Party in a fix but its Gujarat unit maintains move was to scuttle Chief Minister's claim
It was supposed to be a satire against Chief Minister Narendra Modi but the pullout issued by the Gujarat Congress and distributed with the local newspapers has proved counterproductive and put the party in an embarrassing situation for “praising” its arch-enemy. The Congress, however, did not agree that it had made any mistake. “It was a deliberate and conscious decision of the party leadership, and it is not a mistake,” Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said here on Friday. “We are going to take the advertisement campaign further and cover all the State.” According to Dr. Doshi, the advertisement inserted in the Ahmedabad-based newspapers was only aimed at rebutting Mr. Modi's claim that Gujarat owed all its developments to him and the 10 years of the BJP rule under him. The advertisement had listed the “achievements” of all the Chief Ministers since the inception of the State in 1960 to show that Mr. Modi was not the “sole claimant for all the credits,” and rather the initiation of the schemes and most of the achievements were made under the Congress regimes long before the advent of the BJP as the ruling party in the State and Mr. Modi, Dr. Doshi claimed.
But the message of the advertisement is lost on a large section of the people which believes that the Congress has “finally woken up the reality” and praised Mr. Modi for what he has done for Gujarat.
Coming to the Modi regime, the advertisement described the Chief Minister as a “master organiser and astute election strategist.” Listing his “major achievements,” it said he had been “trying very hard to convert Gujarat into a vibrant State, he has established a separate Department for Biotechnology, and he has also been able to raise the height of the Narmada [dam] by 11.64 metres to 121.92 metres.”
In this regard, Dr. Doshi said the party “made it clear that while Mr. Modi was claiming credit for the Narmada dam, 110 metres of the dam construction was completed before he took over as Chief Minister.”
While the Congress argued that it had only mocked Mr Modi's claim of massive industrialisation by stating that he had given the State only the brand of “Vibrant Gujarat,” the people in general took it as a positive reference to his organising the show every two years for wooing huge investments.
Dr. Doshi said: “We have also made it clear that besides Vibrant Gujarat, what Mr. Modi has contributed to the State were several ‘Mahotsavas' — Navratri Mahotsava, Krishi Mahotsava during every summer, Ranotsava to celebrate the festivals in the Kutch desert, and Kankaria carnival in Ahmedabad during Christmas holidays — spending crores of rupees from the State exchequer.”
“What we are trying to convey through this advertisement is that Gujarat's progress is not due to one person. It has been a progressive State from its inception and that all the Chief Ministers have given their best to the State,” Dr. Doshi said.