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Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat highlights: GST is Gabbar Singh Tax, says the Congress leader

The Congress, which is out of power in Gujarat for 22 years, is wooing leaders such as Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakor who have significant support base in their respective communities.

assembly elections Updated: Oct 23, 2017 17:34 IST
New Delhi/Ahmedabad
Rahul Gandhi,BJP,Narendra Patel
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi presented a bow and an arrow at a public meeting at Devghad Bariya village of Dahod district.(PTI FILE)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited Gujarat on Monday, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the election-bound state and inaugurated a slew of development projects. (Power-packed Gujarat politics) .

“Gujarat is priceless. It has never been bought. It can never be bought. It will never be bought,” Gandhi posted on Twitter. The Congress leader was apparently referring to the allegations of a leader of the influential Patidar community who claimed the ruling BJP offered him Rs 1 crore to join the party.

Nikhil Sawani, a Patidar leader who had recently joined the BJP, quit  the saffron party over the allegations. Meanwhile, the Congress asked the Election Commission to announce the Gujarat election dates.

Here are the highlights of Rahul Gandhi’s visit:

4:09pm: This GST has hurt businessmen. It has to be simplified, says Rahul Gandhi.

4:06pm: Rahul Gandhi criticises the central government, says it didn’t listen to the Congress. This GST is not GST, the Congress leader says, this is Gabbar Singh tax.

.4:01pm: Rahul Gandhi mocks PM Modi, criticises him for the demonetisation exercise. Even PM Modi didn’t understand for the first 2-3 days what happened, says Gandhi.

4:00pm: If the Congress comes to power in Gujarat, it will form a government for everyone, says Rahul Gandhi.

3:57pm: Why doesn’t PM Modi speak on the issue (Jay Shah controversy)? Rahul Gandhi asks.

3:55pm: Make in India and Start-up India have failed, Rahul Gandhi says, as he attacks the BJP government over a controversy involving the company of Jay Shah, the son of BJP chief Amit Shah.

3:51pm: I want to tell Modiji Gujarat’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’...Gujarat’s youth want education. In 22 years, you have put every college and university in the hands of 5-10 industrialists, says Rahul Gandhi.

3:47pm: Hardik (Patel), Jignesh (Mevani) have a voice in their hearts...and that voice is inside all Gujaratis, says Rahul Gandhi. This voice can’t be subdued or bought, the Congress leader adds.

3:47pm: Every section of Gujarat’s society is part of a movement because in the last 22 years, the government has not been of people but of 5-10 industrialists, ANI quotes Rahul Gandhi as saying.

3:44pm: Rahul Gandhi speaks at ‘Navsarjan Janadesh Mahasammelan’ in Gandhinagar.

3:15pm: Alpesh Thakor, other OBC leaders join Congress: TV reports

3:10pm: Nikhil Sawani, who resigned from BJP after the bribery allegations surfaced, says he met Rahul Gandhi. “I put forward my viewpoints with regard to the aandolan and justice to Patidars.”

2:50pm: Confusion prevails over Hardik Patel’s meeting with Rahul Gandhi. Sources in the Patidar leader’s camp deny any such development.

2:35pm: Contrary to earlier reports, Patidar leader Hardik Patel met Rahul Gandhi at a hotel in Ahmedabad: TV

2:34pm: CEC AK Joti says the poll panel will plan the election schedule in Gujarat in such a way that the process in the western state gets over before results are announced for Himachal Pradesh. The idea is that the outcome in Himachal Pradesh doesn’t affect voting in Gujarat.

1:12pm: BJP president Amit Shah arrives for BJP state board meeting in Gandhinagar, reports news agency ANI.

1:00pm: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi arrives in Ahmedabad, to take part in Navsarjan Janadesh Mahasammelan.

12:35pm:The Samajwadi Party will fight five seats in Gujarat, says Akhilesh Yadav, adding his party will support the Congress on the rest.

12:30pm: Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki says meeting between Rahul Gandhi, Patidar leader Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani has been postponed. The meeting might happen when Gandhi visits Gujarat again (November 1-3).


12:24pm: Congress’s Manish Tewari says the election commission should soon announce election dates for Gujarat and impose the model code of conduct.

9:30am: Nikhil Sawani, a Patidar leader who had joined BJP, said he will quit the party after the bribery scandal. He says he will seek Rahul Gandhi’s appointment to put forward his viewpoint.

Patidar leader Narendra Patel spoke to the press within hours of “joining” the BJP on Sunday and said he “will not be bought over” in the face of BJP’s “Rs 1-crore deal”.

The Patidar community, once a staunch supporter, is at war with the BJP over its demand for reservation in education and government jobs.

Congress game plan

The Congress had invited Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani to meet Gandhi during his visit to Ahmedabad on Monday. But Patel leader said he will not be able to meet Gandhi due to a busy schedule.

Gandhi will take part in ‘Navsarjan Gujarat Janadesh’ rally organised by his party in Gandhinagar, where OBC leader Alpesh Thakor will join the Congress.

Congress’s invite to Hardik Patel and Mevani came against the backdrop of its state unit president Bharatsinh Solanki extended open invitation to Patel, Mevani and Thakor to join the party to ensure the ruling BJP’s defeat.

The BJP is not only facing angry Patidars but also anti-incumbency. The Dalits and Muslims, too, are upset over violence by cow vigilantes and upper castes.

Thakor, the leader of OBC Ekta Manch, will join the Congress with his associates at the rally, Solanki said.

Thakor had met Gandhi in Delhi recently and later announced that he would soon join the party.

Gandhi is also likely to meet Chotu Vasava, the leader of Janata Dal (U) in Gujarat, during his one-day visit.

The election is a matter of prestige for the BJP, ruling the state for almost 22 successive years, as both PM Modi and party chief Amit Shah come from the western state.

First Published: Oct 23, 2017 11:43 IST