"BJP facing clear cut anti-incumbency in Gujarat, people want change"
Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal on Wednesday said the ruling BJP in Gujarat was facing a "clear cut anti-incumbency" ahead of the state Assembly polls due later this year
Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal on Wednesday said the ruling BJP in Gujarat was facing a "clear cut anti-incumbency" ahead of the state Assembly polls due later this year.
The chances of Congress forming the next government are "very bright" as people are fed up with the present ruling dispensation in the state, Venugopal told reporters.
He was speaking after holding a 12-hour marathon meeting with Congress leaders in the presence of Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior observer for Gujarat elections Ashok Gehlot over plans and preparations for the elections.
Addressing the press conference, Venugopal also targeted the BJP over the recent hooch tragedy in Botad and Ahmedabad and various drug smuggling cases in the state.
He called the Gujarat government "corrupt and ineffective" over its move to change the entire cabinet last year, and more recently snatch away portfolios of two senior cabinet ministers.
He said the Congress has decided on its 90-day election programme beginning Wednesday and will show that it is highly serious about the polls which it will fight unitedly and aggressively.
"We assessed and analysed that here there is a clear cut anti-incumbency. In the previous election, there was a feeling that the Congress did not do anything, and it will be a poor show for the Congress. But what happened was that we lost Gujarat by a margin of a few seats (in the 182-member Assembly)," he said.
"This year, there is more anti-incumbency in the minds of the people. We are sure that we are going to form government in Gujarat...Our chances are very bright," the senior Congress leader said.
Nine months ago, they changed the entire cabinet including the then chief minister, he noted.
"I saw that two days ago, two of the ministers lost their portfolios. This means they are themselves in agreement that the government is totally corrupt and ineffective," he said.
Otherwise what is the point of changing all the ministers, changing the portfolios of two ministers just three months before elections? he asked.
"The last 27 years of BJP rule has created a total disappointment in the minds of the people...If you ask the people, they are very much fed up with this government," he said.
Venugopal called Gujarat, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, as the "prime land of India" which the Congress is really proud of.
"When we were in power here 27 years ago, we showed to the country the path of development, social engineering, and other works," he said.
"From today 12 noon onwards, our senior leaders will sit and chalk out the programmes from day one to day 90. We will show the people that Congress is highly serious in this election. We will fight unitedly, aggressively," he said.
Attacking the government over the hooch tragedy, Venugopal said "in the last 15 years, illicit liquor claimed 750 lives in Gujarat."
Is this the BJP model of Gujarat? he sought to know.
"Not only illicit liquor, but drugs too. The Mundra port has become a drug mafia hub. What is the answer from the government side? We can understand if it happens once. It is repeated every time. What does it mean? Is it the Gujarat model of BJP?" the Congress leader asked.
Venugopal said the Congress model of Gujarat is what it did in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan for poor people and in Gujarat 27 years ago. "Whatever we are promising we are going to deliver," he said.
"Congress party is very much proud of Gujarat. It has its own legacy, we have to protect its legacy. We will try to protect and save Gujarat's legacy through the Congress programmes and policies," he added.
Rajasthan chief minister and senior observer for Gujarat elections Ashok Gehlot said that the Congress Party's manifesto for Gujarat elections will include old age pension scheme, daytime electricity for farmers, public health schemes and Indira Gandhi Shehri Rojgar Yojana- the welfare schemes which have been successfully implemented in Rajasthan.
With PTI inputs