Countering the BJP attack, Congress leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday alleged that by calling them a party of Pakistan, the BJP was insulting great freedom fighters like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Addressing an election meeting in Porbandar before Congress candidate Lalit Vasoya filed his nomination papers for Porbandar Lok Sabha seat, Hardik said the attack by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Congress is in essence an attack on the stalwarts who led the freedom struggle of the country.
“Rupani, who is a Made in Burma, probably doesn’t know who all have served as Congress presidents. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the creator of a unified India, and Subhash Chandra Bose have served as Congress presidents. Lala Lajpat Rai, Abul Kalam Azad and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru have also served as Congress chiefs. The BJP is insulting such great Freedom fighters by calling them Pakistan. From this land of Mahatma Gandhi… I call on every Gujarati and Indian to join us in the campaign to drive away those people from Gujarat who are insulting Sardar Patel, Mahatma, Subhash Chandara Bose and Lala Lajpat Rai,” said the Patidar quota leader who had joined Congress last month.
Rupani, who was born in Burma, now Myanmar, and other senior BJP leaders have been accusing the Congress of speaking the “language of Pakistan” as leaders like Sam Pitroda are seeking more information about Balakot airstrikes. The BJP also has been terming questions on the success of the strikes as an insult of Indian armed forces.
Addressing an election meeting in Rajokt on Tuesday, Rupani had said that the ensuing Lok Sabha elections were a contest between Hindustan and Pakistan.
Hardik went on to say that should the BJP manage to win this Lok Sabha election, its leaders would not allow further polls in the country as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah would become all-powerful. “A short while ago, I was passing by the BJP office here (in Porbandar). They have constructed a wonderful office. They have wonderfully displayed photographs of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Every hoarding displays their arrogance, suggesting they would not allow any future election in the country if they manage to form the government in 2019,” he said.
Hardik’s remarks come a day after the Supreme Court refused to give urgent hearing to his petition challenging a Gujarat High Court order, which had refused to stay his conviction in a rioting case. Patel, who is out on bail, had moved the HC seeking the stay so that he can contest the Lok Sabha elections. But, refusal by the HC to hear his petition immediately snuffed out his chances to contest the Parliamentary elections from Gujarat. The SC has posted the matter for Thursday, the last day of filing nomination papers for Lok Sabha election in Gujarat.
Addressing his first public meeting after the setback, Hardik alleged that the BJP government in the state tried everything within its powers to prevent him from contesting the Lok Sabha polls. ‘Now I will trouble the ruling party in all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat. The government advanced innumerable arguments in the High Court against allowing Hardik Patel to contest election. Fine, you did not allow me to contest. Had you allowed, I would have troubled you in one seat. Now, I will do that in all the 26 seats,” he said.
The 25-year-old politician said this Lok Sabha election was not about pleasing an individual, but to save the Constitution from those who are compromising it. “This election is to prevent farmers’ suicide, to give them minimum support price, to provide good education to the children of the poor living in villages and give them employment. This election is to extend healthcare even to villages…,” he said.
On the Congress manifesto promise to do away with Section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code, which treats sedition as a criminal offence, Hardik said some sections of the media are looking at that from the lense of nationalism. “There was no proposal to abolish the law related to treason. Yesterday (Tuesday), a few news channels organised debates on abolishing (the) Section related to sedition. Many people will be tense after watching that debate. We proposed to delete the Section related to sedition so that if a person launches agitation against a government to fight injustice and repression, it may not be able to misuse the Section of sedition. However, we have promised to preserve the Section related to treason to fight the traitors,” he said.