The BJP has come out with a fresh rebuttal to the “Vikas gando thayo chhe” campaign that features Gujarati film actor Hitu Kanodiya. The video campaign is on the BJP Gujarat’s official Twitter page. Another video doing the rounds is a tweak of the Mauka Mauka ad during the 2015 World Cup. Although some BJP leaders have retweeted the video, the party has said it has nothing to do with its making.
In the BJP’s “Vikas” rebuttal, Hitu, the son of former BJP MLA Naresh Kanodia, is seen lecturing a group of youngsters questioning development in Gujarat.
સશક્તિકરણ, રોજગાર, ખેતી ક્ષેત્રે સર્વાંગી વિકાસ થકી આગળ વધતું દેશનું એક માત્ર રાજ્ય એટલે ગુજરાત… હું છું વિકાસ, હું છું ગુજરાત. pic.twitter.com/jHIuMdIypL
— BJP (@BJP4India) October 19, 2017
In the three-minute video, Hitu tells the group that the place where they were sitting was a “sign of development”. He goes on to cite progress indicators such as electricity and digitisation. The clip ends with the youths clapping for Kanodiya who says: “Hun chhu Vikas, Hun chhu Gujarat (I am Vikas, I am Gujarat)”.
The “Vikas gando thayo chhe (Vikas has gone crazy)” campaign was started by a Patidar youth and it found support in Patidar leader Hardik Patel and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
The head of Gujarat BJP’s social media cell, Amit Thaker, said: “We have decided to completely ignore the negativity attached with that campaign (Vikas has gone crazy) and to focus on the positive aspects of development under the party’s governance in Gujarat. This Mauka Mauka video (the cricket match video) is not part of BJP’s campaign, but has come from within the public.”
However, party sources said that the Mauka Mauka video, which compares a Pakistan fan’s fate with that of the Congress after the election, is very much a creation of the BJP’s social media cell and more such videos would appear in the social media in the coming days.
“Its content itself is evident that its a creation of the BJP. And yes, it is beginning of an aggressive campaign that the party has decided to launch against the ‘Vikas has gone crazy’ campaign. As the elections come closer, the campaign will become more aggressive,” says a senior BJP worker.
Another senior BJP worker said: “The Congress has shot all the arrows from its quiver now. It is our turn now. We were silent so far against the ‘Vikas’ campaign as the elections were far away. Now, as less than two months are left, we will launch an offensive against the campaign.”
In the Mauka Mauka video during the World Cup, Pakistani fans were seen dejected at not being able to burst crackers they had stocked to celebrate a Pakistani win in the World Cup. In the tweaked video, the T-Shirts of the fans unable to celebrate, read “Congress”.
Intermittently, there are also shots of Rahul Gandhi looking distressed and dejected.
The video was retweeted or commented upon by prominent BJP leaders such as Union minister Smriti Irani, the BJP’s head of foreign affairs department Vijay Chauthaiwale and the party’s national head of information and technology Amit Malaviya.
The head of the Gujarat Congress’s IT cell Rohan Gupta said the BJP’s social media campaign would not make any impact.
“If you look at the ‘Vikas has gone crazy’ campaign and their latest video (the tweaked Mauka Mauka video), the latter is derogatory and targets the Congress individually. We are raising issues based on facts and figures, without any derogatory message against anybody. So, such campaigns will not succeed…. We will continue our social media campaign (without getting bothered about such campaigns),” he said.