Stating that the Gujarat election was a fight between Congress’s “casteism and dynastic rule” and Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s “developmental politics”, BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday asked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to make his stand clear on Rohingya Muslim refugees as well as on the issue of autonomy for Jammu & Kashmir.
Addressing a rally at Gulistan Maidan in Bhavnagar, Shah said that Rahul Gandhi and the Congress should state what the situation was in Kashmir when the Congress was in power. “Terrorists killed our soldiers and people with impunity during their (UPA’s) rule… But we conducted a surgical strike. Our soldiers entered Pakistani territory, killed them and came back,” Shah said as he accused Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram of demanding autonomy for Kashmir.
“Rahul Gandhi should make his stand clear whether he supports Chidambaram’s demand for autonomy for Kashmir. People of Gujarat should ask him when he comes here next,” he said. Shah also targeted Congress leaders on the issue of Rohingya Muslim refugees. “P Chidambaram and Shashi Tharoor have written to the Prime Minister that they (Rohingya Muslims) should be allowed to enter India… The people of Gujarat should ask the Congress to state its position on the refugee issue. Can India play with its internal security? Can India compromise its security? The people of Gujarat should ask the Congress to make its stand clear on Rohingya Muslims,” he said. The Centre wants to deport the refugees from India, while the Congress has urged the government to involve all parties and formulate a policy on the issue, he said.
Shah also took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi, saying his visits to Gujarat had increased as he thought that the state was a “tourist spot”. “Rahul Gandhi thinks that this is a tourist spot. He is coming here quite often. If he comes here, he should know the facts about the state. In 2013, the Manmohan Singh government gave only Rs 63,000 crore to Gujarat. After Narendra Modi came to power in Delhi, he gave bullet train, he gave the ‘Ro-Ro’ ferry service, he gave the international airport (for the Saurashtra region) and he resolved all the pending problems that Gujarat had with the Centre… We ensured that water from the Narmada reached areas such as Botad and Khavda. Under BJP, the output of vegetables and cotton has increased,” he said.
Stating that the Gujarat election will “determine the future direction of the country”, he said: “From 1985 to 1995 it was casteism that had gripped Gujarat, and from 1995-2017 it was development. This election is about deciding between these two options. The election is about deciding whether we want jativad (casteism) or vikasvad (development politics), whether we want vanshvad (dynastic rule) or vikasvad.” Shah added that the Congress had tried to create a caste divide by putting the KHAM theory into practice.
KHAM, an acronym for Kshatriyas, Harijans, Adivasis (tribals) and Muslims, was often seen as a potent vote block. “The issues that the Congress is fighting the elections is very clear. They have no other agenda except opposing Prime Minister Modi. BJP’s agenda is progress of all,” he said.
with inputs from PTI