PARDI: Invoking the 'Mahabharata', Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today likened his party to the triumphant Pandavas who would vanquish the Kauravas of the BJP in the battle between "truth and falsehood" in the Gujarat Assembly elections.
The Congress vice president, on the campaign trail in Gujarat, where the BJP has used a blend of its signature Hindutva with development to rule for close to two decades without a break, has visited temples and often referred to Hindu scriptures to blunt the saffron party's accusation of Muslim appeasement.
"The fight here is between truth and falsehood. The Kauravas had a huge army, weapons, while the Pandavas only had truth on their side and nothing else. I would like to tell you that we only have truth with us and nothing else.
"Durodhayana and Arjun both went to Krishna ahead of the Mahabharata war. Krishna advised (Kauravas) to give just five villages to the Pandavas to avoid a war. However, Duryodhana, who had power and a big army, declined to give even that (leading to war)," Gandhi told a gathering at Pardi in Valsad district.
The 47-year-old Congress vice president today visited Sri Ranchhod Temple in Kosamba town of Valsad district, and paid obeisance at the shrine dedicated to Lord Krishna, a key character in the Mahabharata who acted as a friend, philosopher and guide to the Pandavas.
Gandhi started his Gujarat campaign with a visit to the Dwarkadheesh temple in Saurashtra in September. During his tour of Central Gujarat last month, the Congress leader again visited several temples.
Congress leaders have been saying that temple visits and references to ancient scriptures are an attempt by Gandhi at sending out a message that his party is not against Hindus.
Gandhi once again targeted the BJP government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issues of demonetisation, GST and unemployment.
Modi has failed to provide jobs to youth. Instead of creating two crore jobs every year as promised by him, only one lakh jobs are being generated a year, he said.
"The truth of Gujarat is unemployment among youth, difficulties being faced by farmers, costly private education and health care, corruption and theft of land and water.
"The entire country will tell you that note ban was a blunder and GST was a mistake, but the government is not ready to understand," Gandhi said.
Gandhi once again raked up the issue of huge growth in the turnover of a company owned by Jay Shah, the son of BJP president Amit Shah, after the saffron party came to power at the Centre.
"Modiji told you 'na khaoonga na khaane doonga' (I will not engage in corruption myself, nor allow others). But Jay Shah's company's turnover rose from Rs 50,000 to Rs 80 crore in a jiffy."
Jay Shah has denied any wrongdoing and called the report about his company in news portal 'The Wire' "malicious and defamatory". He has filed criminal and civil defamation cases against the portal.
"Modiji says I am a chowkidar (watchman). If you are truly a chowkidar, then inquire about it (the company's functioning). If you do not get it inquired, you are not a chowkidar but a bhagidar ( participant)," he said.
Taking a swipe at Modi over his monthly radio programme 'Mann ki baat', the Congress leader said,"I will not tell you my 'mann ki baat' but listen to yours."
Earlier he met farmers at an event organised by the Gujarat Khedut Samaj, an outfit of cultivators. They raised a host of issues faced by them, including land acquisition laws in the state.
Gandhi said the manner in which land is being acquired from farmers in the state is "authoritarian". He said the Congress, if voted to power in Gujarat, will take into account their concerns before making laws for land acquisition.