Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday that Assam did not need the BJP’s ‘Gujarat model’ for development, and the State needed its own model which was already there.

Addressing an election rally at Biswanth Chariali in the Tezpur Lok Sabha constituency, he said every State had its own knowledge base, history and thought, and one single model would not work everywhere. It was not the Narendra Modi government that shaped Gujarat’s model. The model, which had been in existence for long, was fashioned by women, workers and farmers of that State. While India was a country of thousands of ideas, the BJP believed that it was a country of only one idea.

Mr. Gandhi said the country should learn from Assam how to tackle violence though peaceful means and bring back peace to facilitate rapid development. He said the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance’s ‘India shining’ campaign during the 2004 general election went up like a hot air balloon, but it burst with a loud sound when the votes were counted. In 2009 too, the BJP’s campaign went up like another hot air balloon and the media said the Congress would not be able to form the government. But the balloon burst with a louder sound. The BJP’s campaign this time would burst three times louder. “I cannot speak of India shining. India will shine only when there is no poor man left in the country,” he said. Thousands of Congress workers defied a 12-hour State-wide bandh called by the National Democratic Front of Boroland (Songbjit) to attend the rally in support of Congress candidate Bhupen Kumar Bora. Later, Mr. Gandhi addressed another rally in the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency of upper Assam.