Gujarat results a 'zabardast jhatka', raises questions about PM’s credibility: Rahul

Warning bell for BJP, says Sena; Javadekar ridicules Cong chief
Report by: 
Agencies
New Delhi/Mumbai
19 Dec 2017

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said today the Gujarat election results were a "zabardast jhatka" (a massive jolt) to the BJP, and raised questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's credibility after he led his party to a narrow victory in the state.

Rahul claimed the Gujarat results indicated that the country was not listening to Modi anymore. He also hit out at the Prime Minister’s Gujarat model of development, calling it "good propaganda and able marketing", but which is "hollow from within". "I came to know there (in Gujarat) that people actually do not accept Modiji's model," the Congress president said. "It was thought that the Congress will not be able to fight the BJP in Gujarat...You saw the results and it has dealt a 'zabardast jhatka' (a massive jolt) to the BJP in Gujarat," he told newspersons. The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, down from 115 it won in 2012, and far lower than the 150-plus seats it had hoped for. It is also for the first time its tally slipped below the 100 mark since the BJP formed its maiden government on its own in 1995. The Congress won 77 seats, up by 16 seats.

Rahul called it a "very good result" and a moral victory for the Congress. "We lost, but we could have won...but fell short by a small margin," he said. "A big question has been raised on Modiji's credibility. Frankly, Modiji has a credibility problem and he will find it very difficult... Because what he is saying, his forces and his organisation are repeating that. But the country is not listening to that. This, the Gujarat election has shown. In the coming times, you will see this clearly," he said. Talking of credibility, the newly elected Congress president said while Modi spoke "non-stop" about corruption, he never uttered a word about Jay Shah (BJP chief Amit Shah's son) or Rafale fighter jet deal, which the Congress claims was against the country's interest and encouraged crony capitalism. "The country wants to know that you talked non-stop of corruption. Jay Shah, son of Amit Shah, turned Rs 50,000 into 80 crore in three months, there has been a scam in Rafale deal, why don't you talk of this. This is the credibility issue," he said.

Rahul said Gujarat sent out a message to the BJP and Modi that the "anger" within them would not work. The Congress chief, who vigorously campaigned in Gujarat, said in three months the state and its people taught him one thing that one can defeat opponents only with love and brotherhood, and not anger, money or force. "Gujarat has given a message to Modi ji and the BJP that the anger within you will not help you and love will defeat it," he said. Rahul also thanked the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for the verdict and congratulated all those who won. Responding to his attack, senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar claimed the poll outcome had actually jolted the Congress. "We (the BJP) won both state Assembly elections and in Gujarat for the sixth time. Actually this is a jolt for the Congress," Javadekar told newspersons shortly after Gandhi's attack on Modi and the BJP. The Union minister also alleged that the Congress tried to adopt divisive politics in Gujarat. However, people put their faith in Modi and in his development agenda, he said.

The minister said he was amused to hear that the Congress president had described the results as a big jolt to the BJP. "It seems Rahul is under the illusion and enjoying defeat as victory. This shows his dynastic arrogance and is an insult to the people's mandate," he said. Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena today launched a stinging attack on its ally BJP, saying "the much-touted Gujarat model has shaken" and the poll outcome in the state was a "warning bell" to those who believe in an autocratic rule. The Sena said Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Patidar leader Hardik Patel had been ridiculed as "monkeys" but "these 'monkeys' have slapped the 'lion'". The Sena attack on the BJP came in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana', a day after the BJP retained power in Gujarat with a reduced tally of 99 seats against 115 last time. The Sena said the BJP had "barely managed to pass" the electoral exam but was pretending to have passed with distinction. The BJP won Gujarat and Himachal, but the Congress also did not lose, the editorial said.

"The dream of a 'Congress-Mukt Bharat' (Congress-free India) remained unfulfilled," the Shiv Sena said. This election result in Gujarat is a "warning bell for those who believe in an autocratic rule", the Sena said. "The BJP may have won the election but the discussion is about the strides Rahul Gandhi has taken. It was said that we (BJP) won't get a single seat less than 150 in Gujarat, but it proved to be a tough task even to reach the 100 mark," said the editorial.