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In Gujarat, Congress busted BJP’s talk of development: Rahul Gandhi

On Twitter, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said if the BJP had a film franchise “it would be called Lie Hard”.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2017 21:46 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Ahmedabad, Hindustan Times
Rahul Gandhi,Gujarat elections,Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, centre, is presented with a garland during a meeting in Ahmadabad on Saturday.(AP)

Congress has busted BJP’s talk of “vikas (development) and Modi model”, party president Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday, returning to the state within five days of a loss in the assembly elections.

“We lost the elections, but we have won. This is the reality... Now they cannot talk of vikas and (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi model,” Gandhi said at public meeting in Ahmedabad, highlighting the Congress’ best poll performance in the state since 1990.

“We won because they (BJP) fought with anger, with money, police, chief ministers from various states, industrialists. We had only truth. We stood against this and showed it to entire country that Congress can fight and win.”

The Congress won 77 seats in the recently concluded elections, 16 more than its 2012 tally in the 182-member assembly. The BJP regained power, bagging 99 seats, 16 down from its 2012 showing.

“Three months ago, it was seen as if the Congress would not be even able to give a fight in Gujarat. But we cornered the BJP from all quarters,” said Gandhi. “In Gujarat, the Congress has shown what it can do if united, and follows its ideology.”

The Congress president said his challenge in the run-up to the polls was to give confidence to the Gujarat Congress that it could win. “And I am happy that you believed 70% that we can win. We are now confident. Now, we can change the result of Lok Sabha and the next assembly elections.”

Gandhi said the shortfall Congress faced could be due to “some 5 to 6% people” not working for the party. “I was here for four months, and I have come again. And, now I am going to be by your side,” he added.

He congratulated Vijay Rupani for being chosen as the chief minister again.

Under fire from BJP leaders for temple visits across Gujarat ahead of the assembly elections, Gandhi marked his return to the state by praying at Somnath temple at Prabhas Patan town in the morning.

During his sustained campaign in Gujarat, Gandhi visited more than 20 temples. After controversy over his name being listed as non-Hindu in Somnath temple register during his previous visit, Gandhi revealed he was a Shiv bhakt (devotee).

During the campaign, Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BJP leader Yogi Adityanath described Gandhi’s visits to temples as “just a pretence”.

The Congress has dismissed criticism of Gandhi’s temple visits, and said the party was not trying to portray a “soft Hindutva” face or play a “Hindu card”.

During his one-day visit, Gandhi also met party functionaries from all four zones of Gujarat for an analysis of the elections.

Twitter jibe

In an apparently Hollywood movie inspired statement, Gandhi tweeted on Saturday: “If BJP had a film franchise it would be called Lie Hard.”

The jibe came a day after he slammed the BJP as a party whose foundation was based on lies. Gandhi alleged the BJP campaigned on 2G spectrum allocation to discredit the Manmohan Singh government ahead of the 2014 general elections and then, during the Gujarat elections, raised a controversy over a meeting between Congress leaders and Pakistani officials.

First Published: Dec 23, 2017 20:56 IST