Congress general secretary KC Venugopal on Wednesday claimed that the ruling BJP in Gujarat is facing a “clear anti-incumbency wave” ahead of the state assembly elections due later this year.
Venugopal told reporters that the chances of Congress forming the next government are very high as people are fed up with the current ruling government in the state.
He was speaking after a 12-hour marathon meeting with Congress leaders regarding election plans and preparations in the presence of Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior Gujarat election observer Ashok Gehlot.
Venugopal also hit out at the BJP over the recent liquor tragedy in Botad and Ahmedabad and various drug smuggling cases in the state.
He called the Gujarat government “corrupt and ineffective” over its move to replace the entire cabinet last year, and recently stripped the portfolios of two senior cabinet ministers.
He said the Congress has decided on its 90-day election schedule starting Wednesday and it will show that it is very serious about the elections, which it will fight in a united and aggressive manner.
“We have assessed and analyzed that there is an anti-incumbency wave here. In the last election, it seemed that Congress did nothing and it would be a poor performance for Congress. But what happened is that we in Gujarat (in the 182-member assembly) lost by a margin of a few seats.
“This year there is a more anti-incumbency wave in the minds of the people. We are sure that we are going to form the government in Gujarat. Our prospects are very bright,” said the senior Congress leader.
Nine months ago, he replaced the entire cabinet, including the then chief minister, he said.
“I noticed that two days back, two ministers had lost their portfolios. This means that they agree that the government is completely corrupt and ineffective,” he said.
Otherwise, just three months before the election, what is the point of changing all the ministers, changing the portfolios of two ministers? He asked.
“The 27-year rule of the BJP has created complete despair in the minds of the people… If you ask the people, they are very fed up with this government,” he said.
Venugopal called Gujarat, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the “prime land of India”, which the Congress is proud of.
“27 years ago, when we were in power here, we showed the country the path of development, social engineering and other works,” he said.
He said that Congress has decided to have a clear schedule of 90 days in the countdown to the elections.
He said, ‘Today from noon, our senior leaders will sit till 90 o’clock from the first day. We will show people that Congress is very serious in this election. We will fight unitedly, and aggressively.
Attacking the government over the tragedy of spurious liquor, Venugopal said, “In the last 15 years, illicit liquor killed 750 people in Gujarat.” Is this the BJP model of Gujarat? He wanted to know.
“Not only illicit alcohol but also drugs. Mundra port has become a drug mafia hub. What is the response from the government? Once that happens, we can understand. This is repeated every time. what does this mean? Is this BJP’s Gujarat model?” Congress leader asked.
Venugopal said the Congress model of Gujarat is the same as it did for poor people in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and Gujarat 27 years ago. “Whatever promise we are making, we are going to fulfill it,” he said.
“The Congress party is very proud of Gujarat. It has its heritage, we have to protect its heritage. We will try to save and save the legacy of Gujarat through the programs and policies of Congress.
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