Congress President Rahul Gandhi today claimed moral victory even as he said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing a credibility problem. Launching a scathing attack at the Prime Minister over Gujarat election results, Gandhi said BJP’s propaganda failed. Terming BJP’s Gujarat model a PR stunt, Gandhi said that Congress managed to give a massive jolt to BJP. Gandhi’s stinging attack comes a day after Gujarat results came out and BJP successfully managed to retain power. “3-4 months back when we went to Gujarat it was said that Congress cannot fight BJP, 3-4 months we did hard work and you have seen the results BJP has suffered a massive jolt,” Gandhi said during media briefing. “I got to know that people in Gujarat do not approve of Modi Ji’s model, the marketing & propaganda is very good but it is hollow from the inside, they could not answer our campaign,” Gandhi added.
The BJP fought off a strong challenge from Rahul Gandhi-led Congress to win the Gujarat assembly polls for the sixth straight time today, and also wrested power from the Congress in Himachal Pradesh with a close to two-thirds majority. The twin victories tightened BJP’s grip over the country’s politics that saw Congress lose one more state with general elections only 18 months away. Still, the euphoria in the BJP camp was tempered by the lower-than-expected margin of victory in Gujarat — it took 99 seats in the 182-member assembly, down from 115 it won in 2012, and far lower than the 150-plus seats it had hoped for.
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#LIVE — PM has credibility issues, he has been exposed in Gujarat. Yes, we lost but Gujarat’s people taught me not to stoop low even if the opposition is ruthless: Congress President Rahul Gandhi pic.twitter.com/Rn55c0wmUJ
— News18 (@CNNnews18) December 19, 2017
The Congress won 77, up by 16 seats at the end of counting of votes in the Gujarat polls tonight that was marked by acrimonious exchanges and rhetoric during the high octane campaign. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the party’s victory in Gujarat–where it has been continuously in power since 1998 –as “unprecedented”, noting that retaining office was once considered a huge achievement in the country. PM Modi also said the win in Gujarat this time was not ‘samanya’ (normal) but ‘asamanya’ (special).
He accused the Congress of promoting casteism in the elections, and said there were “many forces at work” besides the opposition party to bring the BJP down. “In their hunger for power, some people tried to sow the seeds of casteism in the last few months for the elections. The people rejected it,” he said.
Gujarat is a prestigious trophy for the BJP given that both Modi and BJP President Amit Shah hail from the state. The two leaders personally led a high-pitched campaign to counter Gandhi, who grew in influence with well chosen homilies, one-liners and clever barbs to target the BJP on issues such as GST, corruption and development. The elections, especially the Gujarat polls, became a virtual trailer for the next Lok Sabha elections, which should be held before May 2019.