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Can't ignore him, can you? 'Failed dynast' Rahul Gandhi key focus at BJP national executive meet

Anurag Dey | Updated on: 25 September 2017, 17:51 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah, senior party leaders LK Advani, MM Joshi and Manoj Tewari at BJP's national executive meeting at Talkatora stadium, in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI Photo by Kamal Kishore)

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi may be a “failed dynast” for the BJP but he ended being the core issue during BJP Chief Amit Shah’s inaugural address at the national executive meeting of the party. The meeting has been convened to address the backlash faced by the ruling party at the Centre over economic slowdown and rising unemployment.

The extended national executive meeting at the national capital is being attended by over 2,000 BJP functionaries including Union Ministers, MPs and MLAs and is being presided over by Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Briefing the media about Shah’s address, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said Rahul Gandhi was one of the three key points of the address, the others being – the Modi government’s development work, the politics of violence pursued by the Left in Kerala and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

“Through the pro-poor and public welfare schemes the Modi-led BJP government is steadily putting India ahead on the world map, but Rahul Gandhi is undermining all this outside the country,” Goyal said.

“Shah in his address gave a befitting reply to Gandhi with facts and figures,” Goyal added, referring to Gandhi’s recent US visit where he came down hard on the Modi government over the economic slowdown, rising unemployment and other issues including demonetisation.

“Today India is a growing economy and making rapid progress in public welfare all because of the BJP government’s endeavours. It is because of Modi’s efforts that today 60 crore poor are dreaming of their conditions getting improved,” said Goyal.

In his speech, Shah also tore into Gandhi over his remarks that dynasty was the norm in India.

“Strongly condemning Gandhi’s remarks that dynasty was the norm here, Shah said that the BJP believes in the politics of performance and good governance. Be it the Prime Minister, or the President or the Lok Sabha Speaker, all these people who are holding high offices have come to the place on the basis of their performance on the basis of their merit,” said Goyal quoting Shah.

“The BJP believes in the politics of performance and condemns the dynasty politics which the Congress pursues,” he said.

“Shah also demanded Rahul Gandhi answer the country about the Rs 12 lakh crore that was looted in scams, why successive Congress governments denied development of the country and through its politics of appeasement stalled development,” added Goyal.

Commenting on the possibility of Rahul becoming the Congress president, Goyal said: “We welcome political competitiveness. The more Rahul is active in politics, the better it is for us. We believe he will continue lead the Congress.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays floral tributes to the bust of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee at BJP's national executive meeting at Talkatora stadium, in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI photo Kamal Kishore)

Notwithstanding the fact that the BJP has been ridiculing Gandhi for his remarks during his US visit, Shah donating much of his time discussing the Congress leader perhaps is an inclination of the party’s discomfort over the issues raised by him.

The party has been facing intense criticism over the stalling economy not just from the Opposition and civil society, but also from within its rank and file.

Incidentally, earlier reacting Gandhi’s rant in the US, the party had mocked him by saying – “He is a failed political leader who has to run off to the United States to deliver lectures as nobody is willing to listen to him in India.”

Union minister Smriti Irani had called Rahul a “failed dynast”.

“A failed dynast today chose to speak about his failed political journeys in the US,” she had said.

Shah in his address also hailed Modi government's policies for rejuvenating the economy.

“Because of the government’s policies there is fiscal stability and the economy has improved in all parameters. The growth has gone up to 7%, last quarter there was an aberration which would be set right going forward,” Goyal said quoting Shah.

While Shah chose to reiterate his stand that the GDP slump in the last quarter was a mere aberration, the State Bank of India (SBI) report has now revealed that the economic slowdown is for real.

“We certainly believe that we are in a slowdown mode since September 2016 and a slowdown that has been prolonged to Q1 of this fiscal year is technically not short-term in nature or even transient,” SBI Research said in a report.

Shah had claimed at a recent event that the dip in the GDP growth rate to 5.7% in the last quarter, was due to some “technical reasons”.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

First published: 25 September 2017, 17:51 IST