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Team A skirts unsavoury facts

New Delhi, March 6: Team Anna may have been left red-faced by a poll-related faux pas this week, but it has not stopped it from claiming today’s results as a victory.

Reports from the ground, though, suggest the group’s campaign had little impact.

On March 3 morning, Arvind Kejriwal had been accosted by reporters as he prepared to fly to Goa from Delhi airport instead of lining up at a booth to cast his vote.

Asked why he was not practising what his group had been preaching for nearly a year, Team Anna’s chief strategist returned to Ghaziabad to vote. But he was in for more embarrassment when he realised he had failed to ensure his name was on the rolls.

Still, the group today claimed credit for the Uttar Pradesh results, Kiran Bedi suggesting the Congress’s opposition to an effective Lokpal bill had cost it at the booths.

Bedi claimed that when the Congress began using its power “to discredit” the anti-corruption movement, it put its own grassroots workers on the defensive. “Congress appeared to be suffering today ‘also’ because it was blatantly against effective Lokpal bill. And still is!” she tweeted.

“Had national parties focussed on rampant corruption, providing strong Lokayukta, people would have rewarded them. No one did! All had skeletons.”

Bedi further tweeted: “Recall Badals, BJP, Left parties came to Jantar Mantar and publicly committed for independent-effective Lokpal and Lokayukta. Congress did not.”

She seemed to have forgotten that the bitterest critic of the Lokpal bill in the Lok Sabha was Mulayam Singh Yadav, the biggest victor of these polls.

Team Anna, though, has so far not commented on Uttarakhand, where an expected Congress win turned into a photo-finish. What would gall the group is that its hero, chief minister B.C. Khanduri, whom it had feted for shepherding a Lokayukta law that it said was the closest to the “Jan Lokpal bill”, lost his seat.

Team Anna’s campaigners had reserved most of their energy for Uttarakhand. However, the Congress has emerged the largest single party there and will get the first shot at government formation.

Although the Congress has lost in Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal gained only in the rural areas and not the cities, where Team Anna had campaigned. The BJP, which contested mostly in urban areas, slipped from 19 to 12 seats, with the Congress wresting some of its seats.

Psephologist Yogendra Yadav said surveys by his team had shown that while Team Anna’s campaign may not have had much electoral impact, it did create an atmosphere where the Congress was perceived not to have reacted suitably to the public anger against corruption.