Rahul angles for the Patidar vote

first_imgEven as the Gujarat government on Tuesday held talks with Patidar community leaders to resolve the contentious reservation issue before the Assembly polls, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reminded the community that the BJP administration had tried to crush their agitation, killing 14 persons in police firing.“It was your community who gave the country Sardar Patel. He was from here. But the BJP government here gave you bullets when you demanded your rights. The police killed 14 persons while beating up women in their own homes,” Mr. Gandhi said addressing a gathering in Patidar-majority Tankara in Morbi district.Invoking the legacy of Sardar Patel, who the BJP now touts as one of its inspirational figures, Mr. Gandhi said, “It is shameful for the Modi government that the statue of Sardar Patel on Narmada river will be Made in China. This entirely exposes the failure of the government’s Make In India scheme as you can’t even make Sardar Patel’s statue in the country.”Also Read Rahul slams Gujarat growth model  Before reaching Tankara, Mr. Gandhi addressed a gathering in Dhrol town where members of the Patidar community got him to wear yellow Gandhi cap with Jay Sardar, Jay Patidar on it.Farm distressFarm distress and unemployment have been the recurrent themes of Mr. Gandhi’s speeches as he tries to woo farming communities like the Patidar and Ahir and youth searching for jobs amidst a slowdown in the economy that has virtually killed the job-generating avenues.“Do you get ₹2,000 for cotton bale and ₹1,500 for groundnut as was demanded when Modiji was Chief Minister here,” he asked farmers in Dhrol amid shouts of “No! No!” from the audience.‘Alter Modi model’“If we want to change Gujarat and bring the development back on the track again, we will have to change this Modi Model under which work is done by the farmers, small and medium industries, traders, youth and labourers but benefits are reaped by 5-10 favourite industrialists,” Mr. Gandhi said, continuing attacks on Mr. Modi’s alleged proximity to a few big industrial houses.He also lashed out on the GST regime and demonetisation that, he said, had derailed the entire chain of economic activities and hit the farmers, poor, small businessmen and small and mid-sized industries the hardest. In Jamnagar and Rajkot, both hubs of small and medium enterprises manufacturing auto parts, brass parts and engineering units that have seen negative impact of GST, Mr. Gandhi met representatives of local small industrialists and traders on their concerns over the impact of GST.last_img