Gujarat election 2017: Gujarat is all set to go to polls on December 9 and December 14. As expected, much drama was seen during the election campaign – led by PM Narendra Modi for Bharatiya Janata Party and by Rahul Gandi for Congress. The Gujarat elections were different this time due to a number of reasons, making two national parties run high-profile campaigns. For Rahul Gandhi, it was a battle to prove his mettle before elevation to president post. While for Modi, who is at the peek of his political career, it was a matter of prestige to win his home state – the land which wrote his story – again. As it happens during polls – good, bad and ugly statements were made by politicians, forcing the Election Commission to intervene when the parties crossed limits to woo voters. The election campaign even saw some dirty tricks play – such as the circulation of alleged Hardik Patel-sex CD and communal video. While there were a number of events which made the headlines, here’s a compilation of 10 highlights of the campaign:
– Mani Shankar Aiyar’s Neech remark: Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar sparked a massive controversy as he used the term ‘neech’ for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Aiyar’s remark drew four-corner criticism. Soon after the statement, PM Modi hit back at Aiyar and called the statement an outcome of ‘Mughal mindset’. Later, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi asked Aiyar to issue an apology. However, Aiyar tried to cover up and said that he didn’t mean to hurt sentiment. Later in the day, Congress suspended Aiyar for his remarks.
– No use of Pappu: In a big decision, the Election Commission barred the ruling BJP in Gujarat from using the word “Pappu” in an electronic advertisement. The advertisement apparently targeted Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and EC termed is “derogatory”. “Pappu” is perceived as a social media slur coined to target Gandhi.
– Modi’s Gujarat ka Beta pitch: PM Narendra Modi, in apparent attempt to draw a reference to the point Rahul Gandhi is a non-Gujarati, said that Opposition is targeting a ‘Gujarat’s son’ with false allegations in order to win Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017. “They are coming to Gujarat and spreading lies about a son of Gujarat. Earlier they did that with Sardar Patel also. Gujarat will never accept this. No Gujarati will accept the lies that they are spreading,” Modi said.
– Gabbar Singh Tax: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi stepped up attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and dubbed Goods and Services Tax as “BJP’s Gabbar Singh Tax.” Addressing a rally, Gandhi said, “The government ignored all our suggestions on GST and introduced it with celebrations at midnight. In their GST, there is the highest 28% tax and three return forms that makes the GST Gabbar Singh Tax.”
– Grand Stupid Thought: Modi too issued a classic rebuttal to Gandhi’s much talked about Gabbar Singh Tax Jibe. While addressing a rally in Gujarat’s Morbi, Modi said those who have looted India all their lives can remember only dacoits. “Under their grand stupid thoughts they want basic necessities of the poor to be taxed at 18%. At the same time they want cigarettes and alcohol to be cheaper. What logic is this,” PM Modi said.
– ‘Aurangzeb raj’: PM Narendra Modi termed Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the post of Congress chief as ‘Aurangzeb Raj’. He also questioned the Congress’ silence on Muslim vote bank. Modi, citing a comment of Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, said: “Mani Shankar Aiyar, who never shies away from showing loyalty to one family, proudly said: Was there any election when Shahzahan took Jahangir’s place? Was there any election when Aurangzeb took Shahzahan’s place?”
– Fight for the ‘real’ Hindutva party: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the BJP has always been a pro-Hindutva party. His comments were an attempt to attack the Congress and its leader, Rahul Gandhi, as the latter was making visits to popular temples in Gujarat. “BJP has always been seen as a pro-Hindutva party. So if an original is available, why one would prefer a clone?” Jaitley had said.
– Rahul Gandhi as non-Hindu! A massive controversy erupted when Rahul Gandhi’s name was allegedly mentioned in the register meant for non-Hindu visitors entering Somnath Temple. BJP leaders asked Gandhi to issue a clarification on his religion. Later, the Somnath Mandir trust issued a clarification and cleared the air on the matter.
– Congress’ ‘chaiwala’ barb: A tweet by Official Handle Of Indian Youth Congress’s online magazine ‘Yuva Desh’ showed PM Modi, US President Donald Trump and UK PM Theresa May having a conversation. While Modi was shown saying “You have seen what kind of ‘me me’ opposition makes on me”, Trump says “Its not pronounced ‘me me’ but ‘meem’ and May is shown telling Modi ‘Tu Chai Bech’ (You sell tea.) Later, Congress issued an apology and deleted the tweet.
– Gujarat mange Jawaab: Gandhi ran an exclusive twitter campaign – ‘Gujarat Mange Jawab’. In the campaign, Gandhi asked 1 question daily to Modi in poetic tone. So far, Congress boss has asked nine such questions.
– Hardik Patel-sex CD row: The chief of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Hardik Patel, found himself in a controversy where a sleaze video, allegedly fearing him became viral on the social media. However, Hardik Patel said that the CD which allegedly shows him and a girl in a hotel room is morphed. He also blamed the BJP government for leaking such a video. “Such stunts are expected from BJP as we near the elections,” says the Patidar leader.