Days after attack on Congress office, Rahul Gandhi vows to defeat BJP govt in Gujarat

Gandhi's visit followed a clash between Congress and BJP workers outside the Gujarat Congress headquarters in Ahmedabad

Video screengrab (courtesy: @INCIndia/X)
Video screengrab (courtesy: @INCIndia/X)

NH Political Bureau

Days after activists of the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) and Bajrang Dal stormed the Congress office in Ahmedabad, Congress MP and Lok Sabha leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi addressed state Congress workers on Saturday, urging them not to fear the BJP.

Gandhi's visit followed a clash between Congress and BJP workers outside the Gujarat Congress headquarters purportedly triggered by his alleged 'anti-Hindu' remarks in his speech during the recent special session of Parliament. Gujarat Police arrested five Congress workers on Tuesday.

"They have challenged us. We will defeat Modi and the BJP in Gujarat just like we did in Ayodhya," Gandhi said at the Congress workers’ convention, held at the same location where clash erupted.

Gandhi's statement assumes significance as it underscores the Congress's determination to challenge the ruling BJP in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections. The party recently won its first Lok Sabha seat in the state in a decade.

Accusing the BJP of politicising Ram, Gandhi referred to L.K. Advani's infamous Ram Rath Yatra from the 1990s, stating that while the yatra started in Ayodhya, it has also ended in Ayodhya with the recent Lok Sabha election.

Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the Ram Mandir, the BJP lost the Faizabad seat, which includes Ayodhya city. "I am telling you that just like BJP lost in Ayodhya, it is going to lose in Gujarat too. The people of Gujarat have to do only one thing. You don't have to be afraid. If you fight the BJP without any fear, the BJP will not be able to stand in front of you," Gandhi said, referring to INDIA bloc candidate Awadhesh Prasad's victory in Faizabad.

Attacking the RSS, BJP and PM Modi, Gandhi said the RSS was afraid of fighting the British, as PM Modi was of contesting from Ayodhya. "Surveys were conducted thrice in Ayodhya, and the surveyors said: if Narendra Modi contests elections from Ayodhya, he will lose and his political career will end. That is why Narendra Modi contested from Varanasi, but he had a narrow escape there too," Gandhi said, referring to the PM's relatively slim victory margin in Varanasi.

He noted that in the 2017 Assembly elections, the Congress campaigned for only three months yet came close to victory. This time, he asserted, the Congress will go beyond and cross the finishing line.

In the last Assembly elections in 2022, while the BJP achieved a historic supermajority, securing 156 seats — the highest ever won by any party in Gujarat's history — Congress plummeted to its lowest seat count in three decades with just 17, and the Aam Aadmi Party made inroads by winning five seats.