iconimg Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rajesh Mahapatra & Smruti Koppikar, Hindustan Times
Mandvi/Keshod, December 07, 2012
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, addressing voters at Mandvi and Keshod, listed what ails the regions under the BJP government and chief minister Narendra Modi.

She directed voters to "give a courageous and befitting reply to falsehoods, discrimination and dictatorship" when the two regions go to assembly polls on December 13.

When Gandhi called Modi "maut ka saudagar" at a 2007 public rally, many in Gujarat blamed her act of aggression for the Congress party's poor electoral performance.

On Friday in Mandvi, she was careful not to talk about the 2002 riots and its victims, mostly Muslims. She made no comment on Hindutva in her 30-minute address but focused on development issues.

"Had the government paid attention, you would not have been facing the hardships that you do today," she said.

In Keshod, Gandhi dwelt on lack of water and power shortage in Saurashtra.

"We tried hard to bring the Narmada water here with the Sardar Sarovar dam. It seems the BJP government forgot to put a canal system in place," she said.

Keshod was a SC seat, but now the Patel community's Manubhai Kotadia (Cong) and Arvind Ladani (BJP) will fight it out here.