NEW DELHI: With most opinion and exit polls predicting a rout for the Congress in four states, the party has sought to shift the discourse from assembly polls to Lok Sabha elections citing past trends to buttress the point that provincial polls do not have a bearing on general elections.
"BJP should be cautious in celebrations, even if opinion and exit (O&E) polls are (r) true. We won all these 4 states in 1998, 1999. LS results were an eye opener for us," AICC general secretary in-charge for Delhi Shakeel Ahmed said on Twitter.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA had come to power in 1999 even as Congress had won assembly polls in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh prior to it.
Exit polls have predicted rout for Congress in the assembly polls to Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh when counting of votes takes place on Sunday.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh has also been maintaining that the results of assembly elections do not have any bearing on Lok Sabha polls and that "it does not take time for the situation to change".
Speaking at a media conclave on Thursday, he also cited the case of his own state Madhya Pradesh, where Congress had lost in the 1998 parliamentary polls but won the assembly elections.
Taking the argument further, Ahmed has tweeted that this had happened not only in 1998 and 1999. "...In 2003 also, the BJP won MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan but lost Lok Sabha elections of 2004."
At another media summit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on Friday asserted that the party would approach the 2014 Lok Sabha polls with self-confidence, irrespective of the results of the just-concluded elections in five states.
"Congress party is going to the elections with the spirit of self-confidence and that should not be mistaken whatever may be the outcome of the provincial elections," Singh had said.