'BJP's attempts to divide have been defeated'

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, BJP leaders and other react to Congress' alliance victory in Jharkhand

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi. (PTI Photo)

With the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance set to form the government in Jharkhand, several opposition parties on Monday linked the mandate to the CAA and the NRC, saying people have demolished "arrogance" of the BJP, which attributed its defeat to local issues and "internal strife" in the state.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's working president Hemant Soren, the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance, said with the electoral mandate, a new chapter begins which will prove to be a milestone.

Speaking to the media, he said the opposition partners will meet to chalk out the strategy for the future.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance's victory in the Jharkhand Assembly polls was of "extreme contemporary importance" and asserted that the people have defeated the BJP's attempts to divide the society on caste and religious lines.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi congratulated the party, its coalition partners and workers on the decisive victory of the alliance in Jharkhand, while party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the people want to hear from the government on employment, bread, water, forest, land, farming and trade, but the BJP tried its best to "divide the people to hide its failed politics".

"Today the public's answer has come. Congratulations to all the members of the grand alliance. Congratulations to Hemant Soren. Congratulations and love to the Congress workers," she said in a tweet in Hindi.

Meanwhile, outgoing Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das took responsibility for the electoral verdict, saying it was his defeat and not of the BJP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Soren for the victory and extended his best wishes to the alliance while BJP president Amit Shah said his party respects the mandate of voters and also expressed his gratitude to the people of Jharkhand for giving the BJP a chance to govern the state for five years.

In his tweets after the BJP lost power in the state, Modi said his party would continue serving it and raising people-centric issues.

With the polls outcome clearly giving a majority for the Soren-led alliance, Congress leader P Chidambaram said the BJP is not unbeatable and urged opposition parties to join forces against the ruling saffron party.

Congratulating Soren, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said people have faith that he would fulfil their aspirations.

Banerjee also said that elections were held amid protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed countrywide NRC, and extended good wishes to the "brothers and sisters" of the neighbouring state for voting in favour of the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance.

The Sharad Pawar-led NCP said people of Jharkhand have demolished the "arrogance" of Modi and the saffron party president Shah.

The Shiv Sena, which recently severed ties with the BJP, said the Jharkhand polls have shown that people are not buying the saffron party's politics based on sentimental issues like the National Register of Citizens.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Jharkhand results appeared to be a verdict against the NRC and the CAA, and reflected the public reaction to the "arrogance" of the BJP visible across the country.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo also said the BJP leaders have "aggressively" campaigned in the last two phases of the Jharkhand Assembly polls, raising the issues related to the CAA and the NRC.

"Inability of local leadership to convince the electorate for repeat of the mandate and internal strife within the party also appeared to have a significant fall out. A detailed analysis will be done," he said.

BJP's face in the state Das faced a challenge from his former cabinet and party colleague Saryu Roy, who left the party after being denied ticket from Jamshedpur (West) seat. Roy contested the poll from the Jamshedpur (East), a seat held by Das five times, as an Independent and was leading by a huge margin.

"We have seen that local elections are increasingly influenced by the performance of the local government and local factors," Rao said, referring to recent assembly polls in Haryana and Maharashtra besides Jharkhand.

Asked about the impact of the CAA on Jharkhand elections, BJP vice president Shivraj Singh Chouhan said state elections are fought on different issues and rejected suggestions that the Jharkhand elections was a litmus test for the Act.

Congress General Secretary in-charge for Organization K C Venugopal said the results were a "substantive and clear mandate against divisive and disruptive political actions" of PM Modi and BJP.

The people of Jharkhand have rejected the anti-people and anti-constitutional policies of the BJP, he said in a statement.

Instead of talking about development in respective states or issues of common people, the BJP and PM Modi were trying to fool the people by their narrow minded divisive political actions and sectarian agenda, he alleged, adding that people of Jharkhand have given a befitting reply to them.

The AICC in-charge for Jharkhand, RPN Singh, said, "PM Modi and Union Home Minister Shah tried to divert the attention of people away from fundamental issues but people did not get swayed."

Reiterating that Soren of JMM will be the CM as declared earlier, Singh said Jharkhand results are a defeat of the BJP's "arrogance and diversionary tactics".

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