With exit polls predicting a victory for BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, Congress leaders Friday sought to shield party vice president Rahul Gandhi from any strong criticism of his campaign, saying that good and bad results were a collective responsibility.
They also sought to downplay his absence at the dinner hosted by party president Sonia Gandhi in hounour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday, saying that he had given prior intimation of his unavailability. Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said that Rahul Gandhi had led the party's campaign and toiled hard but results were dependent on several factors.
He said that factors such as candidate's image and work done by a party government affect poll results. "Whether it (the result) is good or bad, it will be collective responsibility," Ahmed told IANS. Another Congress leader, who did not want to be quoted, however said that speculation about Rahul Gandhi being shielded was "nonsense".
He said that the party did not believe in the veracity of opinion polls and exit polls which had written the party off in 2004 and 2009. "I still believe that the development in 10 years of Congress rule has reached the rural masses. While I would not say that the opinion polls are completely wrong, they are not taking into account that the rural population has benefited from schemes. The Congress provided inclusive growth for the first time," he said.
He said Congres was acceptable to almost every other party but that was not the case with BJP. He said that the party would take collective responsibility for results.