Congress tried to sow seeds of casteism in Gujarat: Modi says after BJP election victory

The Prime Minister said the BJP had won on the strength of its development plank, adding the Congress’s hunger for power led it to play caste politics.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2017 22:52 IST
Press Trust of India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a felicitation function before the party's parliamentary board meeting in New Delhi on Monday, after the party's win in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections.(PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused the Congress of trying to sow the seeds of casteism in Gujarat in its “hunger for power”, asserting that the BJP’s win in the assembly elections had underlined the people’s acceptance of his government’s reforms.

Addressing BJP workers at the party headquarters here, he was unsparing in his attack on the Congress and critics who, he said, could not accept his party’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

He also returned to his plank of development and pitched for social harmony in his home state, which had seen several caste agitations in the run up to the Assembly polls, saying that the people should forget the past and embrace each other.

An atmosphere for development had been created after the BJP came to power at the Centre in May 2014, he said, adding that nobody should derail it as his “decisive” government was working overtime to strengthen cooperative federalism and had clean intentions.

With the BJP – which recorded its sixth straight victory in Assembly elections in Gujarat – drawing its lowest tally this year, Modi said the victory this time was not ‘samanya’ (normal) but ‘asamanya’ (special).

There was a time when retaining power was considered a major achievement in the country, he said. But the BJP has been winning in Gujarat since 1989 on its plank of development, he added, describing it as unprecedented.

Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 before he became the prime minister in May, 2014, said attempts were made to “demoralise” the state BJP leadership after he moved to the Centre.

Referring to the just-concluded Gujarat poll, he said the state government was attacked from all sides and there was a “storm of disinformation”.

“The Congress might be visible on the ground but there were many forces at work beside it. ‘Bring down the BJP once’. All sorts of conspiracies were hatched,” Modi said.

There could be anger over the issue of development but some were making fun of it, he said, apparently targeting the Congress and Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who had run a campaign with the meme “development has gone mad” against the BJP.

The state was rife with the “poison of casteism” until 30 years ago, he said, referring to Congress rule in Gujarat, and added that BJP governments and leaders worked to remove it.

“In their hunger for power, some people tried to sow the seeds of casteism in the last few months for the elections. The people rejected it,” he said.

He asked the people of his state to be more vigilant.

“The victory in Gujarat is special. Starting from 1989, the people of Gujarat have been blessing the BJP in every Lok Sabha and Assembly election,” he said.

Referring to his party’s win in Uttar Pradesh and the Maharashtra local polls, followed by the victories in the two Assembly polls, Modi said the results proved that the people were ready for reforms and embraced performance for the transformation of the country.

Taking on his critics over claims that glitches in GST execution would harm the BJP in Gujarat, he said his party was projected to lose the UP local polls because of the tax reform and the “same rumours” were spread even this time around.

Modi said he would urge intellectuals who assessed the mood of the people not to mislead them, saying that it would not benefit the masses but harm the country.

“Election results have proved that the country is ready to accept reforms and take our performance positively for its transformation,” he said.

Development was the only solution to the people’s problems, he said, asserting that India would have to scale new heights of development if it was to do well globally.

The BJP’s win in Himachal was also a vote for development and rejection of those who used power for the “wrong” things, he said.

Modi also complimented BJP president Amit Shah for his role in the party’s victory in the polls.

“He is a hard working president,” he said.

He ended his address with a rousing slogan. “Jitega bhai, jitega...(who will be victorious),” he asked the workers. “Vikas (development),” they replied in unison, as exhorted by Modi.

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 22:27 IST