Other than campaigning for his own constituency, Amethi, it was rare for the Congress leader to personally take charge of the election campaigns. But as it can be seen for the Gujarat and Himachal assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi has not only handled the election campaigning personally but also made sure that no loopholes are left.
The party is trying very hard to keep its existence in the quickly changing political scenario, and there can be no better opportunity for the party to prove itself than, winning the Gujarat assembly polls.
On the first day of his journey, the Congress leader began the campaigning by offering prayers at the famed Somnath Temple and held rallies and meetings in districts of Gir Somnath, Amreli & Bhavnagar. His visit to the Somnath Temple, however, raised a controversy, regarding the religion of the Gandhi family. A core member of the party by mistake entered Rahul Gandhi’s name in the non-Hindu visitor’s register. This gave a major reason to BJP to raise questions against the Congress Vice President and his religion.
On the second day of the campaigning, Rahul is scheduled to visit, the temple of Gopinath Ji, Lathi, Botad, Vallabhipur, and Bhavnagar. Rahul on the first day had said that during the campaigning ahead of the assembly polls in Gujarat, he will be raising a question to Prime Minister Narendra Modi every day regarding the 22 years of ‘mis-governance’ in Gujarat.
Responding to this announcement of Rahul, Congress spokesperson Deependra Singh Hooda said that “We expect the Prime Minister and BJP to find the time and answer the questions asked to them by Rahul Gandhi. The BJP is working for the super rich and middlemen. The party’s (BJP) economic policy was at the cost of the poor.”
On the first day, Rahul had questioned Narendra Modi about his promise of providing 50 lakh new houses in Gujarat. Addressing the rallies, Rahul asked, “2012 mein vaada kia ki 50 lakh naye ghar denge. 5 saal mein banaye 4.72 lakh ghar. PM ji batayye ki kya yeh vaada poora hone mein 45 sale aur lagenge (In 2013, they promised to build 50 lakh houses. But they made 4.72 lakh. Will it take 45 more years to fulfill this promise?).”
On the second day, Rahul put up a question regarding the rising debt on Gujarat. He asked that “Gujarat ke haalat par pradhanmantri ji se dusra sawal. 1995 mein Gujarat par karz Rs 9, 183 crore. 2017 mein Gujarat par karz Rs 2,41,000 crore. Yani har Gujarati par Rs 37, 000 karz(Here’s another question on Gujarat’s condition. In 1995, the state had a debt of Rs 9,183 crore. In 2017, it increased to Rs 2,41,000 crore. Which means a debt of Rs 37,000 on every Gujarati).”
He also asked the Prime Minister that why should the people of Gujarat pay for Modi’s financial mismanagement and publicity? “Aapke vittiye kuprabandhan va publicity ki saza Gujarat ki janta kyun chukaye? (Why should Gujarat pay for your financial mismanagement and publicity?),” he asked.
The Congress leader also met and interacted with the delegation of traders in Amreli and listened to the issues faced by them.
— Congress (@INCIndia) November 30, 2017
While addressing the rally in Visvadar, which is a Patidar dominated constituency, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday also highlighted the Patidars quota agitation of 2015 in which 14 members of the Patidar community were killed in police firing. In wake of this incident, Rahul took a dig at Narendra Modi and BJP saying that if anyone raises its voice in Gujarat, he is either beaten or is killed in police firing.
“All the communities are raising their voice here against the government. But what do you get if you raise your voice in Gujarat? You are beaten up, you have to face bullets,” Gandhi said.
The Congress leader also attacked the Prime Minister, while addressing a rally at Savarkundla on the emotional front. He said that Narendra Modi is an even better actor that Amitabh Bachchan, as the actors had to put lenses to cry, but Modi can shed tears without wearing any lenses.
Gandhi said, “You will see how tears again flow from the eyes of this actor 2-3 days before the elections. He will talk about everything but will not utter a word regarding how much price farmers receive for their produce in Gujarat, loan waiver, or how to convert black money into white.”
Addressing the rally in Lathi, the Congress leader once again brought up the issues of demonetizations and the flawed implementation of GST. During the speech in Lathi, he said that “Modi did not like Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes so he banned them… Did you see BMW owners in the serpentine lines? These rich people were converting their black money into white. It was only a plan to help the rich. Over 100 died but did it you get your promised Rs 15 lakh?”
Further attacking the bJP for ruling in Gujarat for 22 years bt doing nothing for the people, the Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said that everything in Gujarat is privatized. He raised a question, to which he got an affirmative response, he asked that “He says he killed corruption through note ban.Can anything happen in Gujarat without bribing people?.”
Appealing for the votes, Rahul Gandhi claimed that what the BJP government could not do in 22 years, if voted to power, the Congress will do it in 10 days. He also promised to waive off the farmer’s loan in 10 of coming to power.
Concluding his speech in Lathi, Rahul once again alleged the Prime Minister for delaying the winter session of the Parliament and said that unlike Modi, the Congress will listen to the people of Gujarat. Modi does not want the Parliament to run as he does not want to discuss Jay Shah and Rafael deal,” Rahul Gandhi said.
While addressing the gathering he also underlined another fact saying that it was for the first time that he was witnessing, people from all communities coming to the front to stand against the ruling government. “For the first time, I see people from every community coming on the streets to confront the government. The only people who are not doing so are the rich businessmen who fly private jets,” Rahul said.
During his speech in Dhasa, in a scathing attack on Modi for waiving off the loans of rich industrialists and ignoring the poor, the Congress Vice President said that “There is a problem of farmer suicide everywhere. When there is loan burden, these farmers are forced to commit suicide. When they have a debt of Rs 20,000, 50,000 loans, they commit suicide. But when Mallya has a debt of Rs 9,000 crore, he does not commit suicide. Such people are enjoying in London.”
he also did not miss to point out the failure of Modi on creating jobs. “Modi promised that two crores will get employment. But how many did people did get employment? I am giving a statistic: On each day, China will provide employment to 50,000 people. But Modi’s government cannot provide so many jobs even in one year,” the Congress leader said.
Concluding his speech, Rahul Gandhi said that if voted to power, the Congress government will not promise 15 lakh to everyone. Taking a jibe at Modi, he further added that the Congress government will not be a government of few industrialists and it will not be land grabbing government. He asserted that it will be a government of the people and will listen to their Mann Ki Baat, unlike Modi.
The Congress also rubbished several claims made by the BJP.
The first claim of the BJP was that Rahul Gandhi had signed in the register maintained for the non-Hindu visitors, the Congress denying the claim said that Rahul had signed only the visitor’s register and all the other images going viral on the social media were fabricated by the BJP.
The second thing claimed by the ruling BJP was that since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, Gujarat had not witnessed any riots. The Congress denied this claim also underlining the UNA Kand, where the Dalits were attacked by the Gau Rakshaks. The party also told that in 2016, 12 innocent Patidars were killed in Surat.
The BJP alleged that the Narmada project was delayed because of the Congress. responding to this the party said that in past 22 years, only 20.8% canal network has been constructed and even today as many as 17 districts of Saurashtra and Kutch are facing severe water crises.
The fourth claim of the BJP was that the party’s vision was for next 100-years and that it was just election-centric. While the Congress said that the vision of BJP was only around the elections as the winter session of the Parliament was being delayed in wake of the Gujarat elections. The party also underlined that just for the elections campaigning for BJP, 26 cabinet ministers and a dozen MPs were relocated to Gujarat.
The ruling BJP in Gujarat also asserted that the government work in the interest of the farmers and also claimed that by 2022 it will double the income of the farmers. While the Congress bringing forward the reality said that there has been a rise of 42% in farmer’s suicide between 2014-2015. It also said that there was less than 10% procurement of crops for this Kharif season. Congress also alleged that due to the BJP government and its policies, the groundnut farmers in Gujarat were losing 1000 rupees per quintal of the crop. The party also underlined that the payment to around 55 lakh active MNREGA workers was frozen by the Gujarat BJP government.
The BJP alleged that the Congress was anti-Gujarat, while the Congress listed down points that denied the allegations of the BJP. The opposition party stated that the Amul model was set up by the Congress in Gujarat, the Mid-day meal was started by the Congress, the UKAI dam was constructed under the Congress, the first IIM institute was set up under the Congress government, the global diamond trade marketing was established in Surat under the Congress.
The ruling party claimed that BJP brought in soil health card which has been beneficial for farmers, while the Congress pointed out that against the target of 14 crores, only 5.12 crore SHCs got the car. The Congress also underlined that the SHC distribution rate in major states like Haryana, UP, Rajasthan is below 30%.