BJP chief Amit Shah Friday challenged Congress president Rahul Gandhi to debate with the president of the ruling party’s youth wing on what the country’s oldest party has done for the poor in its over the five-decade rule.
Addressing an election meeting at Chhota Udepur in Gujarat, Shah listed achievements of the Narendra Modi government and accused the Congress of creating hurdles in the path of development of BJP -ruled Gujarat.
“Rahul baba chants about the poor. Congress again raises the remove poverty (garibi hatao) slogan. For five generations and 55 years, only your family ruled the country. “Come to any crossroad in Vadodara with an account of what you did for the poor, and our youth morcha president will respond to you,” Shah said.
Shah’s dare comes against the backdrop of Gandhi on several occasions challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a debate on corruption, especially in the Rafale fighter jet deal, and demonetisation.”For five generations, you (Congress) sought votes in the name of the poor, tribals, Dalits, farmers, villagers, but did nothing for their development,” the BJP chief said.
Shah said the Modi government had taken many steps to alleviate poverty, citing examples like providing subsidized gas cylinders to seven crore families, houses to 2.5 crore people and electricity connections to 2.35 crore citizens. Shah also claimed that, as on date, 23 lakh people had been given free medical treatment under the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat health scheme.
The Congress had created hurdles in the development of Gujarat and defamed the state post the 2002 communal riots, Shah said, adding the BJP had worked to restore the pride of the state. “The BJP government has done a lot for the development of Gujarat. When Modi was CM, he did a lot for Gujarat’s development, but the Congress only created hurdles. Whenever there was a Congress government (at the Centre), it worked to suppress Gujarat,” he alleged.
“After the 2002 communal riots, the Congress worked to defame Gujarat. The BJP has always fought for the pride of Gujarat, it has worked to restore the pride of Gujarat,” he said. Shah claimed while the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru opposed Sardar Patel, a leader from Gujarat, another Congress PM Indira Gandhi opposed Morarji Desai, also from Gujarat, while former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi “used all her might to stop Narendra Bhai (Modi)”.
Shah credited the Modi government with securing the country and claimed bomb blasts were rampant under the Congress-led UPA government. He praised the Modi government for conducting air strike on terror camps in Pakistan and alleged that the Congress was siding with Islamabad on the issue. The BJP chief pointed to Congress leader Sam Pitroda’s reported statement that India should hold talks with the neighbouring country rather than bomb it for the handiwork of a few people (a reference to Pulwama terror attack).
Shah hit out at the Congress over its manifesto promise of scrapping the sedition law if voted to power and claimed the opposition party was siding with those who shouted “anti-national” slogans. “You talk about removing the sedition law, for what? Anti-national slogans were shouted in Kashmir and Narendra Modi sent them behind bars,” he said, asserting the restive northern state would never be allowed to secede from India. He said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) would ensure that all infiltrators are expelled from the country.
Listing the Modi’s government’s achievements with respect to Gujarat, Shah said it had completed work on the Narmada canal project, brought the bullet train as well as an AIIMS and railway university to the state. All the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat will vote in a single phase on April 23.