Is this swarg? Sonia tears into ‘Gujarat model’ in Modi bastion

Sonia Gandhi at Kheralu, Gujarat, on Thursday. Sonia Gandhi at Kheralu, Gujarat, on Thursday.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi tore into “Gujarat model of development” in Narendra Modi’s bastion on Thursday and said the election this time was a fight between ideologies.

Criticising the “Gujarat model”, Sonia said at Kheralu, “God, please save the country from such a model.” Kheralu falls under the Patan Lok Sabha constituency and is 15-km away from Modi’s hometown, Vadnagar.

Accusing the BJP’s PM nominee of being concerned only about his chair and not the people, the Congress president said the state had the highest dropout rate in the country and didn’t consider a family poor if its daily income was Rs 11. “Tell me is this swarg (heaven) or something else. They are only concerned about their chair and have nothing to do with the poor,” she said at the meeting in the predominantly tribal village of Jujva in Dharampur taluka of Valsad.

Reacting to Modi’s mention of shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan from Varanasi being the symbol of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb in his blog, before he filed his nomination from the holy city Thursday, Sonia said in Dharampur, “The BJP dances to the tune of an organisation that does not believe in ‘Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb’., which through hate mongering, narrow-mindedness and hardline thinking creates discrimination in the society.”

Directly attacking Modi in Kheralu, she said, “Gujarat’s Chief Minister repeatedly campaigns about the Gujarat model. What is this Gujarat model?You have a major problem of potable water. Every second child below five years of age is malnourished. You tell me what will happen to the poor?”

She said that as opposed to Congress ideology, which seeks to unite the nation and bring amity between different faiths and religion, the BJP’s ideology “breaks the country’s traditions and principles which we have nursed for centuries”. She said: “It is an ideology that wants to impose cruelty in the name of unity.”

She also talked about the Right to Information Act, Food Security Act and National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme as the initiatives of the Congress and pointed out that the BJP had taken 10 years to appoint the Lokayukta.