Even as Maharashtra Congress drew battle lines for the 2014 polls on Wednesday by l aunching an extensive campaign to create awareness about the UPA and state government’s progressive schemes, it was Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi who emerged as the favourite punching bag in the speeches of party leaders.
It was an indication that focus on the right wing’s communal politics, with Modi as its figurehead, will dominate the Congress campaign, perhaps more than the development agenda.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan cautioned party cadre gathered for the function at Shanmukhanand Hall in Matunga that there was an attempt by the BJP to incite communal violence.
“There is a chance of this [riots] happening in the future because there is a divisive agenda at work, which could threaten the fabric of our country. They think that an atmosphere of fear is conducive to winning votes.”
The chief minister also took on Modi saying he had attempted to critique the economic policies of the UPA government, but had to hold his tongue after he realised he does not really understand the very basics of economics.
Mohan Prakash, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary and in-charge for Maharashtra, lambasted Modi as a “small-minded” individual who had big aspirations.
Taking a jibe at the Gujarat model of growth, Prakash said: “What is the Gujarat model? Their 28 police officers are languishing in jail, one minister has been sentenced to 20 years, another for four years, while the home minister had to be exiled from the state by the apex court.”
Along with industries minister Narayan Rane and Chavan, he pointed out that Maharashtra was ahead of Gujarat in all indicators, whether it was the GDP, health or education.