Victory in state boosts Cong confidence

Byelection: Party says number two position in Delhi augurs well

Victory in state boosts Cong confidence

The twin bypoll victories in Karnataka have given Rahul Gandhi a confidence boost on resurgence of the Congress and taking on an aggressive Narendra Modi-led BJP.

Congress sources said the party candidate finishing second in the Assembly bypoll in Delhi's Rajouri Garden too has raised hopes of putting up a better performance in the next week’s civic polls, where the fledgling AAP is hoping to make inroads.

Congress leaders believed that the defeat of party renegade Srinivas Prasad from Nanjangud would send across a message to disgruntled leaders that crossing over to the BJP was not a ticket to victory. Congress also staved off a stiff challenge from the BJP to win Ater assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh that fell vacant after the death of Satyadev Katare, the Congress legislative party leader.

“Congratulations to all Congress workers, leaders and supporters on winning Ater, Gundlupet and Nanjangud bypolls,” Rahul said on Twitter after meeting party leaders involved in the election process.

“The by-election results have given us confidence to retain Karnataka when Assembly elections are held next year,” a senior leader said.

More than the three bypoll victories, it is the runners-up position in Delhi, where the ruling AAP candidate lost his deposit, that is acting as a true morale booster for the Congress. “It would have been difficult for us had we finished third in the Delhi bypoll,” a Congress leader said.

Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said the Delhi bypoll result signalled the resurgence of the party in the national capital. “Congress had received only 12% votes in the last Assembly elections, it has increased the vote share to 33% within two years,” he said.

Maken said the bypoll result had established that in the upcoming civic polls there would be a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP. “The old, traditional voter base (that was weaned away by the AAP) is now back with the party,” he said.

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