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‘The Gujarati is coming and asking for votes’: Ashok Gehlot remembers Gujarat loss from 2017, tries to play ‘outsider’ card against PM Modi

Gehlot conveniently forgot that his own party leaders and other opposition parties have time and again outsider jibes against PM Modi. Back in 2018, Karnataka Congress leader CM Siddaramaiah had been attacking UP CM Yogi Adityanath as an ‘outsider’ in the state.

On Thursday, November 23, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot raked up the Gujarati-Marwadi issue claiming that back in 2017 during the Gujarat Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that a Marwadi [Gehlot] had come. CM Gehlot asserted that now even he can say that an outsider, a Gujarati has come to Rajasthan, though he is not saying it, if the people will listen to him where will I go.”

During a press conference on Thursday, CM Gehlot said, “I was in-charge there during the Gujarat elections in 2017. Then Modi ji said- Bhaiyon-Behno if you listen to Marwari, then where will I go? And he got votes thereby making an emotional appeal otherwise we [Congress] would have won. Now PM Modi himself is coming here. Now I am not saying that if you listen to Gujarati, where will I go? Therefore, people of Rajasthan, I am yours only, I am not away from you.”

Moreover, Ashok Gehlot called PM Modi an actor alleging that PM Modi lied about being called a ‘neech’ (lowly/low caste). “PM acts calling himself an OBC, says that people call him neech, despite nobody having called him neech.”

CM Gehlot, however, forgot that pack in December 2017, Congress leader Manishankar Aiyar, notorious for his controversial remarks had called PM Modi a “neech kisam ka aadmi” ahead of the Gujarat Assembly election. “Ye bahut hi neech kisam ka aadmi hai, is mein koi sabhyata nahi hai…” Aiyar said.

Moreover, while Gehlot is claiming that PM Modi played the caste and ‘neech’ card to gain public sympathy and is denying that the prime minister was called ‘neech’, his party’s prince Rahul Gandhi had tried to distance himself rom Aiyar’s casteist remark against PM Modi and “expected” an apology from him. Aiyar never apologised, rather, two years later, he even gave justification for his “neech aadmi” jibe.

It is worth recalling that during a public rally in 2017 in Gujarat, PM Modi had reacted to Mani Shankar Aiyar’s neech jibe and said, “You [crowd] tell me if I am a neech because I was born in a poor family? I was born in a backward class is that why I am a neech? Or because I am a Gujarati that’s why I am a neech? You tell me, what wrong have I done to the country to be called a neech? This is not the first time that Congress leaders have called Modi neech.”

It is rather ironic that senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot is upset with PM Modi’s reaction to being targeted for his humble background and caste claiming that he plays the emotional OBC card, while his own party is promising reservations for ‘minorities’ in Rajasthan in its election manifesto. As reported earlier, Congress has vowed to offer reservations to the Muslim community in proportion to their population.

CM Gehlot is asserting that PM Modi had called him a Marwari who has come to Gujarat. However, he conveniently forgot that his own party leaders and other opposition parties have time and again outsider jibes against PM Modi. Back in 2018, Karnataka Congress leader CM Siddaramaiah had been attacking UP CM Yogi Adityanath as an ‘outsider’ in the state.

It is, however, understandable that Ashok Gehlot who was appointed the in-charge of Gujarat ahead of polls in 2017 by the Congress party and was at the forefront of leading a campaign for his party in the Modi stronghold could not ascend his party to victory, is upset with PM Modi even after so many years as since then, the BJP has only grown bigger and stronger in the state. While in the 2017 elections, BJP won 99 seats and Congress secured 77 seats, in the next elections held last year, not only registered a victory but also shined like never before by securing 156 out of 182 seats.

With burning issues of deteriorating law and order, a rise in crimes against women and the corruption issue, it would not be a surprise if the people of Rajasthan bring the Bhartiya Janata Party to power as the state has been toppling the incumbent government in the recent years.

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