Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot, who played a major role in social engineering by roping in Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mewani on the side of Congress in Gujarat, wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attack the party and Rahul Gandhi even more so that it will “ensure a Congress victory”.
As the campaign in the state reaches feverish pitch, Gehlot accused Modi of speaking “only untruths” and making “false promises”. Modi has now been “exposed” and people are not going to believe him or come under his “illusion”, says the former Rajasthan Chief Minister.
He maintains the Prime Minister is becoming “furious” as he senses defeat in the Assembly polls, which is the reason for his “disgraceful” attacks on Congress and its legends like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
“We want him to attack us more. We want him to abuse our legendary leaders. We will be benefiting as much as he attacks us,” Gehlot told IANS in an interview.
Claiming that the party will win the Gujarat polls with a clear majority, he also attacked the Prime Minister for describing Rahul Gandhi’s impending elevation as party chief as “Aurangzeb raj”.
“We will win this election with a comfortable majority. There is an undercurrent in favour of Congress. See how Modiji is attacking Congress and even its internal elections. A figure like the Prime Minister is attacking Rahul’s elevation, and that too by taking the name of a person who is not a Congress member,” Gehlot said, referring to Shehzad Poonawala. He said it goes to show how the Prime Minister and the entire BJP is “scared”.
“In fear of defeat he is saying anything in order to get the election agenda diverted from his model of development. He is mocking Congress’ internal democracy, but everyone knows that in the BJP the RSS decides who will be Prime Minister, President and Chief Minister. And you are talking about Congress,” he said.
Gehlot was referring to Modi’s charge that Nehru was not in favour of reconstructing the Somnath temple and his accusation that Indira Gandhi covered her nose with a handkerchief to avoid the stench when she visited Morbi in 1979 after the Machhu dam flood tragedy.
“It was under Indira Gandhi’s leadership that Pakistan was divided. It was one of the world’s historic events. There are many more such events with which the new generation is not familiar. They (BJP) are in the habit of misguiding people,” he said.
“They (PM and BJP) are raising these issues as they have become furious (baukhla gaye hai). Who cares about all this? They may hatch conspiracies to win elections but we don’t care. This is all because defeat is at their doorsteps. People of Gujarat are with us. Rahulji (Gandhi) is getting people’s love, affection and blessings.”
Continuing his attack on Modi, he said the Prime Minister has “lost his charisma” and this is seen during his election rallies too.
“Modiji has fooled people in the name of Vibrant Gujarat. Go to the villages of Gujarat and you will find the reality of development called ‘Modi model’. He has been exposed. Which class of society is happy with him? From farmers to labourers and from youths to business class, all are unhappy. Now people of Gujarat are not going to believe him. They are not going to come under his fake claims.
“You can see this on the ground. Earlier crowds used to chant ‘Modi, Modi’ in his rallies. Now what is happening? Chairs remain vacant. Where have they gone – those who used to chant his name?” he asked.
“His graph is shrinking. Now people have acknowledged their (BJP) lie. They speak only untruth and make false promises. People still remember the promises of bringing back black money, two crore employment every year and getting Rs 15 lakh into their bank accounts.”
The Congress General Secretary in charge of Gujarat said that Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the party President’s post will impact the country’s politics a lot and youth would come forward under his leadership.
“I believe the young generation will come forward under his leadership. We were also youth. I became MP at an age of 28 and then became PCC President, General Secretary, Union Minister and Chief Minister. Today there are four General Secretaries in AICC, who were youths during Indira Gandhi’s regime. This is the speciality of the Congress that it gives opportunities to the new generation.
“Rahulji will do the same. He will take benefit from the experience of senior leaders and will move ahead with the youth,” he said.
Describing BJP as a party of “hypocrites” he said that they are “embracing Gandhiji, whom they killed”.
“Sardar Patel banned RSS and now they are claiming their birth right on him. After being humiliated by public throughout their journey from Jan Sangh to Janata Party and now BJP, they are doing divisive politics in the name of Congress.
“In the early years they did politics in the name of cow and its protection. They then raked up the issue of Ram temple. And now when they are in power they are again doing politics in the name of cow and trying to divide the country,” he said.
On Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits, he said that there was nothing new in this as Sonia Gandhi also began her election campaign in 2007 from Ambaji temple.
“She used to campaign by helicopter and temples don’t exist in air. Rahulji is travelling through roads and he goes to temples on the way,” he said.