daunting opposition in seven-time MLA and rebel Congressman Vilas Patil Undalkar, beat his foe by a handsome margin of more than 16,000 votes. Since the collapse of their coalition with the Nationalist Congress Party, the former Chief Minister’s political prestige was at stake as he was contesting for the first time since his Lok Sabha defeat from Karad in 1999.
The seat, a traditional Congress bastion since Maharashtra’s inception in 1960, was fiercely contested with yet another renegade Congressmen Atul Bhosale posing a strong challenge to Mr. Chavan after he contested on a Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Chavan household, taught with nervous excitement since counting began, erupted into joyous celebrations as it became clear Mr. Chavan would comfortably win.
“The people of Karad have clearly indicated that they prefer the Congress ideology to that of any other party. They have voted for the development wrought here,” said an exhausted, but relieved Mr. Chavan. His victory provoked the ire of Mr. Undalkar’s supporters which led to minor incidents of stone pelting in the city. Mr. Chavan’s decision to step into the poll fray had angered the 76-year-old Mr. Patil, who fought as an Independent.