The last day of campaigning for the first phase of assembly polls on Tuesday, saw war of words between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Congress scion Rahul Gandhi with both trying hit out at each other on issues of development and state governance.
While Modi campaigned in Savarkundla, Dhrangadhra, Surendranagar, Dholka; Rahul countered the chief minister's claims on development by calling the former a 'marketer' who does not listen to people's voices. Rahul campaigned in Jamnagar Amreli and Sanand, home of Tata Motor's Nano car plant.
During all his speeches on Modi's home turf, Rahul did not utter name of the chief minister, while challenging tall claims of Gujarat government's on development and progress of the state.
Rahul, without naming Modi, said that voice of common man was not being heard in the state of Gujarat, it was being suppressed. "Gandhiji said that a political leader should practice what he propagates. He should listen to the people whom he represents and make their aspirations his goals. But, here [in Gujarat] common man's voice is not being head. It is being suppressed," Rahul claimed.
"You are being told that only one person was working and taking the state forward. It seems that people in the state are not doing anything and only one man was working," he added.
Rahul further said that there was lot of anger in state's ruling party leaders. "Anger is like a burden on a political leader. Because under such conditions he can only see one dream, that is of his own and not that what people want. There was no need for anger. Even an enemy could be won over by love," he said.
The Congress General Secretary claimed that a false propaganda that Gujarat was making all round progress has been launched but contrary to it there is rampant corruption in the state, unemployment is very high and there is all round failure.
Recalling how Mahatma Gandhi and his ideology had impacted his life, Rahul said that when he thinks about politics he thinks about Gandhiji and feels the power of Gandhi was with him. Narrating an anecdote from his childhood, Rahul talked about an incident when Jawaharlal Nehru was lodged in jail, and how Gandhiji would sleep on the floor to show solidarity with Nehru...
"Today, if Gandhiji was alive he would have exhorted the people to fight for their rights."
The Congress leader claimed that even opposition's voice is curbed in Gujarat as the Assembly sits for just 25 days in a year and very often opposition leaders are thrown out of the House. Rahul said there is no Lokayukta in Gujarat and 14,000 RTI applications were pending as government does not want to let any information come out as it would expose its true affairs. He also cited initiatives of the Congress led government which included, nationalization of banks, green revolution, introduction mobile phone services, MNREGA employment guarantee scheme, reservation for women in local bodies and food security bill to name a few.