Rahul’s remark that Congress has done “pretty badly” was seen as grossly inadequate, given the scale of the defeat which saw the party failing to open its account in 10 states and touch double digits in any. In contrast to his somber-looking mother, Rahul stood with a wide grin and said, “Congress has done pretty badly and there is a lot for us to think about. As party vice-president, I hold myself responsible.”
Sonia, too, accepted responsibility for the defeat. She said, “The results are before us. We fought the rivals with our achievements, policies and principles but did not get the expected support. We feel victory and defeat are part of democracy. This mandate is clearly against us. We humbly accept the people’s mandate and respect it.”
But Sonia tried to emphasize Congress’s relevance by warning that the new government should not “compromise on India’s social unity and national interests”.
Significantly, Sonia and Rahul complimented the “new government” without naming either PM-designate Modi or BJP.
As the brief statements were delivered, Rahul looked ready to take questions from journalists but Sonia quickly gestured at him to walk away, leaving behind a bevy of pleading newspersons.
There was very little the Congress could do right in these Lok Sabha elections, putting up a sorry show across the country, perhaps the worst in the party’s hoary history. It is also the first time that a ruling party has failed to muster 54 MPs — 10% of LS seats — to be eligible for the post of leader of opposition.
Given the capitulation, after Rahul’s dubbing of party performance as “pretty bad”, Sonia’s tame description of the BJP win as a “mandate against us” appeared a gross understatement, their grim statements geared towards retaining the party’s relevance in the “secular” firmament amid the debris of defeat.
That the Congress chief chose to issue a warning to BJP about “social unity” and “national interests” on the rival’s big day was strategic. Observers saw it as a canny bid to reiterate the “secular” fears about Modi who carries the 2002 taint and which formed the party’s key plank against the BJP’s PM candidate.
Also, the refusal to name Modi or BJP in the congratulatory message, at the cost of appearing graceless in defeat, was designed to send out a message that Congress was in no mood to go soft on its biggest enemy, a man with whom it shares bad blood at a personal level. The cold response despite the massive defeat showed that BJP would have faced a gridlock in Parliament had it not managed to win majority in the LS. It, at once, shows that despite a majority in LS, Modi will have to seek out allies among regional parties to tide over the numerical deficit in the upper House.
Source Article from http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/lok-sabha-elections-2014/news/BJP-aandhi-flattens-clan-Gandhi-voter-wrath-reduces-Congress-to-half-its-previous-worst/articleshow/35225633.cms