Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted the Congress on Monday and said the Opposition party didn’t win elections on developmental issues but employed caste, religion and their dynastic rule to mislead the people.
The Prime Minister was addressing lakhs of BJP workers on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in what could be his last big rally before Gujarat election dates are announced and the model code of conduct comes into force.
The rally was held to mark the conclusion of BJP’s Gujarat Gaurav Yatra (march for Gujarat’s honour) ahead of the high-octane electoral battle for the state where the party holds sway.
Here are five key points from PM Modi’s speech:
Modi said there was a “conspiracy” was by the Congress to put him in jail, in an apparent reference to accusations of his involvement in the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
“You did not waste any opportunity to strike. When I was the chief minister and you were in power at the Centre, you hatched a conspiracy to put me in jail. You knew that it was not possible until Amit Shah (BJP chief) was put behind bars, you did that.”
“This is the poison, the malice you harbour. Since Patel conceived the Narmada project, it was not allowed to be completed for 40-50 years,” Modi said as he repeatedly attacked the Nehru-Gandhi family in his speech.
Referring to Congress leaders, including party president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi being on bail in the National Herald case, Modi said, “The whole party is on bail”.
Development vs dynasty
Modi employed juxtapositions to describe the ideologies of the rival parties ahead of Gujarat assembly elections.
“This election is a duel between “vikasvaad” (development) and “vanshvaad” (dynastic) rule. Development is going to win and dynastic rule is going to lose,” he said.
“Communalism, casteism, dynastic rule, misleading the people — these are the instruments which Congress uses to win elections. They don’t have it in them to win on the issue of development.” Modi said.
The prime minister’s remark came against the backdrop of the agitation by the influential Patel community for reservations in government jobs and educational institutions. Hardik Patel, the quota stir spearhead, had welcomed Rahul Gandhi on a recent visit to Gujarat.
“They called us anti-Dalit, anti-Adivasi, an urban party. The people gave them an apt reply. None of the charges stuck. Today, we have the highest number of Dalit and Adivasi MPs. The highest number of MPs from rural areas are of the BJP,” he said.
Congress ‘doesn’t like’ Gujarat
Modi accused the Congress of treating Gujarati leaders “unfairly” and named first home minister Sardar Patel and former prime minister Morarji Desai among the party’s victims. “They don’t like Gujarat and Gujaratis. Gujarat has been an eyesore for the party and the family.”
“When Morarji Desai became prime minister, they spread rumours about what he drank and what he didn’t. They didn’t talk about his ideals, about his dedication to Mahatma Gandhi’s cause,” he said.
‘Misguiding’ the country on GST
The Prime Minister also slammed the opposition party for “misguiding” the country on GST, and clarified that the tax rates are fixed by a panel comprising ministers of all the states, including those ruled by the Congress.
“GST decisions are not taken by Modi or Parliament. All parties, all states, are its part. Central government is its 30th part. Congress is also a partner in GST decisions. They should not spread lies on GST,” he said, assuring the Gujarati business community that he will “not allow them to suffer”.
Black money-free day
On demonetisation, another issue being aggressively raised by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat, Modi said, “I have read that the Congress is going to observe November 8 as ‘black day’. BJP, on the other hand, will celebrate it as a ‘black money-free day’. He added licences of over two lakh shell companies have been cancelled following the banning of the old 500- and 1000-rupee notes.
“The Congress is neck deep in corruption. Its leadership is out on bail. Will you allow such a party to rule in Gujarat?” Modi asked.