AHMEDABAD: With just one day left for electioneering for the second phase of the Gujarat elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to play mind games with the Opposition, claiming that the Congress had admitted defeat in the first phase of the polls as it had been levelling allegations of EVM tampering. The prime minister also made a strong bid to defend the BJP’s pro-poor credentials, in a clear attempt to ward off efforts by the Congress to breach the saffron citadel in the state.
Addressing three rallies in Patan, Nadiad, Modi sought to up the ante in the poll battle against the Congress a day after levelling allegations of Opposition leaders conniving with Pakistan to interfere in the Gujarat elections.
“The Congress has lost the first phase of the elections. They aren’t even contesting the second phase of the elections, knowing the strength of the BJP. They are now resorting to excuses to cover up their impending defeat, by casting aspersions on EVMs,” said Modi in Patan. The prime minister’s assertions came on the day Patidar leader Hardik Patel held a well-attended roadshow in Ahmedabad despite the police not giving permission for the event.
Seemingly on the defensive, for the second day in a row Modi sought to highlight the BJP government’s pro-poor credentials, asking during the Patan rally if the electricity being supplied to the people was benefiting them or the Ambanis and Tatas. He was apparently responding to Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi’s assertion that the Modi government had been benefiting corporates at the expense of the poor.
Mounting an attack on Gandhi, Modi questioned his understanding of agriculture, quipping that the Opposition leader had claimed that potatoes could be manufactured. “Our farmers work hard to grow potatoes. But the Opposition leader believes that they can be manufactured. There will be no need to grow,” Modi joked. He added that the Congress leader’s basic knowledge of agriculture was very poor. Incidentally, regions that will vote in the second phase of the Gujarat elections have farmers in strong numbers.
The Congress President-elect also held three rallies in the state and sought to counter Modi’s apparent attempts to create doubts among voters about the prospect of the Opposition party.
In Gandhinagar, Rahul said during a rally that the Congress was winning the Gujarat polls and the prime minister, who was unnerved, was resorting to falsehoods.Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of corruption, saying he was waiting to hear from the latter on the issue.
“The list is long,” tweeted Gandhi, while referring to the alleged scams related to the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, power companies, the metro project and Jay Shah, the son of BJP president Amit Shah.
Meanwhile, Modi congratulated Rahul Gandhi on his election to the post of Congress president.
Modi will be visiting Ambaji temple in Banaskantha on Tuesday morning on a seaplane, and he will return to Ahmedabad travelling by water, on the Sabarmati river.Polling for the first phase was held on December 9, while the second phase of polling is scheduled for December 14.