PM Modi addressed nearly 7 lakh BJP workers at the mega rally in Gujarat's Gandhinagar
Gandhinagar: Amit Shah is the man of the match of the BJP's victories, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told lakhs of cheering BJP workers today at a mega show of strength in Gandhinagar, the capital of his home state Gujarat, where assembly elections will be held soon. The Prime Minister also made a scathing attack on the Congress and the Nehru Gandhi family, alleging that "Gujarat has been an eyesore for them" and that they have always "disliked Gujarat and Gujaratis." He criticised what he called the Congress' "negative politics," challenging it to contest the Gujarat elections on the development plank.
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"Gujarat polls are round the corner and the Congress has developed fever once again. Gujarat has been an eyesore for the party and the family... they dislike Gujarat and Gujaratis," said PM Modi calling the Gujarat election a contest of "development vs dynastic politics." He said, "The party that gave so many leaders to the nation now focuses only on spreading lies. They create an atmosphere of pessimism."
PM Modi defended the new national sales tax or GST, criticised by the opposition as a major cause of an economic slowdown. "The decision to implement the reform was not that of Prime Minister Modi alone," he said, adding that nearly 30 parties were involved in framing the new tax and that "the Congress is an equal partner in GST decisions. They should not spread lies on GST."
BJP chief Amit Shah and top state leaders were on stage with the PM. Mr Shah reminded party workers that they have been set a target to win 150 of Gujarat's 182 Assembly seats in the elections. The BJP, which has been in power in Gujarat for two decades, hopes to win a record fifth time straight this year.
The PM's visit came amid Congress allegations that the Centre pressured the Election Commission into delaying announcing elections in Gujarat to allow the BJP to hand out sops. At the rally, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced interest free farm loans and a ferry service from Ghogha in Saurashtra to Dahej in South Gujarat.
"Weather report: Ahead of elections, Gujarat will today have rain of rhetoric," predicted Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi before the rally, calling it a "jumlon ki baarish," in tweets in Hindi. The Congress vice president has made frequent trips to Gujarat to campaign.
Last week the Election Commission announced assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh but not in Gujarat, which critics said deviated from the practice of announcing elections together for states whose assembly terms end close to each other - in this case two weeks apart.
The Congress has alleged that the Gujarat election dates were not announced last week because the BJP wanted to ensure that a model code of conduct, under which announcement of schemes that may influence voters is banned, would not be enforced before the PM's visit today.
The Election Commission has rejected the allegation. While announcing that elections will be held in Himachal Pradesh on November 9, the Commission said the Gujarat elections would be held before December 18, when votes are counted in the hill state.
The Prime Minister has made multiple visits to Gujarat ahead of the elections. Last week, on a two-day visit, he inaugurated various projects in Rajkot, his hometown Vadnagar, Gandhinagar and Bharuch.