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Rahul Gandhi needs to remove Italian glasses to see Gujarat’s development: Amit Shah

Rahul Gandhi had called Narendra Modi-promoted “Gujarat model of development” a failure and raised the issue of unemployment and farmers’ plight in his visit to the state last month.

india Updated: Oct 02, 2017 23:11 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Rahul Gandhi,Gujarat’s development,Italian glasses
BJP president Amit Shah addresses a function to kick off the Gujarat Gaurav Yatra for the forthcoming assembly polls in Anand on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

Rahul Gandhi cannot see the progress Gujarat has made under BJP rule as his vision is being blocked by his Italian eyewear, party chief Amit Shah said on Monday as he countered the Congress vice president’s criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “fake MoU model” in the poll-bound western state.

“Rahul should wear Gujarati spectacles and not the one made in Italy, then he will see the development in Gujarat,” Shah was quoted as saying by ANI as he flagged off the second leg of his party’s mass outreach initiative, Gujarat Gaurav Yatra, from Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.

The BJP had broadcast Shah’s speech on Facebook.

Gandhi called Modi-promoted “Gujarat model of development” a failure during his three-day Navsarjan Yatra and raised the issue of unemployment and farmers’ plight in the farm-rich belt of the state, which is dominated by Patidars who have been demanding reservation in government jobs and education under the other backward classes (OBC) category.

Gandhi completed the first phase of his statewide yatra last week as he toured Saurashtra region for three days. He is likely to start the second phase from central Gujarat next week.

The BJP has begun the march with a new phrase - “I am Vikas, I am Gujarat” - after a social media campaign ‘Vikas has gone crazy’ that has gone viral on the internet under the Gujarati title “vikas gando thai gayo che” put the saffron party on the back foot.

Hailing Modi as Gujarat’s pride, Shah alleged that Congress did not care for the state for generations.

“First Sardar Patel, then Morarji Desai (former prime minister) and then Modi, for three generations the Congress has ignored the state and caused injustice,’’ said Shah.

“The end of Congress in Gujarat in mid-nineties spelt the end of gundaraj (rule of goons). The BJP finished Ijju Shaikh, Latif, and Mammu Miyan Panju Miyan to give a peaceful Gujarat,’’ Shah said while referring to gangsters based in Gujarat.

The BJP chief also indicated that the assembly elections are likely to be held in the first week of December.

The BJP faces anti-incumbency and anger from the powerful Patidar community, which is also being wooed by the Congress that has been out of power in the state since 1995, seeking quota in colleges and jobs.

The party had to face the ire of the Patidars during the march, especially in pockets dominated by the community.

Several men were detained on Sunday from a venue in Karamsad after they tried to disrupt Shah’s speech by shouting slogans like Jai Sardar, Jai Patidar. The slogan has become the trademark of their agitation which began in 2015 during which 15 men from the community were killed in violent clashes with the police.

While the detained Patidar men were released by the police early on Monday, the community circulated photographs on social media indicating that the BJP’s march has generated a poor response from the people.

The BJP government announced the formation of non-reserved category educational and economic development commission as well as board a week before its Gaurav Yatra in a bid to reach out to the Patidars.

However, it failed to cut any ice with Hardik Patel - the face of the Patidar agitation - who has vowed to continue the stir until their quota demand is met.

Shah kicked off the march from India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s hometown Karamsad in central Gujarat on Sunday to highlight the achievements of the BJP-led governments in the state during the two decades its rule.

Two motorised raths have been prepared to facilitate party state president Jitu Vaghani and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s trip through the state and several SUVs painted in the colour of the party will travel along with them during the march.

Travelling through various parts of the states, both the legs will culminate on October 16 in the presence of Prime Minister Modi.

First Published: Oct 02, 2017 18:39 IST