In Kutch, Narendra Modi attacks Congress over ignoring region for 30 years, categorically avoids topic of GST

In a stinging attack on the Congress in poll-bound Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that the upcoming Assembly election is a fight between trust on development and dynastic politics.

He was addressing a BJP rally in Kutch district's Bhuj town ahead of the first phase of the elections on 9 December. He also alluded to allegations thrown at him during the campaign by Congress leaders, including party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. "This Gujarat son has no stains in his public life. You come to the state and level baseless allegations on the son of the soil... the people of the state will not forgive you," he said. During his campaign in the state in the last few days, Gandhi had trained his guns at the Modi-led government over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal. "The Gujarat election is a contest between trust on development and dynastic politics," the prime minister said at the rally. Taking another dig at the opposition party, which is making all out efforts to dislodge the long-ruling BJP in Gujarat, Modi asked, "When our soldiers were standing eye-to-eye in Dokalam for 70 days, why were you hugging the Chinese ambassador."

He also said that the BJP was not here for power, but is here for 125 crore Indians. It want to take India to new heights of glory

Modi playing 'Gujarati asmita' card to deflect criticism on GST

It is instructive how Narendra Modi is focussing on the past to build his narrative of present, argues Firstpost. In his first pit stop in Bhuj on Gujarat campaign trail, the prime minister embarked on a two-pronged strategy to counter Congress. One, highlight his achievements in Kutch as Gujarat chief minister. Two, project himself as the son of soil and claim that his insulting him is akin to insulting Gujaratis.

None of these are exactly new strategies but Modi obviously feels confident enough that his work as an administrator — be it rebuilding Kutch after the devastating earthquake of 2001 or bringing Narmada to the water-starved district — has not been forgotten. In his avoidance of GST topic and conflation of self with Gujarati 'asmita' lies another pointer. A tacit acceptance that Modi is aware of the potential political repercussions of a glitch-ridden implementation of GST.

Campaign continues

The prime minister will address a series of campaign meetings today and on Wednesday in Saurashtra and South Gujarat, which go to the polls on 9 December.

The elections to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases on 9 and 14 December. The counting of votes will be on 18 December.

Click here for LIVE updates on Modi's visit to Gujarat

Updated Date: Nov 27, 2017 15:48:04 IST