In battle ground Gujarat, Modi waving ’emotional card’ to derail Congress campaign

During the last five days, PM Modi seems to have changed his card – from development to emotional.

Ahmedabad, Dec 10: As the first phase of Gujarat polls ended, the political mudslinging between BJP and Congress has put the campaign for the second phase polls, out of focus.

With the ace campaigner for BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi starting to wave ’emotional card’ in a last minute bid to turn the tide in favour of his party, Congress seems to have fallen into the trap by launching a counter offensive on the same lines, which is only putting the party on a defensive posture.

Around two months back, in October, before election dates were announced, when Congress invited young leaders Hardik Patel (Patidar), Alpesh Thakor (OBC) and Jignesh Mevani (Dalit) for the pre-alliance talks,the grand old party’s line of attack for the Gujarat polls was clear.

Alpesh Thakor joined Congress and shared the dais with Rahul Gandhi while Hardik Patel announced his unconditional support. He pledged to defeat the ruling BJP. Mevani, meanwhile, kept all the cards close to his heart.

On the other hand, the ruling BJP was getting ready to play the development card. Following the directive from BJP president Amit Shah, the saffron party workers began door-to -door campaign informing people about the achievements of Central government led by PM Modi and CM Vijay Rupani’s state government.

However, as the state inched closer towards the polling dates, Modi and Congress party’s soon-to-be president Rahul Gandhi increased their visits to Gujarat.

During the last five days, PM Modi seems to have changed his card – from development to emotional. It became all the more apparent, especially after he used the suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘neech’ remark to his advantage.

During a rally, Modi, referring to the remark, termed it as a Mughali mindset and the other day gave an emotional speech reacting to a youth Congress leader’s Twitter diatribe.

However, BJP Gujarat leadership chose to differ.

Speaking to India Live Today, Yamal Vyas, BJP state spokesperson said if a person is continuously attacked for no reason, he is bound to react at some point.

“He didn’t play any emotional card. There is something called a saturation point. Beyond that reaction is expected. Congress continued to target him with unacceptable remarks. So he just reacted,” he said

Congress alleges that Modi is purposefully trying to rake up ‘irrelevant’ issues to divert attention from the main issues that matters to people.

Arjun Modhavadia, senior Gujarat Congress leader said that Congress was neither targeting PM Modi in particular nor singling him out, as the BJP is alleging.

“We are just exposing his fraudulent Gujarat Model and the governance in Gujarat. If his policies were so perfect, why are farmers not happy and millions of youngsters jobless? Only handful of industrialists are minting money,” he said.

Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi asked why BJP had to call its chief ministers from various states to campaign in Gujarat.

“BJP has realised that they have lost the mandate. People have started rejecting them. So they are resorting to emotional politics by raising issues, which should come at the bottom of the priority list,” said Doshi, while referring to PM Modi trying to take political advantage of  Aiyar’s remarks.

But Vyas countered by saying that it was Congress playing the emotional card.

“Initially when Rahul Gandhi visited Gujarat, Congress camp was euphoric. Rahul also managed to rope-in Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani. At this point they thought Congress will sail through easily. But this was before PM Modi started campaigning,” he said.

Vyas said PM’s campaign dampened the Congress’ spirits and there was no Plan B in place for them.

“This led to the frustration among the party cadres and it is reflected in the way they are now targeting Modi,” he added.