PM Modi in Nikol: Congress has not called me 'Neech' for the first time; Sonia Gandhi, her family members have used it tooCampaigning for the second phase of the high-stakes Gujarat Assembly election kicks off today with four back-to-back rallies by PM Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi started Friday's campaign trail at a hard hitting role. Starting his first rally in Banaskantha, PM Modi accused Congress of apathy towards flood victims of the poll bound state. In the second rally, Modi attacked Congress for not taking action against 'lawyer leader' for trying to delay resolution of Ayodhya matter.
The prime minister is scheduled to address two other rallies on Friday, kick starting the the second phase of Gujarat Assembly polls. He will also hold the rallies at Vatva and Himatnagar for the remaining 93 seats.
Here are the live updates:
7:20pm: PM Modi's rally in Nikol ends
6:58pm: Imran Masood, who they gave a ticket to, he said we will cut Modi into pieces. Renuka Chowdhury called me a virus. She said I bring Namonitis. I don't even want to get started on what Gujarat Congress leaders have been calling me: PM
6:55pm: One more Congress leader called me a monkey. Jairam Ramesh compared me to Bhasmasur. Beni Prasad Verma called me a mad dog. Ghulam Nabi Azad said I am Gangu Teli. Are these the kind of things we should say in public life.
6:50pm: Digvijaya Singh said Modi Sarkar is like Rakshas Raaj and Modi is Ravana. Pramod Tiwari said Modi is in the list of Hitler, Mussolini and Gaddafi. Day and night the Congress has abused me. I keep quiet only because my priority is work.
6:45pm: What did Anand Sharma say - PM Modi is mentally unstable. One Congress leader re-tweeted such an offensive Tweet about me that I cannot even say it. What did Digvijaya Singh Tweet about me?
6:40pm: They have not called me 'Neech' for the first time yesterday. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and her family members have used it too. Why am I 'Neech' - because I was born poor, because I am of a lower caste, because I am a Gujarati? Is that why they hate me : PM
6:35pm: Any party that is anti-development and prefers to divide society will never be accepted in Gujarat and that is why Congress won't win. Gujarat has not forgotten the mis-governance of the Congress : PM
6:35pm: The Sabarmati River was not discovered during our time. Do we remember its pitiable condition during Congress rule. We built a riverfront and you can see the difference in Ahmedabad : PM
6:34pm: After travelling across Saurashtra, Kutch, South Gujarat and North Gujarat I am now in Ahmedabad. What I am seeing is extraordinary. It is clear that BJP will emerge victorious: PM
6:32pm: The population of our middle class is rising and so is the strength of our middle class. This section of society aspires to progress at a quick pace: PM
6:31pm: Why should it be that only malls can remain open for long durations. We ensured that small shops can also be open for long- this gives economic opportunities to several people: PM
6:30pm: Recently there was an attack in Amarnath. We ensured that all those who perpetrated this attack were punished by our armed forces : PM
6:30pm: PM Modi's rally in Ahmedabad's Nikol begins
3:45pm: PM Modi's rally in Kalol ends
3:38pm: One Congress leader, former Rajasthan CM himself, wrote a letter that Gujarat cannot use water from Mahi River. He called for Sujalam Sufalam Yojana not to be implemented he even complained to UPA government. But I said come what may I will provide water to North Gujarat: PM Modi
3:35pm: Do you know what happened in Rajkot? .Dr. Manmohan Singh met the press and after that the elderly Mansukh Kaka met him. He presented him a book containing the scams under the UPA. I congratulate Mansukh Kaka who spoke up for the truth and for honest governance: PM Modi
3:28pm: Instead of coming clear on why he wants Ayodhya Matter to be discussed in court after 2019, he is busy saying whose lawyer is he. He says he doesn't represent Sunni Wakf Board but he should say who is he representing? Why doesn't Congress also remove this lawyer leader
3:27pm: For the last 2 days, a top Congress leader and an illustrious lawyer has been speaking. He is free to represent whoever he wants to. But, why does he want to prolong the Ayodhya Case when all stakeholders want an early solution
3:25pm: PMModi's rally in Kalol begins
2:00pm: PM Modi's rally at Banaskantha ends
1:42pm: Mani Shankar Aiyar told people when he visited Pakistan - remove Modi from the way and then see what will happen to India-Pakistan peace. What did he mean by removing me from the way. And what is my crime- that we have the blessings of the people : PM
1:25pm: Earlier, people from here would have to travel a considerable distance to pray to Maa Narmada. Due to BJP, Narmada waters have come to this region : PM
1:15pm: PM Modi attacks Indira Gandhi again, says Indira Gandhi covered her nose when she visited the town of Morbi during dam disaster, while RSS workers distributed aide.
1:12pm: Those who did not stand with Banaskantha in the bad times of flood can not be excepted to serve either this district or the state of Gujarat
1:05pm: When there were floods here Congress MLAs were relaxing in Bengaluru whereas BJP leaders were working with people, helping in relief operations
1:00pm: When Gujarat was suffering from flood, BJP workers were supplying aide, whereas Congress leaders were swimming in pools
1:00pm: People of Patan and Banaskantha know the difference between Congress and BJP.
12:55pm: PM Modi begins his election rally in Banaskantha's Bhabhar
Campaigning for the first phase of polling in the crucial Gujarat elections ended on a high on Thursday. The campaign for the first phase saw emotive issues of religion and caste competing with that of development as the main rivals, BJP and Congress, launched no-holds-barred attacks on each other.
The sparring between the two parties while canvassing for the polls, dubbed as a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a litmus test for the leadership of soon-to-be Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, continued till the very end with Manishankar Aiyar's "neech aadmi" jibe at Modi triggering a controversy.
Polling for the first phase will be held on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will also begin the second leg of his campaign in the north and central Gujarat regions that go to polls in the second and final phase of the state Assembly elections.
The Gandhi scion will be visiting Chota Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Kheda and Anand districts, regions of the second phase of the elections.
Rahul Gandhi will be addressing a public meeting at APMC ground in Pavi Jetpur in Chhota Udepur district on Friday noon. He will also go to the Mogal Dham Mandir in Ranesar in Ahmedabad district.
Later in the afternoon, he will address a public gathering at the ground opposite Super Gas in Ranesar.
Modi and Gandhi had aggressively led their parties' campaigns in Saurashtra and south Gujarat which often turned personal.
The poll narrative kept changing with issues such as the Ayodhya title suit, Gandhi's imminent elevation as the Congress president and his visits to temples being raised by the BJP brass.
The campaign mainly shaped up as a duel between Modi and Gandhi, with the latter emerging as the Congress' pivot to take on the might of the prime minister on his home turf.
While the BJP is fighting anti-incumbency and struggling to alter a seemingly negative perception about demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout, the Congress, galvanised by an assertive Gandhi, has mainly targeted the "hollow Gujarat development model" to slam Modi.
The second leg of the campaign also promises to be equally interesting.