Gujarat elections a fight between caste politics and Modi’s development agenda: Amit Shah
Bhavnagar, Gujarat: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Tuesday said the upcoming Gujarat elections was a fight between the Congress’s caste and dynastic politics, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda.
“The Gujarat Election 2017 is not just a fight between two parties or a fight for who will become the chief minister, but it is to decide if jaativad (casteism) and vanshvad (dynastic rule) will win or Narendra Modi’s vikasvad (development politics) will triumph,” Shah said at an election rally in Bhavnagar.
Targeting Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Shah said his visits to Gujarat have increased as he thinks the state is a “tourist spot”. The BJP president also raked up Congress’s statements on autonomy for Kashmir and on the Rohingya refugee crisis, daring the opposition party and Gandhi to make clear their stand.
Shah was speaking shortly before the state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani filed his nomination papers from Bhavnagar (west). “The people of Gujarat have to decide...will they choose Congress which had tried to create a caste divide between 1985 and 1995 by putting KHAM theory into practice, or choose the development and stability provided by the BJP government from 1995 to 2017,” Shah said.
KHAM denoted a votebank of four communities—Kshatriyas, Harijans, Adivasis and Muslims. “This time the Congress has tried to outsource its campaign and is just indulging in caste politics to win the Gujarat elections,” Shah alleged, in an apparent reference to the party’s attempts to win over Patels and other communities.
The people will have to decide if they want “casteism, dynastic rule, minority appeasement (of Congress), or the developmental politics and stability offered by BJP”, he said. Modi has “started the process of ridding India of the politics of casteism, dynasty and minority appeasement, he said.
“Rahul Gandhi thinks this is a tourist spot. He is coming here quite often....he should come here and give an account of what the Sonia-Manmohan government, which ruled in Delhi for 10 years, did for Gujarat,” Shah said, adding that Modi, after becoming prime minister, gave Gujarat the bullet train, ‘Ro-Ro’ ferry service, international airport (in Saurashtra) and “resolved all the pending problems that Gujarat had with the Centre”.
Claiming that terrorists in Kashmir were killing soldiers and people with impunity during the UPA rule, Shah reminded the gathering of the Indian Army’s surgical strikes conducted during the Modi regime. “On one hand, the Narendra Modi government is trying to normalize the situation, while Chidambaram comes to Gujarat and demands autonomy for Kashmir,” the BJP chief said. “Rahul Gandhi should make his stand clear as to whether he supports Chidambaram’s demand of autonomy for Kashmir,” said Shah.
P. Chidambaram, during his visit to Rajkot in Gujarat last month, said in reply to a question that he was for greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir.
Shah also targeted Congress leaders on the issue of Rohingya Muslims, saying that Chidambaram and Shashi Tharoor wrote to the prime minister saying they should be allowed to enter India. “Can India play with its internal security? Can India compromise its security? The people of Gujarat should ask Congress to make its stand clear on Rohingya Muslims,” he said.
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