Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat Day 2: Congress V-P continues Navsarjan Yatra, to meet people displaced by Narmada Dam

On Tuesday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will continue on day two of his Gujarat Navsarjan Yatra.

Rahul, who began the second leg of his campaign tour in poll-bound state on Monday, is scheduled to visit Vadodara, Dabhoi and Chhota Udaipur.

His schedule for the day:

Rahul Gandhi day 2 schedule

His day starts at 9 am when he departs from the Circuit House in Vadodara. He will then pay obeisance to BR Ambedkar at Sankalp Bhumi.

He is also scheduled to meet with people who have been displaced by the Narmada Dam.

Day 1: Rahul attacked Modi over Amit Shah's son's business dealings

On Monday, Gandhi targetted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a media report which had claimed that a company owned by BJP chief Amit Shah's son Jay had recorded huge increase in turnover after the saffron party came to power in 2014.

"Where has the chowkidar (watchman) gone," Rahul asked, apparently referring to Modi's earlier statement that he does not want to behave like a prime minister but a 'chowkidar' (watchman) of the country's wealth.

Rahul raked up the issue to target the prime minister as well as Amit Shah at about 10 small and big public meetings that he addressed throughout the day. He also cajoled the media to ask questions without fear of Modi and Shah.

He also hit out at the NDA government over the economy and demanded that the rates under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) not exceed 18 percent. "In spite of our request to the Centre, they are charging rates of over 18 percent under the GST... They should revert to the 18 percent tax slab," Gandhi said, adding high taxes have ruined many businesses. Demonetisation resulted in loss of business of many small traders, he said. The famed Gujarat model of development had failed, the Congress leader added.

BJP keeps up attack on Rahul

Union minister Smriti Irani on Monday accused Rahul Gandhi of "insulting" the people of Gujarat and claimed that the Congress will suffer what she called a "historic defeat" in the upcoming Assembly polls. Gandhi's remarks confirm that he is not only anti-progress but also mocks the idea of a developed and empowered India, she alleged in a statement, adding that he and his party prefer vote bank politics to 'vikas' (development).

"The manner in which Rahul Gandhi has made fun of the dreams and aspirations of the people of Gujarat will lead to a historic defeat for the Congress party in the state election," said the Union minister for textiles and information and broadcasting in a statement.

Senior BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh said that Gandhi has exposed his ignorance, reported NDTV. "Rahul Gandhi should step out of his diapers," said the BJP leader and minister.

However, Gandhi appeared prepared for the brickbats, according to a report in The Times of India. On Monday, he said, "Meri pitai kar-kar ke unhone meri aankhen khol di (Their constant verbal bashing of me has opened my eyes and taught me)." About the 2014 Lok Sabha polls he said, "BJP ne meri bahut madad ki, 2014 polls jo hum haare usse faaydemand cheez nahi ho sakti (The BJP helped me a lot, losing the 2014 elections proved to be very useful for us)."

Narendra Modi's organisational skills vs Rahul Gandhi's nicely-formulated narrative

As the state barrels towards the Assembly elections, both the Congress and the BJP have stepped up preparations.

Modi has already made two trips during weekends in the past one month, setting the stage for the fight. From the Opposition, Rahul Gandhi has also made two visits. Gujarat has been a two-party state for long, and unlike the last three occasions when Modi won hands down, this time, the Opposition is going to be led by Rahul and not his mother, Sonia Gandhi.

Modi and Gandhi have adopted differing styles on the campaign trail for this election. Livemint quoted a senior BJP leader from Gujarat as saying "The election campaign will revolve around Prime Minister Narendra Modi because he is the one who gets the votes for the party. Since the PM doesn’t have the time to get involved in door-to-door campaigns and there can also be security concerns, there is a view to hold roadshows so that people get to see and meet the PM. It is the closest PM can go to the public."

According to this Firstpost article, if this state Assembly election turns out to be Modi versus Rahul, the results would be in favour of the BJP. Rahul will do well to understand that rhetoric and nicely formulated narrative are no substitute to a powerful political organisation, which the Congress is singularly lacking, the article contends.


Updated Date: Oct 10, 2017 10:38 AM

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