Gujarat polls: Comments that triggered controversies and grabbed headlines

PTI, Dec 6, 2022, 3:35 PM IST

Ahmedabad: Strong comments cheered by supporters, slammed by rivals, and deemed controversial by others are always headline-makers during poll campaigns and the Gujarat assembly elections were no exception.

As people are waiting for the results on Thursday, here is a list of such remarks and the leaders behind them.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma drew criticism from the Congress but was feted by the BJP’s Hindutva base after he took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi by likening his new bearded look to that of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

It would have been better had he turned his appearance resembling that of Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru or Mahatma Gandhi, Sarma said at a public meeting in Ahmedabad on November 23.

Only a few days prior to this, Sarma, at a rally in Kutch, called the murder of Shraddha Walkar allegedly by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala in Delhi a case of ”love jihad”.

He claimed that people like Poonawala will be born in every city if there is no strong leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged people to vote for the BJP.

Critics panned Sarma but the crafty Assam leader is increasingly being seen as a rising star for his party’s Hindutva base and is increasingly in demand for poll campaigns.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s swipe at his Delhi counterpart and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal at a public meeting on November 26 also drew criticism.

Adityanath called him a ”namoona” (a pejorative Hindi slang which translates to ‘sample’ in English) from Delhi who is a ”sympathiser” of terrorists.

Kejriwal was quick to seize on the comments and asked voters to elect the BJP if they want ”abuses, hooliganism, corruption and ugly politics”, but support him if they want schools, hospitals, electricity, water and roads.

Home Minister Amit Shah’s claim at a rally in Mahudha town of Kheda district on November 25 that the BJP established permanent peace in the state after rioters were taught a lesson in 2002, drew flak from rivals. He accused the Congress of supporting rioters.

Communal violence had broken out in Gujarat that year after the Godhra train tragedy.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge infuriated the BJP with his ‘Ravan’ barb at Modi.

Kharge wondered if the prime minister was ”100-headed” like the king of Lanka in Ramayan epic as he asked people to look at his face while voting whether in municipal polls, assembly elections or parliamentary contests.

The BJP accused him of ”insulting” every Gujarati with his comments and said the people will teach the Congress a lesson.

Another Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry had triggered a row with with his claim that Modi will be shown his ‘aukat’, a remark seized by the BJP to target the opposition party.

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