BJP chief Amit Shah today attacked Rahul Gandhi for questioning the "Gujarat development model" and accused the Congress of meting out injustice to the state as he virtually launched the campaign for the crucial assembly polls from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's native place.
Mr Shah paid tributes to Sardar Patel at his ancestral home in Karamsad along with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel before launching the 'Gujarat Gaurav Yatra' (march for honour) to highlight the state's achievements during the two decades of BJP rule.
The then chief minister Narendra Modi had taken out a yatra
with the same name before the 2002 Gujarat Assembly elections. The road show, being held in run up to assembly elections due in December this year, will cover central Gujarat in its first leg.
Addressing the gathering, Mr Shah accused the Congress of inflicting "injustice" on Gujarat, generation after generation, and said that in the upcoming Assembly election, the people of the state will make fun of those who "mock Gujarat's development".
"The BJP today launches Gujarat Gaurav Yatra from the same land of Sardar Patel from where he raised the voice of the farmers and started the work to unify the country," he said.
Referring to Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's recent campaign tour to Saurashtra, Mr Shah said, "Rahul Gandhi comes here and seeks answer from us as to what has the BJP done in the state. We are seeking an answer from you for injustices that the three generations of your rule inflicted on us," the BJP president said.
While the first generation of Congress "insulted" Sardar Patel by not giving him his due recognition and Bharat Ratna, former Congress Prime Minister "Indira Gandhi did injustice to Morarji Desai," Mr Shah alleged.
"The third generation of (Congress leaders) Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have done injustice to Narendra Modi, and Gujarat seeks answer for that," he said.
As Mr Shah began his speech, a group of men from the Patidar community in the audience tried to raise some slogans in favour of the Patel quota agitation, but they were whisked away by the police personnel present there.
Mr Shah also enumerated various achievements of the BJP-led governments in the state. He compared the situation in Gujarat in 1995, when the BJP wrested power from the Congress, and what the state had achieved till 2017 on yardsticks such as power generation, farm production, education, police, road infrastructure, among others.
"When Narendra Modi was the chief minister, he created a Gujarat development model which has today become a model for the entire country. This model is Gujarat's pride," he said.
He said PM Modi ensured 24X7 electricity, water through Narmada dam and investments through Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
The "Sonia-Manmohan Singh" government in UPA's 10-year rule inflicted great injustice on Gujarat by holding up Narmada dam project, he alleged.
But with PM Modi becoming the Prime Minister, he gave approval to increase height of the dam, the BJP president said.
"The gates (of the Narmada dam) are closed and water has started reaching till Rajasthan," he said.
Mr Shah said Gujarat got All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), bullet train among others after Mr Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister.
The second leg of the Gujarat Gaurav Yatra will be launched by Shah tomorrow from Porbandar, the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi.
will go on till October 15. It will be held on two routes simultaneously.
Prime Minister Modi and Mr Shah will remain present for the concluding ceremony of the yatra
, the place for which is yet to be decided.