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Hopeful Congress ramps up the pressure

  • Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
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  • Updated: Dec 14, 2012 01:43 IST

Sensing that its prospects are better this time around, the Congress is going on the offensive in the Gujarat assembly polls, with party general secretary Rahul Gandhi addressing three rallies on Thursday for the second phase on December 17 and party president Sonia Gandhi due to descend in the state for the third time on Friday.

Rahul, who returned to Delhi after Thursday's rallies, will return on Saturday, the last day of campaigning for the 95 seats in the second phase, to conclude the Congress party's electoral battle in the Kutch region.

On Thursday, Rahul addressed large rallies in Palanpur and Bhiloda in north Gujarat and Zalod in the central part of the state.

Without mentioning Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's name, Rahul said at a rally, "Only one person is shining in Gujarat while others have been relegated."

"A good leader is one who listens to the people he represents and makes their aspirations, desires and dreams his goals. But here, one man is shining, suppressing the youth of the state," he said in an obvious reference to Modi's larger-than-life image.

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"You are being told that only one person is working for Gujarat's development. I want to tell you something. It's you who sweat it out and put in your hard work for development. Gujarat and its people have always been known for their entrepreneurship."

He also repeated his charges against the Modi administration, alleging that the government has stifled the RTI Act and failed to appoint a lokayukta in for eight years.

In an attempt to strike a chord with the people in Palanpur, whose Jains are leading diamond barons in Surat and Mumbai, he said, "People of Palanpur dominate the diamond business even in Belgium. The diamond business has thrived there for centuries and people from Palanpur run the economy of Belgium. But one person is claiming credit for everything."

Sonia Gandhi is expected to continue the Congress offensive against Modi and his claim of creating a vibrant Gujarat in which large sections of the people have been marginalised.

Her plans include visiting a sample house of the scheme that the Congress announced for women in the state if the party comes to power.

 

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