As results poured in from Gujarat, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said the Congress was a winner there also as it has been able to contain the BJP in the state.
"Congress has won in Himachal Pradesh. In Gujarat too, I think Congress is a winner. Congress has gained several seats and BJP has been contained, the last numbers that I saw, (it was) below 117. If the BJP does not cross 117 and Congress has improved its tally, Congress is a clear winner in Gujarat too," he told reporters here.
On the victory of BJP in the polls, he said, "That was expected. The Government and the bureaucracy there has a stranglehold over the system. That is a general perception there."
"The important point is that the kind of sweeping victory was being predicted is not there. The fact is BJP has been contained below the number it had last time and Congress has improved its tally, even if marginally, it shows that the exaggerated claims made by the BJP are not correct," the Finance Minister said.
On suggestions that the results in Gujarat could be an indicator for the 2014 general elections, Chidambaram said, "We are not thinking on the lines of the 2014 elections. That is still some 16 months away".
On the Gujarat poll outcome, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said the verdict has shown that people who were against Modi are against him and those with him are with him.
"Both Shakti (Singh Gohil) and Arjun (Modvadia) have not produced the kind of results which we had hoped. We will certainly look into this," he said.