Modi dares Cong to contest Gujarat polls on development plank

Rahul forecasts 'jumlon ki baarish', Shah sets target of 137-plus for BJP
Report by: 
Agencies
Gandhinagar
16 Oct 2017

Sounding the poll bugle for Gujarat Assembly election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dared the Congress to contest it on the development plank.

Mounting a fierce attack on the Congress, Modi told a BJP rally that the Nehru-Gandhi family dislikes Gujarat and Gujaratis. He said the Opposition party's current condition was because it has lost ability to think positive. "It is being driven by negative thinking," he said. The Prime Minister was addressing a massive rally organised by the state BJP to celebrate the conclusion of the saffron party's 'Gujarat Gaurav Yatra' (march for Gujarat's honour).  "Gujarat polls are round the corner and the Congress has developed fever once again. Gujarat has been an eyesore for the party and the family. I won't repeat what they did to Sardar Patel, his daughter Maniben, and Morarji Desai. They did not speak about the work of Morarji Desai or his dedication and commitment to Mahatma Gandhi's ideals. They instead chose to talk about what he ate and drank," Modi told the BJP rally at Bhat village near Gandhinagar, referring to the former prime minister's fondness of urine therapy.

The Prime Minister also targeted the Congress over the resignation of party leader Madhavsinha Solanki, who as the foreign minister was alleged to have sent a letter to his then Swiss counterpart to scuttle the Bofors scandal probe. "They forced Solanki to resign. the party can go to any extent to save the family," he said. The rally was held to mark the conclusion of the saffron party's 'Gujarat Gaurav Yatra' (march for Gujarat's honour) ahead of the high-octane electoral battle for the state where the BJP holds sway. However, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, in a 'weather report' ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to his home state today, said that rhetoric will rain down on Gujarat.

Rahul's dig comes in the wake of speculation that the prime minister may announce a host of sops for poll-bound Gujarat. "Weather report: Ahead of elections, Gujarat will today have rain of rhetoric," he said on Twitter, using the phrase "jumlon ki baarish" in his Hindi tweet. The Congress vice-president also tagged a report headlined "As Gujarat waits for poll date, state gets projects worth nearly Rs 12,500 crore" with his tweet. The Congress has accused the BJP and the government of "putting pressure" on the Election Commission to not announce simultaneous polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

The Congress has alleged that if the Election Commission had announced assembly elections in Gujarat along with Himachal Pradesh, the model code of conduct would come into force with immediate effect, leaving no scope for the BJP to announce any sops for people in Gujarat. Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh will be held on November 9 and results announced on December 18. The Gujarat elections have not been announced yet, though Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti has said they will be held before December 18.

However, BJP president Amit Shah today made it clear that the party was seeking votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to retain power in Gujarat, and set a target of over three-fourths majority in the 182-member Assembly. "We want a victory by three-fourths majority. When Modi was chief minister, we got 127 seats. Now when he is the Prime Minister, this figure looks too small," Shah told thousands of cheering party workers here. Shah took a dig at the Congress vice- president, who has been leading his party's campaign in the poll-bound state, saying he had not done enough for his Amethi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh and was questioning how the BJP has been developing Gujarat.