The BJP today described Gujarat OBC leader Alpesh Thakore’s decision to join the Congress as “drama”, claiming he was already a member of the party, and said Rahul Gandhi had “reduced himself to a gimmick” with such “desperate” tactics. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here that Thakore was a member of the NSUI, the Congress’s student wing, and had contested a panchayat poll on a party ticket earlier. “A big claim is being made that a major leader has joined the party (Congress). I have often accused Rahul Gandhi of not doing his homework but it seems even his scriptwriter is not doing his homework,” Prasad said. He called the Congress “dramabaaz party number one” (number one party in dramatics) and said its actions reminded him of Hindi films such as ‘Coolie No. 1’ or ‘Aunty No. 1’. Thakore’s father was also a district president of the Congress in Gujarat, he said. After facing repeated defeats and being out of power in the state for over 22 years, the Congress had become so desperate that Rahul Gandhi had “reduced himself to a gimmick”, the Union minister said.
Prasad described as “baseless” and “scandalous” the Congress’s attack on the Election Commission for not announcing the Gujarat poll schedule. “It is a settled position that the Model Code of Conduct is in force for 45 days,” he said. The polls are expected in December. Taking a dig at the Congress over its campaign built around young leaders such as Thakore joining hands with Gandhi, Prasad referred to the Congress vice president’s tie up with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in the UP assembly polls, and with Omar Abdullah in the Jammu and Kashmir election. “He has not learnt from his experience in these polls,” Prasad said, referring to the Congress defeat in the elections.
Prasad also dismissed the claims of Narendra Patel, an associate of Patidar leader Hardik Patel, that the BJP had offered him Rs 1 crore to join the party. “Patel claims to have been offered Rs 1 crore but has shown only Rs 10 lakh,” Prasad said, adding that the matter was fishy. This is also part of the drama, he said, and accused the Congress of practising such inducements.
He referred to the alleged cash for vote scandal in Parliament when some BJP members had shown in the Lok Sabha wads of cash, allegedly offered to them to vote in favour of the UPA government during a floor test in 2008. Then Speaker Meira Kumar had not taken the matter up with the required seriousness, he alleged. Asked about the display of Rs 10 lakh in cash by Patel when rules prohibit cash transactions of more than Rs 2 lakh, he said the issue could be looked into. “Lies, corruption and negligence of development have been the history of the Congress,” he said.
Accusing the party of obstructing Gujarat’s progress, he said it did not provide environmental clearance for a ferry service, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday, when it was in power at the Centre. Rejecting Gandhi’s criticism of the government over its economic and development policies, he said the Congress vice president did not understand the dynamics of either of them. “These are issues alien to him,” he said. He also dismissed charges against BJP president Amit Shah’s son, over his business transactions. “All allegations against him are false and part of a motivated campaign,” he said.