Gujarat poll: PM , Shah mount attack on Cong for ‘ignoring growth and security’


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah on Monday raised the pitch in election-bound Gujarat by intensifying their attack on the Congress over a range of issues, and urged voters to re-elect the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.

Modi took a dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, and Shah attacked the opposition party for allegedly compromising with development and national security during their rule at the Centre.

Elections to the 182-member Gujarat assembly will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5, respectively. The results will be announced on December 8.

Addressing a gathering in Surendranagar town, Modi took a swipe at Gandhi’s nationwide rally, saying people who were dethroned long back were taking out yatra to get back power.

He also alleged that instead of talking about development, the Congress was saying it will show him his “aukat” (status).

“Some people are doing foot march to get back to power. They are also taking along those who had stalled the Narmada project for 40 years through litigation and kept Gujarat thirsty for 40 years,” he said, referring to the Narmada Bachao Andolan spearheaded by activist Medha Patkar, who took part in the Congress rally in Maharashtra on Saturday.

“In this election, the people of Gujarat will punish those who are doing this padyatra. People will also punish those who were against the Narmada project,” he said, without taking any names.

The PM also hit out at the opposition party for attacking him.

“Now, the Congress does not talk about development during elections. Instead, Congress leaders are saying they will show Modi his ‘aukat’ (status). Just look at their arrogance. They, indeed, belong to a royal family, while I am merely a servant having no ‘aukat’,” he said.

“In the past, the Congress used words like neech aadmi (vile man), maut ka saudagar (merchant of death) and naali ka keeda (an insect) for me. I urge you to talk about development instead of playing this game of aukat,” he said, adding that he swallowed such insults because his focus is to make India a developed nation.

At another rally, in Jambusar, the PM praised the “double-engine government” – a reference to the BJP being in power both at the Centre and in the state. He also said that Congress leaders remained oblivious to tribespeople for a very long time. “Tribals did so many things for this country. But, Congress leaders never knew that Adivasis exist,” he said.

In Navsari town, Modi said no one had imagined Gujarat could become the top state as it faced droughts and other issues but the people ensured the turnaround by electing BJP and rejecting false propaganda.

“Gujarat could become number one because the people voted as per their wisdom and elected the BJP without falling prey to any false propaganda or lucrative promises,” he said.

Shah, who addressed three rallies, also targeted the Congress for allegedly spreading communal disharmony in the state and urged voters to re-elect the BJP.

Addressing a gathering at Jamkhambhalia in Dwarka, Shah accused the Congress of stalling development projects in the state. “During Congress’s rule in the state, the industries here were dying. But after the BJP came to power, they were resurrected,” he said.

He also hit out at the opposition party for allegedly compromising with the nation’s security.

“After the abrogation of Article 370 [giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir] by Narendra Modi, there has been peace in the region. Before that, during the 10 years of Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan Singh government, any “Alia Maliya or Jamalia’ from Pakistan used to enter our borders and behead our soldiers and ‘Mauni Baba’ did not utter a word,” he said, in an indirect reference to former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Shah hit out at the Congress for allegedly raising doubts over the timely completion of the Ram Temple project in Ayodhya.

Shah also alleged Gujarat was hit by communal violence during Congress rule.

“During Congress’s rule, out of 365 days, around 250 days were spent in curfews and hundreds of bodies were received. During Congress’s time, the entire coastal belt of Saurashtra was flourishing with smuggling,” he said.

Hitting back, Manish Doshi, the Congress spokesperson, said: “The way our prime minister is speaking, he cannot speak about the 27 years of misgovernance in the state, he does not speak about the high price rise and inflation… Gujarat is majorly a business community and who are devastated by the badly implemented GST, our PM doesn’t speak about that. Before 2014, our PM was an expert on rupees’ depreciation against dollar, now he is mum on the subject. I think our PM should spend some time to listen to his own videos before 2014 and try to answer those very same questions he asked the than PM.”

On Shah’s remarks, he said: “This is the only government in the state where so many internet curfews have been imposed. why is there so much fear in the state? the government’s NCRB data provides Gujarat has become the hub for drugs, liquor with so many seizures.”

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