New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel feels the difference between victory and loss for Congress in Gujarat was booth level work – whereas BJP had an effective management and strategy, Congress was found to be lacking here.
Patel, a close aide of Sonia Gandhi and key strategist for the party, said Rahul Gandhi had created a euphoria with his campaign, and was even getting more response than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the ground level workers failed to convert it into votes.
“We could have won seven or eight more seats if we had taken a little more care as the people of Gujarat were tired of BJP. There were so unhappy, and hence, wanted to defeat the BJP,” he said.
Looking back at the campaign, he said there were multiple factors for the loss of Congress. The biggest, for Patel, was the alliances Congress stitched for the election. Without naming anyone, he said the party should have been more careful about the negotiations on seat allocation with the alliance partners.
“At times, our candidates were better than candidates fielded by our partners,” he said.
But Patel remained positive of Rahul’s influence and said the Congress president had worked very hard. “It was not Rahul's job to urge people to vote on polling days. He did whatever he could,” he said, adding that the problem was that while the BJP used the Centre’s and state’s machinery properly, it was a minus point for Congress.
On the controversy surrounding Rahul’s frequent temple hopping, Patel said he had visited on the request of people. He also denied rumours of him being sidelined and said he was not ignored. “Rahul Gandhi kept insisting that I travel with him,” he said.