New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections is proof that the country is ready for reforms like the GST and has rejected the “poison of caste being sown by some in their hunger for power”.
In a powerful speech to party cadre, the PM refocused on his ‘vikas’ pitch after a bitter poll campaign and said the people’s verdict is a stamp of approval for his policy decisions. Hitting out at critics of the new tax regime, he said the common man has shown he knows more about progressive policies than “a few elites sitting in their bungalows in Delhi”.
The unified tax system had given Modi jitters in his home turf and it had become a significant poll issue, especially in Surat’s trading community. The Congress had tried hard to tap into the anger, but failed eventually with urban voters maintaining their loyalty for the saffron party.
Modi said the track record of the BJP since the launch of GST shows that it has been accepted by people. Since July, the BJP has won the Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh civic polls and now the assembly elections in the two states, he said.
“The common man of India is progressive and wants progressive policies. Some people were raising apprehensions about GST and news was spread that BJP would not do well, but we got a historic mandate. The nation has rallied behind it,” he said.
Referring to Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ jibe, he said that there were people who mocked ‘Vikas’ but India would never accept them. “On the front was only the Congress party, but behind the scenes, hidden forces were working for them. They were plotting to somehow remove Modi's party.”
“The truth is that since the 2014 Lok Sabha election, this country is hungry for development. Whether you like BJP or not but no one will be allowed to derail development,” he said.
He also attacked the Congress party for its “caste politics” and warned the people of Gujarat, and the nation, of falling into its trap again.
“Thirty years ago, the society was divided because of poison of casteism. It took 30 years of efforts by workers like me that the focus turned to development. But some people tried to again sow seeds of casteism in the past few months. The people of Gujarat must be aware going onwards,” said Modi, urging his “Gujarati brothers and sisters to forget whatever happened during elections and unite again”.
Calling it an unprecedented verdict, the PM said it was a special victory for him, personally, as parties nowadays find it difficult to win two consecutive terms but BJP has now won its sixth term.
“There might be people who would like to see BJP lose. But if a party keeps winning election after election, then they must recognise what people of India want,” he said.