Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 48-hour blitzkrieg with eight rallies kicked off the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll campaign in the all-important Gujarat and he will be back again on Wednesday in the state for two days for more rallies.
In specific targeting of his party’s message to voters, the Prime Minister gave five broad messages – attacking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for giving space to activist Medha Patkar in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, reversing the ‘aukaat’ jibe on him by a senior Congress leader, focusing his rallies in areas where the BJP did badly the last time, pitching for a record win for incumbent Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, and emphasising on his faith in the Gujarati women backing the BJP as always.
MEDHA PATKAR-RG WALK
The visuals of activist Medha Patkar walking with Rahul Gandhi in the Bharat Jodo Yatra last week were expected to be problematic for the Congress’s chances in Gujarat. PM Modi did not miss out on the same, as he slammed Gandhi (without naming him) for giving space to Patkar and putting his hand on her shoulder. “Please ask the Congress leader why he was walking with the anti-Narmada activist. She stalled the Sardar Sarovar Dam project for three decades by creating legal hurdles and holding protests just to ensure that water does not reach here. She defamed Gujarat to such an extent that the World Bank stopped funds,” Modi said.
Congress and Rahul Gandhi have time and again shown their animosity towards Gujarat and Gujaratis. By giving Medha Patkar a central place in his Yatra, Rahul Gandhi shows that he stands with those elements who denied water to Gujaratis for decades. Gujarat will not tolerate this. https://t.co/94jJBz4spP— Bhupendra Patel (@Bhupendrapbjp) November 18, 2022
Speaking in Saurashtra, which gained in a big way from the project, Modi said Gujaratis have decided to punish those who stalled the Narmada project that brought water to lakhs of households. Modi’s words associated Rahul Gandhi and the Congress with Patkar, pitching them against the feat of Gujarat’s thirst being quenched with water from the Narmada.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) earlier did not walk into this trap when the BJP had questioned if Patkar will be their CM face in Gujarat. Arvind Kejriwal had angrily rubbished that suggestion in a conference.
RETORT on ‘AUKAAT’
Personal attacks and abuses against Modi have not worked for the Congress in the past. But not learning from the same, senior Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry earlier this month said the Congress would show Modi his ‘aukaat’ (place) by changing the name of the Narendra Modi stadium. Modi milked the same in his campaign in Gujarat on Monday saying he has no ‘aukaat’ and was just a simple person.
“Instead of talking about development, they (Congress) are talking about showing me my aukaat. Earlier they used ‘neech aadmi, neech jaati, maut ka saudagar, naali ka keeda’ for me. They say Modi ko usko aukaat dikha denge, look at that aahankaar (arrogance). You a royal family, I’m from a simple family, I have no aukaat,” the PM said.
The BJP has used such attacks earlier to cash in on Modi’s ‘son of the soil’ image in Gujarat and win the polls.
REVERSE 2017 LOSSES
Modi began his campaign from regions where the BJP fared badly in 2017, dropping to 99 seats in the state in those elections. The PM’s rallies were slotted first in Somnath and Amreli areas of the state, where the Congress had performed exceedingly well.
Modi stressed a lot in these areas about the development that BJP had brought to the region, including 24-hour electricity, water and health facilities. By bringing Modi first here, the BJP is trying to reverse its losses from the 2017 elections.
RECORD VICTORY TARGET
The BJP leaders have consistently been saying that the party will register its biggest victory in Gujarat this time.
PM Modi built upon the same to appeal to the electorate that “Bhupendrabhai (CM Bhupendra Patel) should break the records of victory of Narendrabhai (Narendra Modi)” and stressed on an “overwhelming majority” this time.
Besides this being a vote of confidence in the CM, Modi also said that he will work with Bhupendra Patel to make Gujarat even better. “This time, Gujarat will break all records, I have faith in how you are putting faith in Bhupendrabhai and CR Patil (BJP state president),” Modi said in his rallies.
FAITH IN WOMEN VOTERS
The BJP has always depended on women voters in Gujarat to bring it to power continuously for the past 27 years and Modi again appealed to women to bless the BJP.
On the back of various schemes centered on women, the PM said the “blessings of women — mothers and sisters — are my capital”, and women, as always, found a place of prominence at the front in the PM’s rallies.
News18 earlier reported that BJP is planning special ‘Veerangana’ rallies by its senior women leaders, targeted at women voters in Gujarat on November 28.
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