Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has kick-started the second phase of the election campaign in Gujarat, which will be holding the assembly elections in Dec this year. He began the campaign from Saurashtra a few day back.
The Congress has planned for a four-phase campaign in the poll-bound state, focusing on all sections of Gujarat. The campaign, along with luring the voters is also aiming at clearing the party’s image of anti-Hindutva. Therefore all the tour’s of the Congress Vice-President will also include visiting various temples in the state.
BJP has been ruling the state for 17 years, out of which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chie Minister of the state for 13 years. Modi being the national face of the party and the BJP being in rule for so many years have made the party a little confident of nailing down the elections this time also. However, looking at the recent developments in the state with the OBC, Dalits, Patidars and the Muslim getting a little dicey on supporting BJP, these elections may hold some different results.
The Congress leader wrapped up his first leg of the campaign, his three-day Navsarjan Yatra in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region. Significantly, just a day ahead of the second visit of Rahul, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also visited the state for two-days, inaugurating quite a number of projects and also visiting his hometown Vadnagar, for the first time, since he became the PM.
To this recent visit of Modi, the Congress had mocked that, how is it, that in three years, the Prime Minister suddenly remembered visiting his hometown just 2 months ahead of the assembly elections in Gujarat.
Rahul is on a three-day Yuva Rojgar Khedut Adhikaar Navsarjan Yatra from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, beginning from 9 Oct. During his visit, the Congress leader will be covering several districts in central region including Ahmedabad, Kheda, Anand, Vadodara, Chhota Udaipur, Dahod and Panchmahal, by bus.
While addressing a Jansabha at Khatraj on the first day of his visit, Rahul attacking the Prime Minister had said that Modi’s Gujarat model has failed. He said that the BJP government only talked and showed dreams but never fulfilled any of them. He also assured the gathering that if Congress comes to power in Gujarat, it will be the government of the people. It will not force its decision on them rather, perform every little task after consulting the people, he said.
Addressing the gathering he asked the people to question themselves that in the past years, since BJP has been ruling in the state, What have the minorities, the OBC, the poor and the farmers get from the ruling government in Gujarat. Attacking the BJP, Rahul said that in Gujarat it is all about money, if you money than you will get everything, good education, good healthcare, lands, jobs, business, everything, but you are you are poor nothing will be done for them. And this is the Gujarat Model of Narendra Modi, he mocked.
He Praised the achievements of the current Gujarat Congress party President and former Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot. He said that it was during the reign of Gehlot that medicines were made available for free in Rajasthan and the hospital doors were open for the poor and the same will be done in Gujarat if Congress comes to power.
During his speech, Rahul, taking a jibe at Modi said that the doors of Gujarat government are only open for few industrialists, but if Congress comes to power, this will not be the case. The Congress government will be for all the people, he said. He said that Gujarat is changing, the people are becoming more aware, the entire nation knows this and even Narendra Modi is well aware of this fact.
Hitting hard on the failure of Modi’s Gujarat model, Rahul said that people know the reality of the PM’s model and they also know about the model that was put up by Congress years back. Talking about the achievements of Congress while its reign in Gujarat, Rahul reminded the people that it was his party that established the state with the ‘White Revolution’ with the setting up of the Amul project in Gujarat and making it an example for all other states as well. He said that the Congress Gujarat model will be a model of the poor, the farmers and the minorities.
Criticising the Modi government over the failure of creating jobs, Rahul said that everyday 30,000 youth come out in the market in search of employment, out of which only 450 get the jobs. He said that an army of the unemployed is being created. He further added that the competition is with China, everything that is being sold is made in China, Around 50,000 people get employed in China on a daily basis, but in India, only 450 are hired. He questioned that why the issue of unemployment increasing day by day. Once again underlining extra favors to a few industrialists given by the ruling government, Rahul said that those industrialists are not going to provide job to anyone.
He also brought up the issue of farmers suicide, he said that the Modi government can extend help and favors to only few 10-15 industrialists. Giving data he said that last year the NDA government had waived off Rs 130 lakh crore of the industrialists. Advising the Modi government he said that instead of helping only a few the NDA should erase debts of farmers and small businessmen, then only they will benefit and progress.
The Congress leader also highlighted the fact that despite he new land acquisition act, the Modi government is forcefully taking away lands from the farmers, without giving them the compensation they deserve. He alleged that the Gujarat government has taken away 1000’s of acres of land from the people and gave them to the few favored industrialists.
Addressing the gathering Rahul also hit the BJP government saying that when it comes to asking votes, they talk about Dharam and religion, but when it comes to fulfilling the promises made they forget everything. He also brought up the recent matter of Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah. He said thatModi’s initiative of ‘Startup India’ and ‘Make in India’ have only benefited “one individual”.
He questioned that “What kind of a startup company is this? He (Jay) started with Rs 50,000 and now has Rs 80 crore. It seems ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’ was only for one person… Modi had said he did not want to be the PM, but a chowkidaar (guard) of this country. Where is this chowkidaar?” Repeating the slogans of Modi Rahul questioned that the Prime Minister had said that neither he will eat nor he will let anyone eat (na khaunga, na khane Dunga) than how come only one company benefited from his initiatives and that also only after 2014.
Taking a jibe at the Prime Minister’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ the Congress leader said that “Hum apko apne mann ki baat nahi batayenge, hum apki mann ki baat sunenge.”
According to the schedule, at the last address on the first day of his visit, while interacting with the traders in Vadodara, Rahul criticised Modi’s decision of GST and demonetization. He said that India’s structure is very complicated to bring in even small changes, let only big transformations. He said that any economic reform should be first tested and then take feedback from the people, before implementing it.
He further added that despite Congress suggesting the NDA government to take the GST slowly, they made a blunder of it. He said that This is a flawed GST, it’s not really GST. GST is supposed to be a single tax, not multiple tax slabs. Once again hitting the government in Vadodara also over unemployment, Rahul said that excuse won’t work. “if in 5-10 years India doesn’t employ 30,000-40,000 daily, then no one will be able to control the anger that’ll spread,” he said
Boasting about the thinking of his party Rahul underlined that any change should be brought in an evolutionary manner, nothing can be done overnight. This comment of Rahul was in response to Modi’s decision of demonetisation and making India a cashless economy. You want to make India cashless, then make policy changes. But forcibly making India cashless will only hurt Indians. A leader’s job is to look 5-10 years ahead, and not implement things forcibly that will make people cry, the Congress leader said.
He also recited the remark made by former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He said that “Vajpayee had said Rajiv Gandhi is insane when India started opening up to technology and computers. But his timing was right. You need a vision. Our system is designed to kill innovation. That is what the people are frustrated about.”
On the second day of his journey, the Congress Vice President, while addressing the gathering of students said that he holds a different ideology, he does not have the ideology of BJP and RSS. Commenting on BJP’s motive of a Congress-Mukt Bharat, he said that though he has a different ideology and he belongs to the Congress party, but he could never say that he wants to eradicate BJP from India.
Thanking the BJP he said that, by winning the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the party has helped him. He told, “In 2014 when we lost the general election, it was the best thing to have happened to me. The subsequent criticism, bashing, and all the attacks have opened my eyes. I have to thank the BJP for this.”
During his address, a girl attending the event brought up the issue of female discriminations. She said that during the time of Congress, the party had made free educations for the girls. SHe further added that Modi says, Beti Bachao, Beti padhao, but from where to save the girl child and from where to the education to a girl child.
Responding to this Rahul said that those are only hollow slogans made by the Prime Minister. He said that if the female enrollment ration in Gujarat is checked, the state is not even anywhere near the top 10 states in India. He further added that if Congress comes to power, its focus will be on strengthing and empowering women, like the time, they had done during the Amul revolution.
“If you run educational institutions for profit, then it will only benefit the owners and not students. The reason why IITs are successful is because they are not run for profits,” he said.
Rahul criticised the ideology of the BJP and RSS about women, he said that according to them as long as the female are quite it is fine, but if they raise their voice, they make sure that she is silenced. He alleged that the BJP is not interested in giving rights to the women. He further asked “why the RSS does not have a single woman member? What did they do to deserve exclusion?”
Responding to a query of his thoughts on the safety of journalists in India, Rahul said that “The Congress and I believe that you have a right to criticise anyone. It is a fundamental right to criticise whoever one wants to. I don’t believe in suppression of any kind.” This question was put up in regards to the recent murder of the activists and Journalist Gauri Lankesh.
He continued his address, giving in data about the ruling government in Gujarat. He said that when the BJP in Gujarat had begun, the debt of the state was 6000 crore and if analyzed today, Gujarat in under the debt of 2 lakh crore. He further added that the question should be put up that out of this 2 lakh crores, how much was invested in the field of educations, in schools and universities.
Further addressing the issue of unemployment, after listening to an incident of a Dr. who paid Rs 4 lakh as donation to get admission in the college and plus Rs 4.5 lakh as his fee, Rahul said that if jobs need to be created in Gujarat, the small and medium industries should be boosted and the entrepreneur skill of the youth of Gujarat need be energised once again.
Responding to a question on why the people and especially the youth should vote for Congress, Rahul said that the central problem today in India is regarding the youth and the unemployment. Highlighting the achievements of the UPA government, he said that if the data is compared the Congress’s record is significantly far better than that of the BJP. He further added that BJP as of the current situation has wiped out the Indian economy, demonetisation and a badly implemented GST has blown the economy apart.
The Congress leader added that firstly, India’s economy has to be brought back on the track and secondly, the country needs to single-mindedly focus on competing with China at producing jobs in India. Answering the query he said that the Congress party has done it in the past also and knows how to do it and that is the reason you should vote for Congress.
Concluding the speech he said that if the Congress comes to power in Gujarat, the government will not be just the government of 3-4 industrialist, it will be a government where everybody feels included.
Addressing a gathering in Karjan on 10 Oct, once again asked how “Rs 50,000 turned into Rs 80 crores within a few months”. He questioned that “Why is PM Modi silent when there has been a theft? It seems now it is Amit Shah ke bete ko bacchao.” Here also he attacked the Modi government over demonetisation saying that it looted the people of India, only benefitting a few industrialists. He concluded his speech with “Congress aveche” (Congress is coming).
Rahul also met and interacted with the workers of the Anganwadi.
Rahul throughout his campaigning, while addressing the gathering, more than once recited the slogan that is going viral on the social media ‘Vikas gando thayo chhe’ (development has gone crazy).
Since the campaign is also targeted at cleaning the Congress’s image as an anti-Hindutva party, Rahul will also be visiting some more temples in the state during his three-day tour.
According to the planned scheduled of the Congress leader, he will also meet the families displaced by Narmada dam construction in Gamdi and Palasani villages of Chhota Udaipur, following which he will hold a public meeting in Bodeli, Chhota Udaipur.