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Gujarat trip upsets BJP, cheers Cong

Ahmedabad/New Delhi, March 6: The BJP today hit out at Arvind Kejriwal’s Gujarat tour whose goal is to “expose” Narendra Modi’s claims of development, while the Congress welcomed it.

But India’s ruling party also wondered aloud why the media had ignored the Congress’s allegations in the past about the hollowness of Modi’s development model.

As Kejriwal entered the second day of his four-day tour, meeting the disaffected poor and checking the state of schools and hospitals, BJP spokesperson Harshad Patel dubbed it all a publicity stunt.

He described the Aam Aadmi Party as the “B-team of the Congress” and accused it of a “conspiracy to malign Modi”.

“We don’t understand why Kejriwal is here. Isn’t he aware that the people of Gujarat have overwhelmingly voted Modi to power because of his outstanding performance?” Patel said.

Hemant Shah, an economist who teaches at an Ahmedabad college, said the BJP had reason to worry about Kejriwal’s trip.

“Here’s a leader who is talking to farmers whose land has been acquired in the name of industrialisation. Fishermen, villagers — everybody is unhappy,” Shah said.

In Delhi, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh was happy that Kejriwal had brought the so-called Modi development model under the scanner but complained about the media’s cold shoulder to similar efforts by the Congress.

Shashi Tharoor said he would “welcome” Kejriwal “if he brings the truth (about Gujarat) before the public” but wished the media had itself done the job.

“We have been telling this truth (about Modi) for long but if grabbing the media attention requires indulging in violence, sorry, we are not in it,” he said.

Referring to yesterday’s clashes between Aam Aadmi Party and BJP workers in several cities, Tharoor said: “This is what happens when forces of violence and hatred counter the politics of anarchy.”

Kejriwal today apologised for the violence, asking his supporters to be careful and “not fall prey” to the BJP’s “evil designs”.

Today, too, groups of people shouted slogans against Kejriwal at several places, such as a hospital in Bhuj, which is part of Kutch.

Yesterday, a mob had shown him black flags at a village and allegedly stoned his car and smashed its windshield. Kutch police today lodged a case of rioting and vandalism against a mob of 40 to 50 people without naming Kejriwal or identifying the accused, a PTI report said.