Rahul Gandhi succeeding Sonia: PM Modi calls Cong politics ‘Aurangzeb Raj’

Mani Shankar Aiyar had referred to Mughals while speaking about the Gandhi scion’s election as party chief

Narendra Modi, Modi

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Monday stoked a controversy when he invoked the rulers of the Mughal dynasty in the election of Rahul Gandhi as party President, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi latched on to quickly to call it “Aurangzeb Raj”.

“When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir did any election happen? And when Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan did any election happen? It was known to everyone that the throne of the king will automatically go to the heir,” Aiyar said, retorting to the “dynasty” jibes of the BJP on Rahul Gandhi’s election.

“But in a democracy elections are held. I openly invite Poonawala to file the nomination and contest,” Aiyar said, adding has anyone heard of Shehzad Poonawala.

He was replying to a question about BJP’s criticism following Maharashtra Congress leader Poonawala calling Rahul Gandhi’s election as party chief rigged.

Modi was quick to pounce on Aiyar’s remarks. Addressing a public meeting in Dharampur constituency in Gujarat, Modi said: “Mani Shankar Aiyar, who never shies away from showing loyalty to one family, proudly said — When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir did any elections happen? And when Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan did any election happen? It was known to everyone that the throne of the king will automatically go the son,” Modi said.

“I congratulate the Congress on their ‘Aurangzeb Raj.’ For us, the wellbeing of the people matters and 125 crore Indians are our high command,” he said.

He also said that the Congress leaders admit that it is not a party but a kunba (family).

Click here to read → Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017

 

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Gujarat elections 2017 highlights: PM Modi’s campaign rally in Bhavnagar

PM Modi is on a two-day Gujarat tour during which he is expected to hold 7 election campaign rallies in total, three of which were held on Sunday.

gujarat elections 2017

Celebrating the culture and unity of the people, PM Modi in Bhavnagar while campaigning for Gujarat Assembly elections said that, “Gujarat has grown due to the power of Shanti, Ekta and Sadbhavana”.

Gujarat assembly elections are scheduled to be held in two phases on December 9 and 14 and Gujarat election results are to be announced on December 18

Here are the key highlights of Modi’s speech during his Gujarat election rally in Bhavnagar on Monday:

  • I fail to understand why is Congress once again doing what it always did in the past- divide people, be it on caste lines, communal lines, between villages & cities. Congress has learnt ‘divide and rule’ from our colonial rulers rather well
  • I appeal to the Congress to stick to the truth. The people of Gujarat do not like poll time lollipops and false promises of the Congress
  • The people of UP know the Congress and their leadership well. And see how they have rejected Congress repeatedly
  • Congress is trying to create fights between brothers, between cities and villages, between religions and castes, whatever chasms that they could create, Congress party has learned this sin from the British Raj rather well.
  • Congress better hear loud and clear, we are the born on the same land as Gandhi and Sardar Patel, so we never go back from our promises. Our promise is, whoever stole from the poor, whoever stole from the nation, they will have to give the money back!
  • I appeal to the Congress to stick to the truth. The people of Gujarat do not like poll time lollipops and false promises of the Congress
  • Modi praised the development model in Gujarat, asking the audience at the rally in Bhavnagar who was responsible for this development. The crowd immediately began to chant “Modi, Modi!” but the prime minister went on to say “Modi has been PM
  • and CM in Gujarat, but the reason for this development is the unity between Gujaratis.” “Gujarat has grown due to the power of Shanti, Ekta and Sadbhavana,” he added.

PM Modi is on a two-day Gujarat tour during which he is expected to hold 7 election campaign rallies in total, three of which were held on Sunday.

 

Gujarat demands answers for 22 years of BJP rule: Rahul Gandhi to Modi

The prime minister and the opposition leader are in Gujarat today

Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat

Stepping up his offensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the Gujarat elections, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday sought to make the state’s ruling BJP accountable for its promises in the last polls.

Gandhi also brought up the BJP’s 22-year rule in Gujarat and said people were demanding answers.

22 salon ka hisaab, Gujarat mange jawaab (Gujarat demands answers for 22 years of BJP rule), he tweeted.

Seeking to pin the government down on the issue of housing, Gandhi asked the prime minister whether it would take 45 more years to provide new houses to Gujaratis.

Giving numbers to buttress his argument, he said, “First question to the prime minister on the state of affairs in Gujarat – In 2012, he promised to provide 50 lakh new houses, but provided 4.72 lakh in five years. Will the prime minister tell whether it will take another 45 years to fulfil the promise?

The prime minister and the opposition leader are in Gujarat today to campaign for their parties ahead of the December 9 and 14 assembly poll.

Gandhi will campaign in the state for two days and will start with a visit to the famous Somnath temple.

He will also hold public meetings in at least three districts today and tomorrow, party leaders said.

Click here to Read→ Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017

 

‘Answer for 22-yr rule in Gujarat’: Rahul to ask Modi a question every day

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi said he would demand answers for 22 years of BJP’s rule in the state

Rahul in Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi, Gujarat polls, Rahul Gandhi

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi will ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi a question every day in the run-up to the Gujarat Assembly elections, the party said.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Wednesday said Gandhi would ask a question to the Prime Minister every day.

“Rahul Gandhi is asking a question every day, why did mis-governance of 22 years create such a situation,” he tweeted.

ALSO READ: Rahul shows up as ‘non-Hindu’ in Somnath visitors’ list; BJP rakes up issue
Gandhi wrote on Twitter on Wednesday “22 salon ka hisaab, Gujarat mange jawaab. (Gujarat demands answers for 22 years of BJP)”.

He said he would demand answers for 22 years of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) rule in the state and the promises made to the people.

“First question to the Prime Minister on the state of affairs in Gujarat — In 2012, promises were made to provide 50 lakh new houses but built 4.72 lakh in five years. Will the Prime Minister tell, whether it will take another 45 years to fulfil the promise?” Gandhi posted on Twitter.

ALSO READ: BJP indulging in gutter politics: Congress on ‘Rahul not a Hindu’ remark
Congress spokesperson Deepender Singh Hooda said he hoped Modi and the BJP would answer Gandhi’s queries on “22 years of mis-governance” in Gujarat.

“We expect that the Prime Minister and the BJP to find time and answer the questions asked to them by Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

“The BJP is working for the super rich and middlemen. The party’s (BJP) economic policy was at the cost of the poor,” he added.

Click here to Read → Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017

Gujarat polls not a referendum on implementation of GST: Derek O’Brien

Says PM Modi was playing to ‘Gujarati pride’ in next month’s Gujarat polls and not focusing on development

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien. (File Photo: PTI)

Trinamool Congress leader says that Gujarat assembly elections should not be seen as a referendum on the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

O’Brien, the national spokesperson of Trinamool Congress and its leader in the Rajya Sabha, also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was playing to “Gujarati pride” in next month’s Gujarat assembly poll and not focusing on development.

“Why should any election be a referendum? This is the home player playing in his home state. ‘I am one of you, how can you insult me’ – so now you are playing to Gujarati pride. Come and play on development, come and answer the question on jobs, under-performance, demonetisation, GST and economy, O’Brien told IANS in an interview.

He was asked if the assembly poll in Gujarat, the first assembly election being held after the GST was rolled out on July 1, should be seen as a referendum on the way it had been implemented.

The opposition has been accusing the government of flawed implementation of GST. Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has consistently raked up the issue in his campaign in Gujarat, referring to it as “Gabbar Singh Tax.”

Following perception about unease among small traders over some of the stipulations concerning GST, the Modi government has eased filing norms. Decisions have also been taken to reduce the rate on 50 items of mass consumption from 28 per cent to 18 per cent besides providing relief to exporters.

O’Brien’s first political book ‘Inside Parliament: Views From The Front Row’, which was released last week, has a chapter on GST titled ‘Far From a good and simple tax.”

The book says that in countries like Germany and Japan, businesses were given at least one year of trial and adjustments before transitioning to a new tax system.

“In India, the prime minister and his BJP ministers learn on the job and they want the rest of the country to learn as they go along,” it says.

On the GST roll-back, the book says, “We noted with great amusement the ‘khakra special’ GST rollback announced weeks before the Gujarat elections.”

Asked about the outcome of Gujarat elections, O’Brien said it has to be as to be seen in the context of results of 2014 Lok Sabha polls in the state where BJP secured about 60 per cent votes and Congress about 33 per cent.

“The 2017 election has to be judged on that,” he said.

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Babri demolition, 25 years on: BJP’s transition from Ram to reform to Ram

BJP’s political narrative has been re-defined after 2014, with a new Hindutva mascot

babri masjid, ayodhya

Today’s Paper : The year was 1989. The first general election in which the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) manifesto explicitly talked about reconstructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya. “By not allowing the rebuilding of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, on the lines of Somnath Mandir built by the Government of India in 1948, it has allowed tensions to rise, and gravely strained social harmony,” the party’s manifesto that year stated.

The year 1989 was in many ways the BJP’s chance at redemption after its predecessor Bharatiya Jana Sangh got its first shot of power along with its socialist allies after Emergency. In 1984, the party had managed to win just two seats in the parliamentary elections. The Congress, riding high on a sympathy wave following Indira Gandhi’s assassination, swept the country by winning 404 out of the 533 seats.

So, BJP’s redemption song in 1989 was going to be the Ram Mandir. With mandir on its mind, the BJP won 85 seats, and so began the party’s push for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, with none other than L K Advani leading the charge with his Rath Yatra.

The VP Singh-led National Front government that tried to throw a spanner in Advani’s Rath Yatra was derailed after the BJP withdrew support following Advani’s arrest at Samastipur in Bihar while galvanising foot soldiers for the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The BJP’s egression from the National Front government set the stage for yet another election in 1991. The 1991 elections, widely dubbed as the Mandir vs Mandal elections, was perhaps when the Ram temple pitch in the BJP reached a crescendo.

Yes, 1989 was the year when Mandir found a mention in BJP’s manifesto for the first time. But its decibel still hadn’t reached the feverish pitch that came in 1991. The BJP’s electoral push was largely powered by the ammunition it had against the then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi. And Gandhi had given his principal opposition quite a few of them – Bofors, India’s humiliation in Sri Lanka and economic regression, among other things. The BJP minced no words while describing him in the run-up to the 1989 elections in its manifesto, “Everything Rajiv Gandhi touches ends up in a bloody mess. A man who waded to his office through the blood-soaked streets of Delhi will be leaving behind a gory legacy. This country is not safe in the hands of such a man or such a party.”

Click here to read → Babri Masjid Demolition

 

Rahul shows up as ‘non-Hindu’ in Somnath visitors’ list; BJP rakes up issue

The BJP tried to make an issue of this faux pas, pouncing on this opportunity to corner the Gandhi scion

Rahul Gandhi Somnath visit

In a major goof-up, the media coordinator of Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday wrote “non-Hindu” against the name of the Congress Vice President in the register of the famed Somnath temple, leading the BJP to pounce on it as evidence that Gandhi is “not a Hindu”.

Rahul Gandhi’s media coordinator Manoj Tyagi later clarified that he had entered the Congress leader’s name in the register as a means to take along his entire delegation inside that included security personnel and media persons.

The Congress Vice President, who arrived on Wednesday on a two-day visit to the poll-bound state of Gujarat, was to pay a visit to the temple for prayers before beginning his election campaign in Saurashtra region. | Today’s Paper

Ahead of the visit, Manoj Tyagi made an entry in the register for Ahmed Patel, a non-Hindu, who was to accompany the Congress Vice President inside the temple and also wrote the name of Rahul Gandhi in the register.

The BJP tried to make an issue of this faux pas, pouncing on this opportunity to corner the Gandhi scion.

The saffron party is worried about the soft Hindutva line that Rahul Gandhi has been following in his several visits to the state, which are being seen as a successful tactic in the election-bound state.

The BJP stated that, “The Congress has always tried to project Rahul Gandhi as a Hindu. But the fact is that he is not. Rahul has visited over 20 temples of multiple Hindu deities since October. The Congress has been lying. The entry shows that he is not an Hindu,” said Raju Dhruv, BJP spokesperson in Saurashtra region.

Manoj Tyagi on his part later issued a statement that he had just entered Gandhi’s name in the register in order to take media personnel inside the temple and not of Rahul Gandhi or Ahmed Patel. “These would have been added later,” he said in the statement.

Somnath temple, located on the shores of the Arabian sea on the southernmost part of Gujarat, is revered by Hindus and enshrines the first of 12 ‘jyotirlings’ of Lord Shiva. Through a notice in June 2015 the Shree Somnath Trust (SST) – the institution managing the temple — had made it mandatory for non-Hindus to seek permission of the Trust before entering the main temple.

Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel is incumbent chairman of the Trust, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP National president Amit Shah and retired Chief Secretary of Gujarat, P.K. Laheri, are its trustees.

Rahul signed only visitors’ book: Somnath temple trust official

Seeking to clear the controversy, the Somnath temple authorities on Wednesday said that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi did not sign the register maintained for non-Hindus during his visit to the temple.

Hours after the controversy erupted over the visit, the temple trust’s Secretary PK Laheri said that Gandhi only put his signature in the visitors’ book and nowhere else.

“‘This is an inspiring place’ – is what Rahul Gandhi wrote and he did so in the presence of our general manager Vijaysinh Chawda,” Laheri told the media.

“This is the only place where he signed,” he added.

On reports about entry as a non-Hindu, Laheri said: “Such a separate register is being maintained for the last three years for security purposes.

“But Rahulji did not sign it, maybe his media coordinator did. I am not sure. There was nobody there. This non-Hindu register generally remains with the security guard,” he added.