Ahmedabad: After Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi's 'Samvaad' with party workers under the 'Navsarjan Gujarat' (New Creation) slogan, BJP President Amit Shah interacted with thousands of young BJP supporters on Sunday under the 'Adikham Gujarat' (Resolute) banner.
Clearly, both political parties are making an all-out effort to woo young and first-time voters in the state which goes to polls later this year.
The BJP said that Amit Shah's Youth Town Hall program received 10000 questions on Facebook, 12000 questions on the BJP website, and over 6000 questions on Twitter. The town hall was attended by over a lakh BJP workers at around 250 locations across the country.
Learning a lesson or two from the experience of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's Town Hall programme a few months ago, the BJP got Amit Shah not just to respond to questions that had already been received but also take questions live from at least 8 different locations.
The BJP President took questions on some contentious issues such as the Patidar reservation agitation, the Una Dalit atrocity case, slow down in the economy post demonetization, the GST issue and the recent floods that ravaged parts of Saurashtra and North Gujarat.
In reply to a question with regard to the Patidar reservation agitation, Amit Shah said: "This is a constitutional issue. The Supreme Court has capped reservation at 50%. Moreover, this is not the first time that a reservation agitation has taken place. The past experience shows that what begins as a reservation agitation for a particular community, ends up being a political movement. And those who lead the agitation on behalf of a community, actually behave like leaders of a particular political party."
Responding to a question on the Una incident in which a group of Dalits was flogged, the BJP President said, "As compared to other states in the country, the atrocities against Dalits are among the lowest in Gujarat. This is because the state government here has been strictly implementing laws to ensure such incidents do not recur."
On the sticky GST issue, Amit Shah said that GST is a modern and efficient tax system, but certain difficulties will be faced as part of the transition. He added that the council meeting is being held every month so that grievances can be addressed and necessary modifications can be made.
Shah singled out Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, saying that the Congress leader had been asking several questions of the Government of late, but successive Congress government had failed to deliver on any of their promises.
"Rahul Gandhi had asked several questions about development and growth, from the Sabarmati river-front last week. It is ironic that the very spot, from where he was speaking, was once a rivulet full of garbage and dirt. Today, the riverfront is a model that is being studied by various countries."
Amit Shah also singled out the Congress over the Narmada issue, saying that the Congress had deliberately tried to stall the progress of the Sardar Sarovar Dam project. "Ask the Congress why attempts were made to stall the progress of a Narmada Dam project under Congress rule. Whenever BJP governments or non-Congress governments were in power, the project moved swiftly," he told the young attendees.
Answering a question on the pathetic state of roads across the state because of the monsoon, the BJP President said that the state government in association with various civic bodies will carry out a drive from September 15 to October 22, and all damaged roads in the state will be resurfaced.