Resuming his campaign for the Gujarat Assembly polls after inaugurating the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held four marathon rallies (in Morbi, Prachi, Palitana and Navsari) and attacked the Congress over a wide range of issues, including Narmada water project, Doklam issue, One-Rank, One-Pension and GST.
The political scene in the state is brimming with ace leaders from every party – on Wednesday Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Patidar leader Hardik Patel and Modi campaigned in Gujarat – with just two weeks left for the first phase of the election on Decemner 9.
PM Narendra Modi in Navsari:
The Prime Minister began the last of rallies on Wednesday by harping on Congress’ dislike for Gujarat. Modi said Congress disliked Gujarat as they know they would be defeated in the upcoming polls.
“Congress dislikes Gujarat as they will be defeated here. Victory and defeat are a part of life. There was a time when our party would distribute sweets when we saved our deposits. These things happen in a democracy, Congress should not be consumed by such hatred,” he said.
The PM then went on to slam the Congress on GST, which the opposition party has made its election plank to attack the BJP. “When we remember people, we remember Mahatma Gandhi, Lord Buddha, Sardar Patel, Netaji Bose, Bhagat Singh, but they remember Gabbar Singh. What more can I say about their thought process,” Modi said in a dig at Rahul Gandhi labelling GST as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’.
“The Congress version of GST places salt, which an essential commodity and a need of the poor, with expensive cigarettes and alcohol. How can I allow this? Our fight is for giving the poor their rights, while Congress fights for the interests of the rich,” Modi said.
The PM also castigated the Congress for mocking the government’s pet initiatives like Swachh Bharat Mission and surgical strikes and even questioned the party on Doklam. “My question to Congress on Doklam is clear – why do you believe the Chinese and not our army and our foreign ministry,” Modi asked.
Turning his attention to the issue of corruption, Modi said due to the government’s unrelenting efforts the corrupt were languishing in jail. “Due to our efforts, the corrupt are languishing in jail. They (Congress) could also have done that but for them fighting corruption is a non-issue,” he said
The PM ended his speech by reminding people about voting for the ‘right party’. “We belong to the heirs of the fakir Gandhi. And they are the Gandhi varisdar who are born with a golden spoon.They do not know how it feels to walk barefoot and have a stone or thorn hurt your feet. It is upto you to choose which Gandhi you want. The fakir or the one with the golden spoon,” he said.
PM Narendra Modi in Palitana:
In Palitana, the PM highlighted the development works done by his government and spoke about the Alang shipyard in Bhavnagar district, which is the world’s biggest ship breaking yard. “Alang was discussed for the first time after we (BJP) sat in Delhi. When the Japan PM met me I was thinking of Alang. Earlier prime ministers had not even heard of Alang,” he said.
The Congress had vehemently crticised the Centre’s plans to set up facilities for bullet train in partnership with Japan in the state. “Japan has assured us that it will help with developing Alang in terms of technology. They will give us financial assistance. Think of how many job opportunities it will create. If this is not Vikas then what is,” Modi said.
Calling Congress anti-development, Modi said, “They hate development, they hate Gujarat, they hate Modi and now they hate sweat also. That is because they have never had to sweat it out in life and work hard. They are mocking everyone who works hard. This is their mindset. Such hatred for the poor is shocking,” the PM said.
PM Narendra Modi in Prachi:
At his rally in Prachi, Modi hit out at Congress’ hobnobbing with the OBC community and asked why the party did not give constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. “Congress is seeking votes of the OBC communities but they should answer why they did not allow OBC Commission to get Constitutional Status for all these years. We brought in the move, it was passed by the Lok Sabha but stalled in the Rajya Sabha, where Congress has majority. We want to give our OBC communities their due,” Modi said.
The PM also castigated the Grand Old Party for sitting on the One Rank-One Pension scheme and said only when the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were approaching, they announced a meagre Rs 500 crore for it. “I want to ask the Congress. What is it that you have against our army? The demand for OROP was pending for 40 long years. When elections were approaching, they announced a meagre Rs. 500 crore for OROP when the real requirement was a lot higher,” the PM said.
PM Narendra Modi in Morbi:
At his first rally in Morbi, PM Narendra Modi slammed Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for labelling GST as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ and said those who looted the country could only think of dacoits. “Those who have looted the country can only think of dacoits,” Modi said at his first rally of the day in Morbi. On Rahul’s Gabbar Singh Tax jibe, Modi dubbed his demand of keeping a uniform 18 per cent GST as ‘Grand Stupid Thought’.
Morbi, which falls in the drought-prone Saurashtra region, has had a long history of water crisis and the PM took upon the issue to woo the voters in the region. “The main issue in Kutch and Saurashtra when we came to power was water shortage. Lack of adequate water was affecting society. The BJP government changed this and got waters of the Narmada to these regions,” he said.
Modi accused the Congress of taking credit and political mileage over schemes like providing hand-pumps and said the BJP government brought the Narmada project for the benefit of the people. “The Congress’ development model was giving hand-pumps. For BJP it is the SAUNI scheme (the Narmada water project for Saurashtra region), where we will fill dams of Saurashtra through huge pipelines,” he said.