'They Called Gujaratis Donkeys': PM Modi's Swipe At Congress In Surat

Gujarat Assembly Election 2017: Surat, the hub of the state's diamond cutting industry, will vote for its 16 assembly seats in next month's assembly elections. A large section of its population is Patidars

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'They Called Gujaratis Donkeys': PM Modi's Swipe At Congress In Surat

Gujarat Assembly Election 2017: Narendra Modi launched his campaign with a rally in Bhuj.

Ahmedabad:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who started his campaign blitz in Gujarat on Monday with an appeal to the Congress not to mock his "poor origins", invoked the "Gujarati Asmita" - Gujarati pride - to launch another scathing attack on the opposition party in Surat.

Referring to a comment made in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh elections, the Prime Minister said, "the people who once called the Gujaratis donkeys, now have to bow at their feet".

Surat, the hub of the state's diamond cutting industry, will vote for its 16 assembly seats in next month's assembly elections. A large section of its population comprises Patidars - traditional BJP supporters -- whose leader Hardik Patel has vowed to pay back the ruling party for its lack of support for their demands of quota in jobs and education.

The 24-year-old Patel leader has come to an understanding with the Congress and though he faces some resistance from a section of his followers, there is some doubt about which way the Patidar vote will swing.

The Prime Minister, who bypassed all reference to quota, or the Goods and Services Tax, seen as a crucial issue in this election, later tweeted:
 
His reference was to a comment by then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who had used an advertisement by Gujarat Tourism to take an outrageous dig at the Prime Minister's home state.

The ad promoted Gujarat through its wild-life, showing donkeys at a sanctuary, and featured the state's brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan.  "I request the century's biggest superstar, please don't do any ad campaigns for Gujarat's gadhas (donkeys)... Gujarat's people are doing campaigns for donkeys," Mr Yadav had said while campaigning in Raebareli.

Mr Yadav's Samajwadi Party and his ally, the Congress had been flattened by the BJP in the elections. The party had won 312 of the state's 403 seats and came to power after a gap of 15 years.

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In Rajkot, the Prime Minster had attacked the Congress over a meme posted and then withdrawn by the Youth Congress on Twitter that had used his childhood tea-selling days to mock him.

"The Congress dislikes me because of my poor origins. Can a party stoop so low? Yes, a person belonging to a poor family has become PM. They do not fail to hide their contempt for this fact. Yes, I sold tea but I did not sell the nation," PM Modi said, adding, "I request the Congress not to mock the poor and my poor origins."

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