Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday told Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Gujarat that the Congress is working "silently" in the state and is reaching to the state's villages.
Saying that the Congress is using manipulating techniques to "spread poison in villages", Modi said the BJP needs to adjust its election stretegy in the wake of this challenge.
Gujarat is slated to have elections later this year. The BJP is facing a challenge not just from Congress but also the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which has been campaigning actively in the state.
"I need to warn you because it appears to me that this time the Congress has adopted a new strategy. I have not probed, but that is what appears to me at first glance," said Modi in an address at a BJP rally at Vallabh Vidyanagar in Anand district.
He said in previous assembly elections, the Congress used to make a lot of noise and boast about "finishing" the BJP, which is ruling the state for more than two decades.
Modi added, "But we did not fall in 20 years, so they have done something new, which is why we need to remain alert. Therefore, don't be confused because they are not appearing in the press, nor conducting any press conference or making speeches. Beware. The Congress is trying to infiltrate with a new strategy. It does not speak, but is reaching out to villages, holding meetings.
"Do not assess them on the basis of the fact that they have not conducted public meetings, press conferences, or made statements...There is a need for you to remain alert for the coming elections. It has adopted a new strategy, to spread poison in villages, telling people by interpreting things differently."
Modi asked BJP cadres to reach out to voters and do door to door canvassing for the upcoming polls. He added that Congress is still leaving no chance "to insult Gujarat".
"We will have to understand this well and add a few new aspects to our strategy. I am sure BJP workers under the leadership of CR Paatil [Gujarat unit president] will tackle any crisis. We have to defeat the Congress's conspiracy by going door to door [of voters]," said Modi.
The Congress has made a slew of promises to voters in Gujarat, such as free power and loan waivers, to win their favour. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in September promised loan waiver of up to Rs 3 lakh to farmers of Gujarat, LPG cylinder at Rs 500 instead of Rs 1,000, free electricity to farmers and up to 300 units of free power to general consumers, and Rs 5 per litre milk subsidy.
The challenge to the BJP in Gujarat is not just from the Congress but also from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is actively campaigning in the state. Top leaders such as Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, and Bhagwant Mann are constantly touring the state.
Like Congress, AAP has also made a slew of populist promises to the voters. Kejriwal in August promised a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 to all women. Earlier, he had promised free electricity up to 300 units to each family and Rs 3,000 per month to unemployed youths.
(With PTI inputs)