Shri Abhishek Manu Singhvi said as the campaign and the dust and din settles, the Congress party is happy and proud with full humility to have run a great campaign. We are proud and happy that we have kept within the boundaries of decency – decency of discourse. We are proud and happy that we have played the game according to the rules of the game. We are confident of victory but always mindful that the ultimate winner is the voter. We have added or at least maintained the luster of our democratic spirit and we are happy and satisfied that we have not detracted from it. We have fought fiercely and firmly but always fairly. We have never consciously or sub consciously hit below the belt and we believe that we have done a vigorous strong, sober campaign most importantly keeping in mind the constitutional spirit of the country, keeping in mind its ethos, its plurality and inclusiveness. All I can add with humility is that much what I said is more than you can say for some of our competitors but ultimately when we stick to these principles, in as divisive a campaign as this one, we all enhance India, Indian democracy and the Idea of India and I think that is the ultimate and that should be the ultimate object.
A word about these doomsayers and this flock of people who insist on never learning lessons of history and that is the word about these pollsters and these exit pollsters. You know our stand on it. We have clarified that just again yesterday from this platform but why I said that these are people who do not seem to learn the lessons of history and therefore are obviously condemned to repeat their error is the available figures published by you yourselves about what happened in 2004 - what happened in 2009. I have an innumerable example. I give you a brief set of examples - in 2004 e.g. when everything was shining and the last thing which anybody could imagine according to the pollsters was that the NDA or the BJP would lose, the projections were NDA 260 - 280, please go back, rewind to time, it is not the first time, you had this sight - the UPA was 165 to 180. I am not going to details how much to individuals, and the others were given from 94 to 117 and what was the actual result. The actual results were - NDA against 260-280 it got 189, UPA against 165-185, it got 222 and others around 132.
More interestingly in 2009, when for the first time the exactly the same Prime Ministerial campaign - the only difference was the first Prime Minister-in-Waiting was the Prime Ministerial candidate but the campaign was the same – personalized, Prime Ministerial, Presidential. Then the NDA was given 170 to 199, in respect of an incumbent UPA government, the NDA was given 170 to 199, the UPA was given 190 to 216 and the others were given 150 to 180. The actual figures were NDA 159, UPA 262 and others 79 and you know the 262 includes 206 of the Congress.
Now as I have said in 2004 from this podium and many of you were there with me then, those who try and capture the essence of Indian polity in exit or opinion polls on sample sizes of varying sizes deserve the noble prize for miniaturization for a country as diverse as India. The noble prize for miniaturization because you are the capturing the hearts and minds of over a Billion people or X billion voters on sample sizes of 10-20-or 50 or 90,000 or one lakh. That is the noble prize for miniaturization and that is the most diverse spot on earth that is India.
Therefore, I said that some point of time must come as I remind you and it came in 2004 when for almost two years several of you stopped having opinion/ exit polls. You stopped having the same. The channels officially stopped having it.
As I end, let me on behalf of the party, put on record our deep appreciation for the last ten years of UPA-I and UPA-II under the able stewardship of Dr. Manmohan Singh when we have carved out a trajectory and a path of clear inclusive growth stability and social harmony in this country. Dr. Singh's experienced and seasoned stewardship, his personal integrity and ability to lead the country through difficult times is noteworthy and India is proud to have earned so many laurels and respect during the ten years of his stewardship. The Congress party, therefore, extends gratitude and heartfelt thanks to the Hon'ble Prime Minister and his team for serving the nation and the party and we wish him Good Health and Happiness.
On the question is the PM retiring and are you going to make him a scapegoat, Shri Singhvi said I think my statement is clear and self evident. I am not going to answer the question because the Prime Minister provided you advance answer to your non question three months ago. As far as second part of the question is concerned, I don't know from where you are getting this great idea and adjectives when I have just put on record publicly before you a statement lauding, appreciating and expressing our heartfelt thanks. I think at some point of time we must learn of graceful even if it is the Media.
To another question on the modalities of the Prime Minister's exit, Shri Singhvi said this is not the first time that the election have been held in this country, this will not be the last. Let us wait, these are not the modalities which are to be discussed, these are matters of details which are decided at the appropriate time and appropriate manner.
On the question of the reaction of the Congress party on the exit polls given by a TV channel owned by one of the Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament of Congress party, Shri Singhvi said I think you have to put the question to those who are in the media. There is no question of bringing in names. As far as I know the opinion poll was conducted by an agency other than the channel. You have to ask either the channel or the poll or the pollster and not me.
To a question as to who should be given the credit for victory of the Congress or who should be held responsible for the reverses in the election results, Shri Singhvi said we are confident of coming back to power and we do not believe in speculation as you do it. Rest we will talk on 16th May.
To a related question that if the Congress party is so confident of coming back to power, then in that situation is there any other than the name of Shri Rahul Gandhi doing the rounds for the candidature of the Prime Minister, Shri Singhvi said certainly not.
To another question that the BJP and the Congress are on the same page while appreciating the Prime Minister in the back drop of the two books, Shri Singhvi said we have dealt with those books in front of you. If the BJP has to fall back upon books to make comment, I can only pity them. The record of the UPA-I and UPA-II under the able stewardship of Prime Minister and his team, supported by the party is there in black and white published figures, please talk of that, please don't talk of the subjective opinion of author 'A' or reader 'B'.
On the question that it is not just the exit polls or the opinion polls, the stock market is also rising, Shri Singhvi said for god sake let us not reduce the depth, the width and the great tradition and heritage of our democracy to what corporate think temporarily, sporadically episodically in knee jerk reactions. This has been discussed in 2004 and 2009. We neither feel elated when for your information the sensex zoomed in 2004 and 2009 and we certainly do not tom-tom it nor do we feel deflated when the same sensex on a small thing happening in Timbaktoo goes down. India's democracy is much deeper and wider than that and we are the world's largest democracy and we have elections. These are transient temporary things.
To another question that the suo moto statement of the spokesperson was like a farewell speech, Shri Singhvi said to be able to thank the voters, to be able to say how proud and happy we are to have run a good campaign certainly not a farewell speech is. It is expression of grace and perhaps you have not seen enough of it in other parties. So you are surprised when the Congress expresses that grace and let me tell you whether a UPA government comes next, a non-UPA government, it will always be farewell to the current government. You must know that farewells are meant to say good bye to the present dispensation, there is no contradiction that the next dispensation again will be UPA.
On the question of the reaction of the Congress party that there are two sets of opinion for the last few days in the party – one expressed by Shri Chidambaram and the second expressed by others, Shri Singhvi said I have two or three clear opinions. Every word you are saying is purely hypothetical and speculation. There is absolutely no doubt in our minds about the verdict but thirdly to answer only your hypothetical and speculation question, obviously we have been in opposition earlier and we have always believed in this purely hypothetical speculative situation which I have already qualified by saying that it should be constructive, stable and positive and cooperative and that applies to me, it applies to BJP, it applies to any other opposition. It is not about any particular system.