The high-voltage campaign for the second phase of assembly elections in Gujarat on December 16 covering 95 seats came to an end on Friday evening.
Once again, development issues were overshadowed by a war of words on national security, which often turned into a slanging match between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.
More than 1.87 crore voters are eligible to decide the fate of 599 candidates, including 31 women, contesting 95 of the total of 182 seats in central and north Gujarat regions of the state, much of which was worst hit by the post-Godhra riots.
The discourse for the campaign was dominated by national security with the BJP going on the offensive against the Congress. The saffron party accused the Congress of going soft on terror and cited the issue of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, a decision on whose petition against the death sentence is awaited, as a case in point.
An unfazed Congress launched a counter attack, seeking to puncture the BJP's national security plank with party chief Sonia Gandhi [Images] pointing out that it was the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government which had released hardcore terrorists to end the hijacking of Indian Airlines plane in Kandahar in 1999.
The developmental issue simply vanished from the numerous speeches Modi made as he began to concentrate on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and Sonia Gandhi, attacking them on various issues including terrorism.
Modi sought to belittle the Prime Minister by asking the crowd at rallies, "Do you know our Prime Minister? I am talking of Manmohan Singh".
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