A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as Congress president and called it “Aurangzeb raaj”, Rahul hit back saying the Prime Minister spends most part of his speeches slamming him and the Congress party and does not talk about the future of Gujarat.
Campaigning for the first time in Kutch after the announcement of elections, Rahul said: “Yesterday, I saw (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji’s (election rally) speech. From what I saw, Modiji talked about the Congress party and me for 60 per cent of the speech…that Congress party is this, Congress party is that… But we are not here to talk about them (BJP). We are here to talk about future of Gujarat. This election is about just one thing, and that is the future of the people of Gujarat. And in his entire speech, Modiji did not talk about your future, as to what the BJP wants to do for you in future.”
Rahul, who is set to take over the reins of his party, said the Prime Minister was not talking about his party’s future vision for Gujarat because the reality of “Modi model” of development was far removed from what existed on the ground. “You (people of Gujarat) told me things that are different from what was told by the BJP. This is why Narendra Modiji only talks about the Congress party for 60 per cent of his speech,” he added. Promising to immediately bring Narmada waters to Kutch, Rahul said that the Congress manifesto, which was released on Monday, “is not merely a manifesto, but the voice of Gujarat”.
“We want to ease your pain. I assure you that the Congress chief minister will take decisions only after consulting farmers, businessmen. We will not take decisions like Gabbar Singh Tax on our own,” he said, referring to the Centre’s implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Rahul, who arrived at the venue on a camel cart, apologised for the delay, citing inclement weather. Addressing the packed Town Hall ground, Rahul said in lighter vein, “Yesterday, my sister came (Priyanka Vadra Gandhi) to my house. She came to the kitchen and said everything here is Gujarati, like Gujarati fafda, Gujarati moongfali (peanuts) and Gujarati achaar (pickles).. Aap logo ne meri aadat bigaad di hai. Mera vajan badh gaya hai (You have spoiled my habit, I have gained weight)”. The crowd cheered.
The Congress leader also attacked the Prime Minister over his silence on the reported jump in the revenue of the company owned by BJP president’s son, Jay Shah. “Everybody knows Amit Shah in Gujarat, but don’t know what is the reason that right under Modiji’s watch Amit Shah’s son turns Rs 50,000 into Rs 80 crore, and the chowkidar (watchman) of this country doesn’t ask a question,” Rahul said, referring to PM’s claim that he will be the watchman of the country and won’t allow any corruption during his 2014 Lok Sabha campaign.
Rahul’s meetings in Morbi and Surendranagar districts on Tuesday, and Narmada, Tapi and Dang districts on Wednesday were cancelled due to cyclone Ockhi. In Morbi, around 3,000 people had gathered to hear Rahul when they were informed that he could not make it.