Multi-polar political rivalries in Gujarat sharpened on Sunday, when chief minister Narendra Modi declared the BJP would win the assembly polls in December this year and the Congress responded with equal aggression.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi talks to media after paying tribute to BR Ambedkar on his 121st birth anniversary in Vadodara. PTI Photo
Modi was addressing party workers at the state BJP executive meeting in Rajkot.
And former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, who is Modi's rival in the BJP and had skipped the Rajkot meet, exhorted the tribals in Panchmahal district to vote for "political change without fear in the next assembly polls".
In Rajkot, Modi called the UPA "a sinking ship".
"This UPA government has disappointed the people of the country by a series of scams and failure to check corruption and price hike," Modi said.
And while the BJP's meet was going on, posters supporting his archrival Sanjay Joshi, who has been forced out of the party, and apparently targeting Modi appeared around the venue.
Apart from the meeting point, posters and banners sprang up on the main markets and streets in the city, which is a BJP bastion. Some dissident workers also protested against Modi, wearing masks showing Joshi and carrying placards, at about 200 metres from the venue, and the police detained them.
Patel was also at his combative best. "Except tall talk and empty promises, tribals have got nothing from this government. If the state government can offer a R33,000 crore package to the Tata group for shifting the Nano factory to Gujarat, why nothing for tribals?"
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress also sharpened its attack on Modi, calling him a "political terrorist responsible for the political assassination" of Joshi. "Modi is a terrorist. Look at the way Joshi was forced out of the party," Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhvadia said.