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Narendra Modi’s Gujarat Assembly poll pitch

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New Delhi: Mounting a vociferous attack on the Congress and Gandhis for “hating” Gujarat and Gujaratis and treating them as “irritants in the eye”, Narendra Modi set the tone for the BJP campaign in assembly elections in the state, saying the party’s impressive showing in Uttar Pradesh had made “political pundits” tell the Opposition “give 2019 to Modi, start focusing on 2024”.

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Describing the assembly elections as a fight between “vikasvaad” (development) of the BJP and “vanshvaad” (dynasty) of the Congress, Modi told a huge gathering of party ‘page pramukh’ that the Congress, while in power at the Centre, tried its best to jail him after sending Amit Shah behind bars — Shah was arrested in July 2010 in connection with the Sohrabuddin encounter case.

To boost party morale in the run-up to the assembly election — dates for which are still to be announced — Modi said: “Jab Uttar Pradesh ke chunav ke results aaye thhe, tabhi desh ke political pandito ne bol diya tha ki vipaksh ko 2019 ki taiyyari chhod deni chahiye aur 2024 ke liye lag jaana chahiye. 2019 Modi ko de do, 2024 pe lag jao (When the UP results came in, political pundits said the Opposition should forget about 2019 and start preparing for 2024. Give 2019 to Modi, start focusing on 2024).”

“When our Morarjibhai Desai, who was from Gujarat, became Prime Minister, this group spread stories about what he drinks and what he does not drink. They never let people know about his work, his efforts, his farsightedness. They do not like Gujarat.”

“Today, I am again throwing them a challenge to fight elections on the issue of development. But don’t defame development,” he said. “These people have looted this country. Who will save the middle class? For me, country is above the party… And people need to understand what this is.”

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