Gujarat polls: Modi, Shah step up attack on Congress as poll battle intensifies | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Gujarat polls: Modi, Shah step up attack on Congress as poll battle intensifies

By, Surat
Nov 29, 2022 12:24 AM IST

The Congress will have to leave divisive and vote bank politics if it wants to win the trust of the people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday as campaigning in Gujarat heated up in the closing stages of the assembly elections.

The Congress will have to leave divisive and vote bank politics if it wants to win the trust of the people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday as campaigning in Gujarat heated up in the closing stages of the assembly elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at supporters during a public meeting ahead of Gujarat assembly elections, in Rajkot on Monday. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at supporters during a public meeting ahead of Gujarat assembly elections, in Rajkot on Monday. (PTI)

Addressing four rallies across the state, Modi also criticised the Congress for inviting activist Medha Patkar to its Bharat Jodo Yatra, said the opposition party practised appeasement politics and hailed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for developing villages, which he said previous governments had neglected.

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Union home minister Amit Shah, who addressed three rallies, said the people’s vote will play an important role in deciding the future of Gujarat and the entire country for the next five years

“If the Congress party wants to win the trust of the people of Gujarat, they have to give up their highly divisive politics, colours of communal riots and casteism, and vote bank politics. Those who want to divide the country can no longer count on getting support and trust from the people of Gujarat or India,” Modi said at an election rally in Palitana.

He also addressed rallies at Anjar, Rajkot and Jamnagar.

“Illiteracy, malnutrition, these had become the misfortune of the villages of Gujarat. But when Gujarat trusted the BJP, things started changing. The BJP made safe and secured Gujarat as its priority. We created an environment of harmony, peace and unity in every village and city of Gujarat,” he said.

The state votes in two phases on December 1 and 5. The results will be announced on December 8. The BJP is looking to win its seventh straight assembly election in what is the state’s first triangular contest since 1990. The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hope to dislodge the BJP in its stronghold.

In Palitana, Modi also said the unity of the Gujarati people is why the Congress and “divisive politics” was wiped out of Gujarat. “In the last two decades under the BJP regime, there has been continuous development in Gujarat,” he added.

Modi also accused the Congress of being terrorist sympathisers and criticising appeasement politics. “Since the BJP came to power at the Centre, the country has adopted a policy of zero tolerance for terrorism and Naxalism. However, keep in mind that these individuals are seeking an opportunity, but neither Gujarat nor the nation will grant them one,” he added.

In Anjar, Modi talked about how Narmada waters reaching the parched lands of Saurashtra and Kutch brought prosperity for local people.

“Gujarat can’t tolerate people walking hand-in-hand in the padyatra with those who ensured the Narmada waters do not reach Gujarat. Gujarat will not tolerate this act. Today, Gujarat is producing 1.10 crore cotton bales, which was 17 lakh two decades ago. The crop production has gone up two to three times more than what it was two decades ago. This has all happened due to the Narmada waters” he said.

Patkar joined the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Maharashtra on November 19. Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said several people who were with Patkar have joined BJP in the past.

Modi said only 60 village panchayats had an optical fibre network in the country before 2014 but in the last eight years, around 300,000 village panchayats were connected. “We have set up common service centres in every village in Gujarat and India to facilitate the villagers for train reservation, government works etc. We have almost 14,000 common service centres in Gujarat,” he said in Palitana.

In Anjar, Modi dubbed the Congress as an enemy of Kutch. “They were friends with those who did not want the water of the Narmada to enter Kutch. It was when your son took the reins in Gandhinagar, he decided to fight this battle. We sat on fast and dharna to increase the height of the Narmada reservoir,” he said.

He also spoke extensively about tourism opportunities in Kutch and elaborated on the BJP government’s efforts to promote tourism in the region.

Modi spoke about the National Education Policy (NEP) in Jamnagar. “In the new National Education Policy, training in coding and other tasks has been made mandatory in small classes. The study of sports has been accorded the same importance as other subjects for the first time. Education in the mother tongue has also been given priority in the new NEP,” he said.

At a rally, Shah said that the people’s vote will play an important role in deciding the future of Gujarat and the entire country for the next five years. “We are not only going to form our double engine government in Gujarat, but once again in 2024 with a record-breaking majority, we have to again make Narendrabhai the Prime Minister,” he said.

Reacting to Modi and Shah’s remarks, Congress spokesperson Doshi said, “Congress party does not require any advice from PM Modi. They were supporting the Britishers when India was fighting the freedom struggle. If PM Modi and BJP have gained the trust of the people of Gujarat, why does he (Modi) have to visit Gujarat 30 times for his public rallies, and why is the entire central leadership camping in Gujarat?”

“He must shed some light on issues such as high inflation in the country, costly gas cylinders, rising prices of petrol and diesel. He talks about prosperity in Kutch, but it is a truth that the canal constructed to bring Narmada waters was damaged and broke 300 times. Had there been been a reservoir, the entire Kutch district would have been flooded.”

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