What was billed as a huge show of strength for the BJP turned out to be a disappointing exercise as the venue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mega rally in Ahmedabad remained empty and people were seen leaving even as he spoke on Monday.
Some media reports had said that as many as 7 lakh BJP supporters will turn up to listen to Modi thereby debunking the perception that Gujaratis were angry with the saffron party.
However, reporters present at the rally venue said that there was ‘absolutely no truth’ to the claims that 7 lakh people turning up at the rally.
Addressing the crowd, Modi also appeared nervous about the potential fallout of his key economic policies such as GST roll-out and demonetisation. For someone, who is famous for repackaging old UPA schemes and claiming it as his own, Modi for the first time blamed the Congress party for the failure of GST.
He said, “I want to tell my friends that Congress is an equal partner in GST decisions. They should not spread lies on GST.”
The state’s trader community has been on strike intermittently protesting the GST. The Congress has recently blamed the BJP for the GST. In a tweet, the Congress had said, “GST has failed due to structural irregularities, leaving the economy in misery & Modi & Co trying to save face.”
There was also a marked difference in the channels’ coverage of Modi’s rally. Contrary to channels’ blow-by-blow coverage of Modi’s election rally in the past followed by detailed analysis, their approach on Monday was lacklustre.
Soon after Modi’s rally was over, the usual suspects among English channels quickly moved on to discuss topics unrelated to the prime minister’s rally.