OPPOSITION PARTY LASHES OUT AT MODI FOR ‘THREATENING’ THE PEOPLE OF GUJARAT
Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — While demanding the elections in Gujarat be immediately declared and the code of conduct enforced, the Congress on Monday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “threatening” the people of Gujarat that they would not get developmental funds if they elected opposition government in the state. The party said he “unleashed the most direct assault on federalism” by saying this. It also took a dig at the PM’s frequent visits to Gujarat saying he is “behaving more as the Chief Minister of Gujarat” rather than the Prime Minister of India as the BJP is on a sticky wicket in the state.
Addressing mediapersons here, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said what the Prime Minister said on Sunday in Gujarat did not need any soothsayer to read the “threat”.
While inaugurating the ferry service in Gujarat, the PM said if the people elected the opposition government (read Congress) then they will not get funds from the Center.
Tewari said the PM’s entire speech was a very direct threat and the most brazen attack on the federalism. “When the Prime Minister of India turns around and says that if you are anti-Modi or anti-development and those people who are anti-development which means ‘My Model of Development’ if you elect them, then you do so at your own peril, we will turn off the developmental funds and look at the context of it the – the context of the entire speech was a very direct threat by the Prime Minister of India”.
He recalled that Modi himself used to accuse the UPA government of assaulting federalism when he was the CM of Gujarat. “A gentleman who used to repeatedly talk about how the UPA was assaulting federalism has unleashed the most direct attack, the most direct assault on federalism by telling people that if they vote an opposition Government, they will not get developmental funds. What could be more direct than that?”
On the delay in announcing elections in Gujarat, the Congress leader said the Election Commission should not be a party to what it called the BJP’s attempt to “run away” from the assembly polls.
“Why is the Election Commission becoming an unnecessary party to the BJP’s attempt to run away from the elections? Why is the EC becoming a party to it? The Election Commission has the constitutional responsibility and mandate,” he said.
“We demand that the Election Commission immediately declare elections in Gujarat, enforce the model code of conduct to stop all these allegations that sheer chicanery is taking place in Gujarat.”
Countering criticism over the Congress’ remarks against the poll body, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram tweeted if citizens did not question the EC, what they should do.
“And what should citizens do, pray to the EC?” Chidambaram tweeted.
On bribery allegations against the ruling party in Gujarat and Patidar leader Narendra Patel’s revelation, senior Congress leader said the BJP is displaying a unique combination of “ignorance, arrogance, and downright frustration”.
“In the past 24 hours, this has manifested itself in many ways. First and foremost, the Prime Minister of India who repeats ad nauseam 500 times a day “Na Khaunga Na Khaane Dunga.” Does he not know what is happening on his watch in Gujarat? These days he is behaving more as the Chief Minister of Gujarat rather than the Prime Minister of India. Rampant allegations of bribery by people affiliated with Narendra Patel, has come out and openly said that the BJP allegedly attempted to purchase him for Rs. 1 crore and Rs 10 lakh was paid advance”.
He demanded the PM order an independent investigation into allegations being leveled against his party leaders. “Is it not incumbent upon him to investigate these allegations? They are being leveled against his own party Leaders. Then there is another gentleman Shri Nikhil Sabani, who joined the BJP 15 days back, again from the Patidar Aandolan, he has leveled serious allegations about the intent of the BJP qua the Patidar community and it does not end here.”
He recalled that the same allegations of bribery had been leveled in the public space by Congress MLAs during the Rajya Sabha elections. “Why is the PM silent on these happenings,” he asked.
In response to a question if the Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel was playing hardball in response to the Congress overtures, Tewari replied that nobody wants to play ball with the BJP in Gujarat and the reason for that is that they have dealt with legitimate aspirations in the most brutal, dictatorial and undemocratic manner.
“A lot of what happened in Gujarat between 2014 and 2017 is now bubbling up to the surface. As events will demonstrate, every democratic and progressive force, which is opposed to the specter of fascism, will stand against the BJP, Shri Narendra Modi and the BJP Government in Gujarat against them”.