NEW DELHI, March 6 � Mulayam Singh Yadav�s Samajwadi Party today swept to power jolting Congress party and the BJP in UP Assembly polls, the results of which are a setback to Rahul Gandhi, who acknowledged the �defeat�, reports PTI.
In a surprisingly comfortable win, the Akali-BJP combine retained power in Punjab, Congress lost Goa to BJP but retained Manipur while the result of Uttarakhand Assembly polls was uncertain with Congress and BJP in a neck and neck race in the results of five Assembly elections.
SP dethroned BSP leader Mayawati by getting an absolute majority by comfortably crossing the required 202-mark in the 403 member House. Mayawati was relegated to the second position ending up close to 80 seats.
The Congress, which was hoping to do well after Rahul Gandhi�s extensive campaigning in 207 constituencies, improved its previous tally of 22 seats by winning 24 seats and was leading in another four. The BJP, which had 51 seats, has won 43 and was ahead in four more.
Gandhi was quick to acknowledge the defeat and owned responsibility for the party�s dismal performance which he termed as a �very good lesson� for him.
�I own the responsibility for this. This is one of my defeats and I take it in my stride,� he told reporters here.
There was good news though for the Congress from Manipur where it created history by capturing power for the third successive term with a clear majority in the 60-member Assembly.
The Congress lost power in the 40-member Goa Assembly by winning only 9 seats against 21 by the BJP.
BJP, which was exulting in the morning when initial trends showed it in the second place in UP, piped down later to admit that it had not done well in the key state.
The party also lost seven seats in Punjab by winning only 12 against 19 in 2007 but was back in power riding piggyback on a strong performance by the Akali Dal, which won 56 to gain an absolute majority in the 117-member House. Congress won 46.
BJP was also struggling to retain power in Uttarakhand but Congress was ahead by one seat at 32 in the 70-member Assembly with votes still being counted. Its Chief Minister B C Khanduri lost his own seat.