Admitting that the BJP's electoral strategy had backfired, its senior leader Pramod Mahajan said, "The Congress has learnt the lesson of the BJP." He credited the Congress for using the BJP's strategy in forging alliances with regional parties after its defeat in the assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan six months ago. As a result, he said, it had emerged a winner in the Lok Sabha poll.
"I think they exactly followed the same strategy of the BJP to consolidate the coalition and give scope to the regional parties," Mahajan said.
He said the Congress went for alliances with the TRS in Andhra Pradesh and with the Dravidian parties in the other southern states.
In Bihar, it agreed to a pre-poll pact with the RJD and the Lok Janshakthi Party taking only four of 40 available seats.
It tried its level best in Uttar Pradesh but could not cobble together an alliance. It also tried for an alliance with Sharad Pawar's NCP.
The BJP was in trouble when it lost 60 seats in just two states -- Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu -- he said.
With the party performing badly in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh as well, "there are no chances [of forming the government at the Centre]," he added.
In fact, he said the NDA had expected 250 seats. "We never thought that we will not be the single largest party or the single largest coalition," he added.
Referring to BJP's dialogue with the NCP, he said, "We could not give the seats he [Sharad Pawar] wanted. The problem was not with the Lok Sabha elections but with the assembly polls."
Explaining why the MDMK parted ways with the NDA, Mahajan said MDMK leader Vaiko was one of Vajpayee's biggest supporters despite the fact that he was not part of the BJP. They fell out on the issue of POTA "when we could not protect him [Vaiko]... They might have come to the conclusion that, looking at the local politics, the NDA can't help," he said.
Referring to the setting up of the POTA review committee, he said if it had been set up earlier, the situation could have been different.