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Gujarat election will be battle between development and dynasty politics: Modi attacks Cong on home turf

Modi hailed BJP president Amit Shah as the “man of the match” of 2014 elections whereas Rahul Gandhi had personally targeted Shah over the controversy surrounding his son’s company.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2017 23:38 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Narendra Modi,Ahmedabad,Modi in Gujarat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan in Ahmedabad on Monday. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday termed the Gujarat assembly elections as a battle between “vikasvaad” (development) and “vanshvaad” (dynasty), targeting the Congress on a range of issues, including GST, corruption and the party’s “anti-Gujarat stand”.

Modi was addressing lakhs of BJP ‘page presidents’ (in-charges of electoral roll pages) on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in what could be his last big rally before elections are announced and the model code of conduct comes into force.

Speaking from a giant stage, with a banner highlighting the Sardar Sarovar Dam, Modi touched upon issues raised by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during the two legs of his Navsarjan Yatra in September and last week.

Modi hailed his close aide and BJP president Amit Shah, calling him “man of the match” of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, six days after Gandhi had targeted Shah over a controversy surrounding his son’s company.

With Congress targeting the Modi government with a ‘Vikas Gandho thayo che’ (development has gone crazy) campaign on social media, the PM dared it to contest the polls on the development plank.

“Communalism, casteism, dynastic rule, misleading the people — these are the instruments which Congress uses to win elections. They don’t have it in them to win on the issue of development,” the prime minister said.

“This election is a duel between development and dynastic rule. Development is going to win and dynastic rule is going to lose,” he said.

“The Congress is neck deep in corruption. Its leadership is out on bail. Will you allow such a party to rule in Gujarat?” Modi asked.

Modi accused the Congress of treating Gujarati leaders “unfairly” and named first home minister Sardar Patel and former prime minister Morarji Desai among the party’s victims.

“They don’t like Gujarat and Gujaratis. When Morarji Desai became prime minister, they spread rumours about what he drank and what he didn’t. They didn’t talk about his ideals, about his dedication to Mahatma Gandhi’s cause,” he said.

He also slammed the opposition party for “misguiding” the country on GST, and clarified that the tax rates are fixed by a panel comprising ministers of all the states, including those ruled by the Congress.

“GST decisions are not taken by Modi or Parliament. All parties, all states, are its part. Central government is its 30th part. Congress is also a partner in GST decisions. They should not spread lies on GST,” he said, assuring the Gujarati business community that he will “not allow them to suffer”.

On demonetisation, another issue being aggressively raised by Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat, Modi said, “I have read that the Congress is going to observe November 8 as ‘black day’. BJP, on the other hand, will celebrate it as a ‘black money-free day’,” and added that licences of over two lakh shell companies have been cancelled following the banning of the old 500- and 1000-rupee notes.

Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, tweeted his “weather report” for Gujarat hours before Modi was due to speak in Ahmedabad, predicting that the state would witness a “jumlon ki baarish” (rain of rhetoric) ahead of the assembly elections.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Oct 16, 2017 18:18 IST