Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi arrived in poll-bound Gujarat on Monday to take part in a Navsarjan Janadesh Mahasammelan rally in Gandhinagar. OBC leader Alpesh Thakor joined the party during the meet. However, the much-speculated meeting between Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik Patel and Gandhi did not take place.
Gandhi’s visit comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stones for several projects in Vadodara amounting to Rs 3,650 crore. Those opposed to vikas won’t get a single rupee from Centre, warns PM
Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat live updates
4.07 pm: Rahul now takes on the government on GST, says the tax scheme was the idea of the Congress. Says demonetisation and GST was a double-barrelled attack on the people. Calls GST Gabbar Singh Tax and says it has affected many small traders
4.02 pm: PM Modi realised after 5 months that demonetisation was a wrong decision. Even former finance minister Chidambaram was surprised at the decision
3.59 pm: Congress will win power in Gujarat in the upcoming elections. It will be a government of the poor, of the youths and of the farmers
3.56 pm: Rahul Gandhi attacks PM Modi for staying silent on Jay Shah, says his company’s turnover spiked after PM Modi came into power. Reminds Modi of his “Na khaunga, na khane doonga” remark
3.55 pm: When you click a selfie and click that button, every time a Chinese youth gets employment, says Rahul
3.53 pm: Modiji gave 30-35 crore to a company for setting up a Nano car plant. This money could have used to waive farmer’s loans but he didn’t listen to the voices of the farmers
3.52 pm: Modiji speaks of Mann Ki Baat, but today I want to tell him about Gujarat’s Dil Ki Baat. Anger of Gujarat youths cannot be silenced
3.51 pm: “Youth of Gujarat want jobs, want to go to college but are asked for Rs 10 lakh as education fees. That is why they have to migrate to other places”
3.50 pm: PM Modi is scared and is trying to muzzle the voice of the people of Gujarat, says Rahul
3.48 pm: Rahul takes a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his ‘Make In India’ programme, says 30 lakh people are unemployed in Gujarat
3.43 pm: Every section of Gujarat’s
society is part of a movement because since the last 22 years the government was not of the people but of 5-10 industrialists, says Rahul Gandhi
3.25 pm: While there was speculation that Hardik Patel will meet Rahul Gandhi on Monday, Patidar leader Dinesh Patel said the PAAS chief will meet the Congress Vice-President when he will visit Gujarat again in November
3.18 pm: Gujarat OBC leader and Ekta Manch chief Alpesh Thakor formally joins Congress in presence of party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi
2.13 pm: There is a huge turn out for the Congress’ rally. Rahul Gandhi will address the crowd today.
2.00 pm: Amid much speculation, Hardik Patel on Sunday said he wouldn’t join any political party but continue “fighting for the rights of the community”. Speaking to farmers in Madheli village in Vadodara’s Waghodia taluka, Hardik said, “We will stick to our three main demands ‘Reservation’, ‘Employment to youth’ and ‘Loan waiver to the farmers of Gujarat, whichever party will agree to this we will support them.”
1.45 pm: Meanwhile, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor is set to join the Congress today, in the presence of Rahul Gandhi. The Ekta Manch chief had confirmed this two days ago after a meeting with party chief Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul and Ahmed Patel.
Why is this important? OBC’s form 40 per cent of the vote share in Gujarat, and Thakor’s addition is a shot in the arm for the Grand Old Party. “It is time to throw out the BJP in Gujarat. Unemployment is a huge problem with lakhs of youngsters without jobs, more than 74,000 farmers are neck deep in debt, illicit liquor flows freely in the state despite prohibition and education and health sectors are in a total mess,” Thakor said. “Me, Hardik Patel and Jignesh are all going to join hands with the Congress party to defeat the BJP,” he added.
1.40 pm: On Sunday, Narendra Patel, a Patidar leader from north Gujarat, alleged the BJP had tried to bribe him to join the party. Dramatically spreading out a bundle of Rs 500 notes worth Rs 10 lakh, Narendra had said it was an “advance” from the saffron party.
“They made a deal of Rs 1 crore on me. One crore? Even if they bestow the entire Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on me, I will not be bought over. Even if I have to die, fighting for the cause,” Patel said. Who is Narendra Patel?
1.35 pm: Earlier today, in response to Patidar leader Narendra Patel’s claims that he was bribed by the BJP with Rs one crore to join the party, Gandhi had said that Gujarat is ‘priceless’. Taking to Twitter, the Congress vice-president said, “Gujarat is priceless. It has never been bought. It can never be bought. It will never be bought.” Read more here
1.30 pm: Welcome to our live blog on Rahul Gandhi visit to Gujarat. Leaders of political parties have been descending upon the state ahead of the Assembly elections later this year. Rahul Gandhi has just arrived in Ahmedabad, and will hold a public meeting in Gandhinagar later in the day.
(With inputs from ENS and agencies)