NEW DELHI: In an indication of a high-octane battle during the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday repeatedly attacked the Nehru-Gandhi family and the Congress, daring the Opposition party to contest the election on the development plank.
Addressing a massive rally at the Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan in Bhat village near Gandhinagar, Modi said he had expected the Congress “to fight this election on the issue of development, but they are not doing that” as they were scared.
“Every time there is an election, it (the Congress) will raise the issue of communalism, spread the poison of casteism. They never have the courage to contest a poll on development,” he said, throwing a challenge to the Congress.The Congress was quick to respond. “We accept the challenge. Congress governments did a lot of work in the state, including starting the cooperative movement,” party spokesperson RPN Singh said. “Social development indicators are poor in the state and expose the development claim of the BJP,” he added.
Modi said the Gujarat poll was “a fight between vikasvaad and vanshvaad. Development politics will triumph over family rule.”The PM also questioned why 25 per cent of the Congress MLAs had quit the party on the eve of the elections.The Congress had 57 MLAs in the Gujarat Assembly, out of which 12 went along with rebel Shankersinh Vaghela in August, who later formed his own outfit.
In an apparent admission of the GST rollout becoming an election issue in Gujarat, Modi sought to distance the Centre from blame, saying decisions were made in the Council that comprises ministers from Congress-led states also.“Modi alone did not take the tax reform decision for which 30 political parties were consulted,” he said. Cautioning the Congress not to indulge in a misinformation campaign on GST, he claimed the Opposition had been an equal partner in the rollout of the tax reform initiative.