Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off his election campaign for the Gujarat elections on November 20 with three rallies in the Saurashtra region.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won parliamentary elections in the state six times in a row since 1995. Voting for the parliamentary elections for the 182 seats will take place in two phases on 1 and 5 December. declared on December 8 along with Himachal Pradesh.
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During his campaign, the Prime Minister spoke on a range of issues, making strong statements about the development brought about by the BJP in Gujarat, while lashing out at the opposition.
A look at his key quotes and the rally marathon:
‘TERROR TALK’ AT KHEDA AND NETRANG: “Our government in Gujarat acted against terrorists, but the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in Delhi was soft on them. They (the Congress) were attacking me instead,” Modi said at his November 27 rallies. “Now we enter the home of terrorists to attack them. But these parties also question the surgical strikes. Congressional politics have not changed and some new minor parties are following suit. Vote bank politics will always be a threat on the terror front. We must protect Gujarat from those who play the terror game. Only BJP’s twin engine government can save country and Gujarat from terror. The youth of Gujarat, who have not seen a curfew in the past 20 years, should also not be allowed to experience bombings.”
‘TRIBALSPEAK’ AT DAHOD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked on November 23 why the Congress did not support Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election if the opposition party was so concerned about tribes. Modi referred to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his continued Bharat Jodo Yatra in the speech.
“A person is marching on foot to get the power back. In his speech he talks about tribes. I want to ask him why Congress did not support BJP female tribal candidate in presidential election? Instead, they fielded their own candidate to defeat her,” the prime minister said. “Despite the efforts of Congress, Droupadi Murmu became the president with the blessings of tribesmen,” he added. “Why has Congress never thought of making an Adivasi (tribe) our president? It was the BJP that made a tribal person, also a woman, the president of our country for the first time and sent a message to the world,” Modi said.
‘AUKAAT JIBE’ AT SURENDRANAGAR: While addressing a gathering at Surendranagar in Saurashtra on November 21, Modi took a dive in the congress and Rahul Gandhi said those who have been thrown from power are knocking out yatra to return to power. He went on to say that the party is afraid to raise development issues. “The Congress does not want to raise these issues because they know that the BJP has a great track record,” he said, adding that the party has been targeting the prime minister to distract from these issues. “They don’t talk about development … they say they will show Modi his acuity,” he said. “I’m a common man, I don’t have an aukate…you are all royalty,” he added. “I am just a sevak, does a sevak have an aukaat? (development), enter the field to make Gujarat better, disregard this talk of aukaat,” the prime minister said.
‘WIN AT ANY STAND’ REQUEST TO GIR SOMNATH: Modi on November 20 appealed to the people of Gir Somnath district in election-bound Gujarat for the ruling BJP to prevail in all voting booths. “Another thing I want from you is to make sure that the BJP wins every stand here. Will you do it for me? This time my focus is to win all the voting booths here. If you help me achieve this, these four BJP candidates will automatically reach the Assembly in Gandhinagar,” the prime minister said.
CONFIDENCE IN CM IN 48 HOUR BLITZKREIG: The BJP leaders have consistently said that this time the party will score its biggest victory in Gujarat. Modi built on that during his November 20-21 campaign marathon to address the electorate that “Bhupendrabhai (CM Bhupendra Patel) should break Narendrabhai’s (Narendra Modi) victory records” and emphasized an “overwhelming majority” this time around. Apart from 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 confidence in how you put your trust in Bhupendrabhai and CR Patil (BJP state president),” Modi said at his rallies. He also attacked Rahul Gandhi for walking with Medha Patkar. “A congress leader was seen knocking out a padyatra with a woman who has delayed the Narmada dam project for three decades,” Modi said at a rally in Dhoraji in the state where the polls were to be conducted.
READ ALSO | ‘Congress attacked me instead of terrorists’: PM Modi hits back at ‘Vote Bank Politics’ in Gujarat Rally
NEW POLL, NEW SLOGAN AT VALSAD: Modi coined a new slogan in Gujarat “Aa Gujarat, mai bnavyu chhe” (I made this Gujarat) on November 6 at his first election rally in his home state after announcing the election dates.
Prime Minister Modi, who served as the chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, said the forces who indulged in spreading hatred and defaming Gujarat will be swept out of the state in parliamentary elections. “The divisive forces who have indulged in spreading hatred, those who have tried to slander and insult Gujarat have been wiped out from Gujarat. They will suffer the same fate in this election as well,” he said at the rally in Kaprada in Valsad district.
“Sitting in Delhi, I get the input that BJP will win this time in Gujarat by a record margin. I came here to beat my previous records (of BJP’s victory margin). I have told the BJP of Gujarat that I am willing to spend as much time as possible on it (for campaigning),’ Modi said.
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