From the speeches of PM Narendra Modi to those of Congress VP Rahul Gandhi, one thing is clear – the BJP and the Congress are at daggers drawn in their bid to retain and grab power respectively in the state. Neither of the two parties is taking backward steps in the rhetoric they have been using over the past month or so during campaigning. This has served to confuse the public and it is asking what the poll is really about, the 2 political parties, or the future welfare and progress of the people. Well, seeking to put all speculation to rest is PM Modi who revealed what really the Bharatiya Janata Party will be bringing to the people of Gujarat. While addressing a gathering in Vadodara, Modi, said, “These elections are about the Vikas agenda of BJP versus the destructive politics of the Congress.” Explaining further, PM said, “My government is for the poor. I can’t understand the lies Congress keeps saying. When we build a state of the art bus terminus for Vadodara, do we do it because Mukesh Ambani, Tata or Birla use it? No, we make this to serve the poor.” Listing another example, PM added, “We give gas connections… are Ambanis, Adanis and Tatas the beneficiaries? No, the poor are. Congress should stop their lies and focus on development issues.”
He slammed the rival party by saying, “When our soldiers were fighting in Doklam, Congress leaders were meeting Chinese Ambassador. When asked why he said – to get a sense of what is happening in Doklam. Now, you tell me – in such times should we trust our authorities more or the Chinese.”
Earlier, in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today alleged Pakistan was interfering in Gujarat Assembly polls and sought an explanation from the Congress over its top partymen. “There were media reports yesterday about a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, India’s former vice president and former prime minister Manmohan Singh,” PM Modi said. PM Modi added that Pakistan wants Ahmed Patel as the next chief minister of Gujarat. “(On one side) Pakistan Army’s former DG is interfering in Gujarat’s election, on the other side, Pakistan’s people are holding a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi openly criticized PM Narendra Modi for ignoring the needs of the common people. Rahul attacked PM Modi saying that he is only obsessed with himself and doesn’t care about the common people of the country. “Kal maine Modi Ji ka bhaashan suna. Usmein Modi Ji ne 90% Modi Ji ki baat ki. (I heard PM Modi’s speech yesterday where 90% of his speech was only about him). Rahul wasn’t behind in pointing out that the Prime Minister has nothing to say about the disaster caused by demonetisation or GST.
It must be noted that ahead of the first phase of polling in Gujarat, BJP released its election manifesto with a slew of promises for various sections of society, which included a resolve to “double” farmers’ income through various means, such as cheap fertilisers and seeds, better irrigation, proper Minimum Support Prices and (access to) food processing. The party also promises to increase the pension for widows at regular intervals. On the health front, the ruling party said its government will open more generic medicine shops and introduce mobile clinics and laboratories, apart from making Gujarat free of vector-borne diseases. Without specifying a timeframe or giving numbers, the party manifesto boasts to convert villages into “smart villages”. It also promises to construct toilets in every house in rural Gujarat. For urban centres, the BJP promised timely implementation of Smart City projects and construction of multi-level parking lots.
The second phase of polling in the north and central Gujarat, including the Banaskantha district, will be held on December 14.