New Delhi: As Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi officially kick-started his campaign for a third-straight term, the Congress party on Tuesday shied away from declaring its high profile general secretary Rahul Gandhi the chief campaigner in the state.
Responding to questions whether Rahul would campaign in Gujarat, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said: “The point is that he (Narendra Modi) punches above his height. So, even when the election is for the Gujarat State Assembly, instead of engaging on local issues, he tries to make it a Gandhinagar versus Delhi battle. We strongly feel that this is a state election and our Gujarat unit as well as whosoever is assigned the responsibility are adequate enough for this job.”
It seems the Congress is treading its path in Gujarat cautiously after Rahul Gandhi’s exhaustive campaign in Uttar Pradesh proved to be disastrous for the party which was pushed to the margins. Albeit Rahul owned up to the responsibility for the defeat in UP, yet has since moderated his public exposure.
Meanwhile, Narendra Modi on Tuesday challenged the Congress to battle it out on the issue of development and not by using the CBI to target him.
Addressing a rally at Becharaji temple town in Mehsana, before embarking on a state-wide yatra, Modi said, “We need to awaken with our dreams and move forward. Gujarat wants peace, prosperity.”
“Leaders of the Congress party have declared that they will oppose me wherever I will go….this is democracy and it is election time and have they lost patience that they can’t hear someone….do you want that Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister be opposed when they come (for campaigning)?” he said attacking the Congress.
“Why practice politics of opposition? I have the right to express my thoughts, you (Congress) also have the right do so, my government can even provide you with all the help that you need for the same,” Modi quipped.
In the last Assembly Election in Gujarat, Sonia Gandhi spearheaded her party`s campaign by hurling an invective - merchant of death - against Modi.