AAP's soul in new brand Congress
Gujarat election was unique as all divisive forces were braved in one go under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This was not a simple election. In about two months working on the ground in Gujarat, I always felt the soul of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the body of Congress. In the entire campaign period, Gujarat was deluged with lies, divisive politics, and unachievable promises by Congress and her three crutches of caste cowboys – HAJ (Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore, and Jignesh Mewani).
Our suspicion on AAP's soul in Congress' body first came from lies and baseless allegations of HAJ. Which were confirmed by two incidents – first, the shocking satisfaction of HAJ on unconstitutional and unachievable promises of Congress, and second, AAP's absence in the election campaign? Until a few months ago, AAP was challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi for election in his home state but as the elections came closer, they surrendered. However, AAP contested on 29 seats but I could not see even a single popular leader of AAP visiting Gujarat during elections. Even AAP's Gujarat Convenor Gopal Rai was not seen there. Nobody knows where all of them disappeared suddenly. Was this done on the directions of Congress? AAP is considered to be a media-friendly party but hardly any AAP candidate got media coverage in this elections. Who was managing all this?
Like AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal, the HAJ along with Rahul Gandhi used to spread falsehood throughout the election campaign. The allegations that 'Modiji eats mushrooms of Rs 80,000 per piece to become fair' by Alpesh Thakore and 'Modiji gave 48,000 crore acre land (more than three times of land on entire earth) to industrialists' by Rahul Gandhi; were the height of lies. Congress scion and his caste cowboys kept on changing their data of unemployment in Gujarat from 50 lakh to 30 lakh. In reality, Gujarat generates the highest employment in India and unemployment is lowest in the state. As Minister for Labour and Employment in Manmohan Singh government, Mallikarjun Khadge (now Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha) had acknowledged Gujarat government for being at the top in providing maximum jobs among 35 states and Union Territories. Congress has created an impression among the youths that employment means 'government job', therefore, many people who are working in private sector or unorganised sector, or self-employed have registered themselves in the unemployment register for government job. In the Gujarat Model of development, BJP, under the leadership of Narendra Modi has succeeded in changing the 'government job is only job' mentality by empowering youth through a host of initiatives like Startup India, Make in India, etc.
Similar lies were spread about petrol prices and CNG by Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi Assembly elections. In Delhi, Kejriwal used some unfortunate incidents of churches to project BJP as anti-Christian and in Gujarat, Congress branded BJP as anti-Dalit. In Delhi, AAP promised CCTV and security guards at prime places and busses for women security, wifi throughout the city, loan for students, new colleges, new hospitals, new busses, free water and free electricity for all, and loan for students among others. In Gujarat, Congress promised 5 per cent reservation for Patels above the 50 per cent cap, subsidised education, and unemployment dole among others. In how many states, Congress had provided unemployed dole so far? Will Congress provide unemployment dole in Karnatak and Punjab? Why Congress did not promise unemployment dole in Bihar where unemployment is very high and became a reason of migration. In Gujarat, they promised expenditure of around Rs 1.10 core for a state which has revenue of Rs 70,000 crore.
I have a simple question to the political analysts who are busy in projecting 'brand new' Congress and new 'Avtar' sixth Congress president from Nehru dynasty. How casteism become 'brand new'? The same Congress solicited some backward castes with 10 per cent reservation in the 1980s but excluded Patels from this benefit. This led to massive caste and communal violence in which 100 people lost their lives. Who was the unlimited beneficiary? The Congress achieved maximum 149 out of 182 seats. In the 80s, Congress had KHAM (Khastriya, Harijan, Adivasi, and Muslims). In 2017 they have HAJ. In every election, Congress implements its divisive theory – divide Hindus on grounds of caste and consolidate Muslims on religion. In Gujarat, Congress was so confident on the second part of her theory that they did not utter even a single word for Muslims and focused their entire energy on fanning casteism and spreading hatred. The Grand Old Party first excluded Patels from reservation to be in power but in 2017 promised them reservation to come back in power. They killed 100 people for KHAM and around 10 lost their lives for HAJ. It was due to this lowest model of divisive politics, Congress' top leaders Shaktisinh Gohil and Arjun Modhvadia lost elections.
This election in Gujarat was unique in the sense that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we were fighting all the divisive forces in one go. They include – Congress, casteism, communalism, NGOs, cheerleader politicians, academicians turned part-time salaried politicians from campus of universities like JNU, student leaders across campuses, and journalist turned part-time politicians. It was Modi vs all. The people of Gujarat have voted for Modi and his model of development.
(The writer is General Secretary, Delhi State BJP. Views expressed are strictly personal.)