On Day 2, Rahul Gandhi invokes Sardar, continues to attack Modi

The Congress leader will visit famous Khodaldham temple today, seen as another attempt to reach out to Patels

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On Day 2, Rahul Gandhi invokes Sardar, continues to attack Modi
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi interacts with supporters at Jamnagar on Tuesday


Eyeing support of the highly influential Patidar (Patel) community in the upcoming elections, Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi invoked Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on the second day of his three-day Gujarat Yatra, even as he continued his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress leader was greeted at several places as his yatra passed through Patidar dominated villages of Jamnagar and Rajkot on Tuesday.

In his interactions with villagers, Gandhi accused the state government of perpetrating atrocities on Patel community members during the reservation stir.

In a bid to connect with the community, Gandhi even wore a 'Patidar Cap' with slogan 'Jai Sardar-Jai Patidar' emblazoned on it, on his arrival at Dhrol town.

"You gave Sardar Patel to the country, but the BJP government committed atrocities on you. Bullets were also fired at you," he said.

At Falla village of Jamnagar, Gandhi was greeted with the slogan 'Jai Sardar, Jai Patidar', which has become a war cry for the agitating Patels.

Incidentally, even as Gandhi was wooing Patels, a few hundred kms away, top ministers were holding talks with the agitation leaders and Patel community leaders in a bid to break the impasse over the issue of reservation for the community, in state capital Gandhinagar.

Gandhi, who began his Gujarat visit by offering prayers at the famous Dwarkadheesh temple on Monday, is also slated to visit Khodaldham temple, the seat of Maa Khodiyar worshipped by the highly influential Leuva Patidar community, which is seen as another sign that the Congress is aggressively reaching out to Patels.

Speaking to villagers along the route, Gandhi alleged that the state government is being run through a remote control from Delhi.

"The time has come that the Gujarat government runs from Gujarat and works for well-being of people," he said, reaching out to villagers ahead of the upcoming elections.

The Congress leader, who is set to take over as the party president, continued his attack on Modi over his government's policies.

"You are busy with jumlas (gimmicks) and making tall promises. That is your style of doing things. As PM, it is your job to give employment and solve the country's problems. If you cannot, the Congress will do so after coming to power," Gandhi, who had criticised Modi over demonetisation and GST a day earlier, said.

Rahul also raised the social media campaign Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe (Development has gone crazy), which has gone viral in Gujarat in the past few days, to take potshots at the famed Gujarat model of development. It seems that vikas (development) has gone made because some people lied too much about it, he said.

Gandhi's yatra will cover Rajkot and Surendranagar on the third and final day on Wednesday. He is also expected to undertake similar yatras in north, central and south Gujarat regions before the elections, which are likely to be held in December.

(with agencies)

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