AAP not in race, real Gujarat poll battle between Congress, BJP: Gehlot

  • | Wednesday | 17th August, 2022

Vadodara, Aug 17 (PTI) Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday sought to downplay the entry of Arvind Kejriwal"s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) into the Gujarat poll arena and claimed the real battle will be fought between his party Congress and the ruling BJP.Expressing confidence about the Congress winning the Assembly polls due by the year-end, he attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying people have now understood the "hollowness" of the famed "Gujarat Model" of development.Talking to reporters here, the senior Congress observer for the Gujarat Assembly elections said, "We are not concerned about the AAP"s entry into Gujarat. Though they have come, the real battle will be between the Congress and the BJP. The Congress is very strong in Gujarat and we will give a tough fight this time. I will not be surprised if the Congress forms the next government." AAP convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has been frequently visiting Gujarat and announcing pre-poll "guarantees". So far, he has announced pre-poll promises related to electricity, education, women empowerment and tribals, among others.Gehlot is on a two-day Gujarat visit from Wednesday during which he will hold meetings with state Congress leaders to review their preparedness for the upcoming Assembly polls.He started his Gujarat tour from Vadodara by holding a meeting with party leaders from the central Gujarat zone on Wednesday morning. He then reached Ahmedabad to hold a meeting with north Gujarat zone leaders."Those who used to talk about the Gujarat Model have now become the PM (referring to Narendra Modi, who was earlier state CM). People have now understood the hollowness of this Gujarat Model because all their problems still persist. This model is now exposed and people want to now give a chance to the Congress," Gehlot told reporters ahead of the meeting here."Last time (in 2017), we missed the (majority) mark by only a few seats in Gujarat. This time, we will give a tough fight and launch an impressive poll campaign. Despite tall claims of "Feel Good" and "India Shining", the Vajpayee government lost the Lok Sabha polls in 2004. Similarly, the BJP in Gujarat will also lose despite tall (development) claims of its government," he added.On the issue of recent incidents of seizure of drugs in Gujarat, Gehlot said liquor (whose manufacturing and sale is banned) and drugs were freely available in the BJP-ruled state despite it being the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.Speaking about the recent power battle in adjoining Maharashtra, where a new dispensation took office in June-end following a revolt in the Shiv Sena, the Congress leader accused the BJP of using the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to "topple governments". PTI COR PJT RSY RSY

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