Ahead of the second phase of the Gujarat Elections 2017, newly elected Congress President Rahul Gandhi opened up on the Gujarat polls, in an interview, with a private Gujarati channel. During the interview, he shared an emotional moment that he went through during his election campaign in Gujarat. He narrated an incident that happened with him during one of his temple visits. He said that after he completed his prayers, a ‘pujari’ came down to him and gave him a shawl. When Rahul Gandhi thanked him for the gesture, the pujari replied saying that the shawl isn’t for you but for his (pujari’s) daughter. Pujari’s response shocked Rahul and he questioned the pujari that if the shawl is for his daughter then why is he giving it to him. To this, the pujari gave a response that won Rahul’s heart and made him emotional. The pujari said that the shawl is for his daughter Sonia (Sonia Gandhi). Acknowledging the fatherly love of pujari, Rahul asked whether he would like to speak to ‘his daughter’ and proceeded to immediately call her up on his phone. He explained the story to Sonia and she spoke to the pujari. Rahul recounts that the pujari was in tears while talking to his mother. The exchange was a touching one, the way Gandhi recited it.
On being asked about his ‘temple-run’, Rahul responded by asking why is BJP afraid of him going to temples. He also said that visiting temples is his personal choice. Launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul said, “Half of Modiji’s speeches are on Congress. The political discourse has to be clean and not dirty despite having ideological differences. I told Mani Shankar Aiyar such language can’t be used against a PM.”
In the interview, he also blamed BJP for not being able to provide employment to the youth of Gujarat. Lashing out at the incumbent BJP government in the state, he said that the present government is only interested in telling its ‘Mann Ki Baat’ but isn’t concerned about what is people’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’. He said, “This time I felt there’s a lot of anger in people of Gujarat. The BJP could not deliver the vision they promised. It is a one-sided battle. The sentiment has completely changed.” Highlighting the disruption caused by the note ban and demonetisation, he said the present government has completely destroyed the medium and small-scale enterprises. He said that if Congress comes to power, it will ensure that the business community of Gujarat doesn’t suffer. Underscoring that his sole focus is on the Gujarat polls, Rahul accused BJP of lacking a vision for the development of the state.
Gujarat elections are being touted as the semi-final before 2019 general elections. Votes will be counted on December 18. For Congress, it’s vice president Rahul Gandhi has led the campaign for his party from the front. While for the BJP, PM Narendra Modi has taken charge of the campaign in the state.