As the day is getting closer, that will decide the fate of BJP in Gujarat, that has been ruling the state for more than two decades now, Congress is getting active more than ever before to nail the polls.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has been seen in a totally different personality in past few weeks, aggressively campaigning for the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections. The Congress leader who was always made fun of for his comments to the media is now been taken seriously by not just the Gujratis but across India.
Rahul began the last leg of its campaign in Gujarat on Saturday, topping the last layer of the Navsarjan Yatra concentrating on the north Gujarat region this time. Prior to this, he completed similar campaigns in n Saurashtra (west Gujarat), central Gujarat and south Gujarat.
Addressing the rally, the Congress Vice President claimed that the party will sweep the Gujarat polls this time “as a tsunami is coming and the (ruling) BJP is scared of it.” He said that the electoral battle between the BJP and the Congress is a battle of truth versus lies and the truth will win.
During the rally, he also asked his party members not to make personal attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This statement of Rahul comes in wake of a recent incident when a Congress member, during the election campaign termed Modi as ‘feku‘ (one who makes baseless claims) or ‘gappabaaz’ (a big liar). He said that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi may say anything about us, but we will not indulge in any loose talks about him and maintain the decorum of the office of Prime Minister.”
Also at the ‘social media dialogue’ organized Rahul stressed on the point that no personal comments will e made on Modi. He said “When Narendra Modi was the chief minister, he made disrespectful statements about then PM (D. Manmohan Singh). But I wrote an e-mail to Ashok Gehlot (Gujarat Congress in-charge) that we should harp on the mistakes of Modi and BJP but cross the lines in targeting Modi ji respecting the fact that he is India’s PM.”
Breaking the trend, in an attempt to reach to the common people, Rahul also spoke a full sentence in Gujarati apart from the general ‘Kem Cho’. He said “Gujarat ma Modiji aave, Amit Shahji aave, UP na CM Yogiji aave, toye Bhajapa sarkar nahi aave (Narendra Modi, Amit Shah or UP CM Adityanath Yogi may come to Gujarat, but BJP government won’t come).”
Speaking at a rally in Thara in north Gujarat’s Banaskantha district, he attacked the decisions of demonetization and GST and unfulfilled promises of Modi to bring the change. He asked the people to demonstrate their anger against the BJP through their votes to Congress. “The Congress workers have tolerated the BJP rule for 22 years and now it is high time. Show it at the polling booths and to everyone what you feel about GST, note ban and the government taking everyone for a ride on the Narmada dam, and bring about a change,” Rahul said.
While addressing a rally in Banaskantha in North Gujarat on Sunday, taking on the BJP’s project of Narmada dam, Rahul said promised that the Congress will make sure that the Narmada water reaches every farmer in the next five years. “In 22 years, BJP has been claiming to have completed the Narmada project. We will ensure that water reaches every farmer,” he said.
Further taking a jibe on Narendra Modi, Rahul said that the farmers of this country sacrifice their blood and sweat for the nation, they give their everything but the Modi government cannot even give them a loan waiver. He added that the Prime Minister can only waive off loans of big rich industrialists but not the poor farmers.
The Congress leader also did not miss the chance to attack the Modi government on the implementation of the flawed GST. He assured the people that the Congress as an opposition party will do everything “against the Gabbar Singh Tax and that he would remind everyone how the note ban helped thieves turn black money into white.”
The people, especially the businessmen and the traders are slowly turning their backs to Narendra Modi due to the losses they have suffered in wake of note ban and GST and the Congress is definitely taking advantage of this rising anti-incumbency. Recently when the tax slabs for a number of items were dropped down to 18% from the earlier 28% after the GST council meet, Congress took the credit for the changes done, saying that it was the pressure of the opposition that forced the government to make changes in the tax slabs.
During the campaign, responding to a query on how Rahul battles the constant attack of BJP on his image, he replied that he uses Shivji’s philosophy. By referring to Shivji’s philosophy, he meant that as Lord Shiva drank the poison to save the devtas but nothing happened to him because he was standing with the truth, even he is drinking the poison blurted out by the BJP. “I know my truth. BJP’s negative attack will not prevent my truth from being reflected,” he said.
During the campaign te Congress leader also asked his party members to accept the mistakes, learn from it and move forward. This remark of Rahul was in wake of Narendra Modi till now not accepting that note ban and GST were his wrong decision.
On his three day journey to the north Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi in an attempt to clear the anti-Hindutva image of Congress also visited a number of temples. He visited the temple of Veer Meghmaya, the temple houses a Dalit mythological figure who is believed to have sacrificed his life to remove untouchability, the temple of Goddess Khodiyar in Varana village of Patan, Bahuchara Ji Temple near Gujarat’s Mehsana.
During the campaign, when asked about the response he got from the people of Gujarat, Rahul said that “What you call response, I call it love. And I have been showered with it by the people of Gujarat and I am returning the love.” He also recited an incident of meeting a girl suffering from thalassemia and also termed it as his most memorable moment.
He said that “My meeting with a young thalassemic girl weaving a sari was the most memorable moment. I felt sorry for her, but at the same time liked her ‘jazba‘. We need to enable such persons.”
Addressing a rally in Palanpur town, Rahul taking a dig at the Modi government saying that “When Rajiv Gandhi talked of IT and telecom revolution, the BJP made fun of him. Today, the BJP-led government is on my father’s path.”
The Congress leader also did not miss the chance to pull down the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani over, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) imposing a fine on his firm for alleged manipulative share trade. He also underlined that the market regulator has termed the Gujarat CM as ‘beimaan (dishonest)’. The Securities Appellate Tribunal(SAT) had set aside the fine of Rs 6.91 crore imposed on 22 entities, including Rupani’s firm.
The assembly election in Gujarat will be held in two phases. The first phase of polling will be on 9 Dec and the second will be on 14 Dec. The election results will be announced on 18 Dec, along with the results of the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, held on 9 Nov.