BJP jitters in attack on Rahul

Shah brings up Amethi to answer charge of lack of development in Gujarat

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 14.10.17
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Sonia Gandhi with Rahul at Mukherjee's book release in New Delhi on Friday. Asked when Rahul would be made Congress president, Sonia replied: "Soon it will be done." (PTI)

New Delhi, Oct. 13: The BJP today launched a full-scale attack on Rahul Gandhi, calling him " shahzada" and "Rahul Baba" and mocking his temple visits, betraying signs it was rattled by the reception the Congress vice-president had received in poll-bound Gujarat.

Amit Shah

BJP chief Amit Shah slammed Rahul in Ahmedabad while law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad did so in Delhi.

"Rahul should have told the people of Gujarat about his development model in Amethi. Despite being a VIP constituency since Independence Amethi still lacks basic amenities like schools, electricity, hospitals," Shah said at an event organised by the Aaj Tak news channel.

Amethi lacked development although it had been a "VIP constituency" since the days of the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, he alleged. Rahul's Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh first elected a Nehru-Gandhi family member as MP in 1980.

The BJP chief then presented figures to claim Gujarat had developed by leaps and bounds under the BJP.

The bid to answer Rahul's charge of farm distress and lack of development in Gujarat by comparing it with far-off Amethi is being seen as a sign of jitters in the BJP. Shah, along with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Union minister Smriti Irani had rushed to Amethi while Rahul was in Gujarat earlier this week, trying to counter the Congress leader's narrative on news channels.

At his campaign meetings, Rahul had gunned for the BJP on development as well as the 16,000-time rise in the turnover of Shah's son Jay's company in one year.

In Delhi, Ravi Shankar Prasad today mocked Rahul for visiting temples in Gujarat and said this would not fetch votes, work would: " Prabhu ke darshan se vote nahi milta, kaam se milta hai." It was good Rahul was learning to do " aarti" in temples, he said, but the people of Gujarat would look at the Congress's development record.

"The Congress's DNA reeks of corruption. The party has never bothered about development," Prasad alleged.

The minister accused the Congress of conspiring not to allow water to flow from the Sardar Sarovar dam in Gujarat, saying the UPA government did everything to ensure the dam doesn't get completed.

In Ahmedabad, Shah said: "Rahul Baba, your ' parnana' (maternal great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru) had laid the foundation for Narmada project but we under (Narendra) Modi completed it."

The aggressive attack on Rahul, who is expected to return to Gujarat for another visit after Diwali, suggested the BJP was rattled by the response he had received. Party leaders acknowledged the Congress vice-president had drawn impressive crowds and that people had heard him attentively. The BJP now wants to launch a rebuttal of Rahul's charges of lack of development in Gujarat.