On Rahul Gandhi’s Gujarat remark, made in Assam today

Japan K Pathak

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today while speaking in Assam mentioned ‘Gujarat’ at least thrice in his speech. No surprise that none of three mentions was made as expression of respect for Gujarat. Instead the State’s name was mentioned in bad taste and disrespectful manner. All Rahul wanted to convey in this section of his speech in Assam was Congress party’s promise that if it is elected to power it will increase payment to tea garden workers from Rs. 167 to Rs. 365. Rahul could communicate this to the crowd without mentioning Gujarat. But he kept mentioning it ,obviously due to his apparent obsession with Gujarat and Gujaratis which is very visible when he bashes Gujarat businessmen and leaders day in and day out for last many years, most of the time without any substance or genuine evidence.

At Assam rally today, Rahul said, while a tea worker gets Rs. 167, Gujarat businessmen get (whole) tea garden. He repeated this line again to reemphasize the word ‘Gujarat’, and gave strange logic in his trademark jibrish, that this is the reason why Assam is being divided. ‘Because they know that if they want to steal from Assam, then Assam has to be divided. Because if Assam is not divided, then no power can steal from Assam,’ he said. He then said the Congress party(if elected to power) will give daily Rs. 365 to a tea worker. Rahul again mentioned Gujarat. He said, ‘you would ask, arre bhaiya, if you give Rs. 200 daily, from where are you going to bring it, and my simple reply will be that (we will bring it) from Gujarat businessmen.’ Rahul then said, ‘Woh (Gujarat businessman) aapse chhin raha hai (he is snatching it from you).’

While positioning businessman against labourers is old Communist practice, Rahul’s Congress party which is no less leftist in discourse than Communists – ever since Sonia Gandhi took
its leadership – walks a step ahead and not just attempts to position labourers against traders but also mentions the State’s name and attempts to position the section of the people of one State against the section of the people of another State. Rahul could avoid using a word ‘Gujarat’ easily and could simply position tea traders against tea garden labourers for his sheer politics, but he deliberately used the word ‘Gujarat’, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union Home minister Amit Shah are from Gujarat. For dirty politics, Rahul is now nastily and dangerously attempting to create regional divide.

So wouldn’t mentioning Gujarat in bad manner, cost Congress party dearly when it comes to Gujarat politics? Well, it appears that Rahul is not hoping much to gain from Gujarat. With he as Prime Ministerial candidate of Congress party virtually, Congress got absolutely zero seat in Lok Sabha general elections in Gujarat twice – in 2014 and 2019. Gujarat has been reelecting non-Congress governments since 1990.

Then there’s a history. Number of accounts have indicated that Jawaharlal Nehru made injustice to Sardar Patel, Indira Gandhi made injustice to Morarji Desai and it is well-known how Narendra Modi has been targeted in all these years first by Sonia Gandhi and later Rahul Gandhi. All three however emerged taller than tallest. It is very much in public that for Nehru dynasty, challengers come from Gujarat. And therefore non-stop and unreasonably bashing against Gujarat businessmen, Gujarat leaders, halting permissions required for progress of Sardar Sarovar Narmada project and much more negativity from usual suspects bring no surprise.

Ahead of year 2010 local body/civic elections in Gujarat, then Chief Minister Narendrabhai Modi had in his one of campaign speeches in Ahmedabad asked the people to politely throw a question to Congress candidates when they visit their home to seek vote that ‘Sohrabuddin tamaaro shu sago thaay? (How Sohrabuddin is your/Congress party’s relative?)’ Over ten years down the line, Gujarat is yet again witnessing local polls, campaign for which is underway. A suitable question deserving to be asked to Congress campaigners when they visit homes could be, ‘What you have to say about your leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks mentioning Gujarat/Gujaratis?’

Tea is something that connects Gujarat and Assam. Most Gujarati families daily consume tea, for twice or thrice. No need to say that it largely comes from Assam. It’s shameful for Rahul Gandhi to use tea as a tool of division for political benefits, that we are sure the people of Assam will not allow him to gain. There’s nothing much to explain or clarify in this open remark with clear mention of the name of the State. Congress leader therefore must apologize and in future discontinue his practice of Gujarat bashing. If he doesn’t pay this courtesy from his side, we Gujaratis are compelled to keep this line in our mind – lest we forget, lest we forgive. DeshGujarat

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