Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Wednesday accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat of giving the upcoming state Assembly elections a communal colour.
Campaigning for the elections coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition. A final hearing in the Supreme Court in connection with the dispute began earlier this week.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi trained his guns on the Congress after party leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal asked the Supreme Court to defer hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi case till after the 2019 general elections. The Congress has said the views by Sibal, who represents the Sunni Waqf Board in the case in the Supreme Court, were his own.
Sharma told Moneycontrol that the BJP is running out of time to convince voters and has thus resorted to giving the election a communal flavour.
“We want to raise issues about the state of the economy which is deteriorating," Sharma told Moneycontrol "If we take Human Development Index, Gujarat ranks 11th. If we take spending on education, the state is at 27th position. And in daily wages it ranks third from the bottom. These are the issues which want to highlight in this election."
Gujarat will vote in two phases on December 9 and 14, while counting will take place on December 18.
The Congress is looking to reap the benefits of anti-incumbency, given that the BJP has been in power for the better part of two decades.
Anand Sharma feels that the state is facing major job crisis and unemployment is a big issue. The former Union minister added that the Congress and the people of Gujarat want an answer about the decline in GDP after GST and demonetisation. He said that people are struggling for basic amenities.
The Congress has pitched for granting Gujarat farmers a loan waiver on the lines of similar sops in election-bound states.