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Congress rally in Gujarat lacks punch
Binita Parikh in Ahmedabad |
May 01, 2003 22:36 IST
The Gujarat Congress failed to raise any new point or issue at the Gujarat Bachao (Save Gujarat) rally organized in Gandhinagar on Thursday to coincide with the Gujarat Day celebrations.
Party leaders attacked Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his government's performance, but did not seem to have struck a chord with the audience in a repeat of its performance in the last assembly elections.
The law and order situation, the drought and water scarcity, high cost of electricity for farmers, price rise, unemployment and VAT figured in the speeches.
Seeking to tarnish the BJP's pro-Hindu image, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Shankersinh Vaghela criticized the government for its failure to prevent the death of several cows due to drought.
Even though the chief minister promises to guard the people, he needs National Security Guard commandos to guard him, Vaghela said mocking law and order situation in the state.
"He does trust the state police and therefore, has sought the NSG from Delhi. How can he guard you? If the ex-home minister of the state is not safe, how safe are you in this state?" he asked.
Berating the audience for choosing the BJP's battli (liquor) over the Congress's promise of employment opportunities, he asked the people to return to the Congress if they wanted a better life.
Leader of the Opposition Amarsinh Chaudhary admitted that the party had failed to take care of the interests of poor. "But now, our slogan is Congress ka haath, garibon ke saath (Congress is with the poor)," he said.
Strongly criticising the BJP government for the manner in which it celebrated Gujarat Day, he said, "The treasury is empty, but Modi is out celebrating. While people do not have oil to cook food, 43,000 oil diyas were part of the celebrations. Even cheques worth Rs 25,000 drawn on the state government are bouncing and we waste money celebrating Gujarati Day."
However, the Congress may have called BJP 'a government propelled by flashy announcements' but it has not been able to convince people that it can provide a better alternative.
No major new point was raised at the rally. Most had been raised during the assembly election campaign, and had failed to strike a chord with the people.
No unique approach to identify with the people's needs or reap political advantage from the unrest due to the effects of drought, recession and inflation was visible at the rally.
Not surprisingly, the audience was not greatly enthused by the rally, or the speeches. Maybe the timing -- 1330 to 1630 IST – had something to do with it.
The party aims to hold similar rallies at the taluka level, the schedule for which is to be declared within 15 days.
While all leaders were present at the rally, no senior Congress leader from outside the state was in attendance.