Ndtv | 4 days ago | 24-11-2022 | 11:41 pm
Gujarat has been the BJP's stronghold for nearly three decades. (Representational)Ahmedabad: The mass suspension of rebels in Gujarat -- the BJP's stronghold for nearly three decades -- has failed to contain the trouble a week ahead of the assembly election. Late this evening, another leader resigned from the party. Bhanu Bhai Chauhan -- BJP vice-president of Jamnagar district and a leader of the Other Backward Castes -- is alleging that the party is ignoring the demands of community.So far, the BJP has penalised 19 MLAs. The list includes a six-time MLA and two former MLAs. All have got six-year suspensions from primary membership of the party.The mass uprising started after the BJP refused tickets to nearly one-third of its MLAs.While the party routinely evaluates its MLAs and gives tickets on basis on performance, this time it is under pressure to find seats for multiple Congress leaders who have changed camp.But with many of the rebels filing nomination as Independents, the BJP candidates will face them in at least 10 per cent of the 182 seats. Many of the rebels are contesting from their own constituency -- areas they have dominated for several terms. In some sections of the party there is concern that this may lead to a further paring down of the party's numbers. Over the last years, the BJP numbers have been steadily shrinking. From 137 in 2002, the party is now down to 99 MLAs in the 182-member assembly.For the party, this is a huge embarrassment, with Gujarat being the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah. Many are complacent though. They argue that the entry of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party and Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM will cut into the votes of the Congress, which had always been the principal opposition party in the state. Even though Mr Kejriwal has pitched himself as the BJP's chief rival, AAP had failed to open account in the last election, point out BJP leaders. PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThose suspended over the last two days include Vaghodia MLA, Madhu Shrivastav, known as a strongman with a rap sheet that includes a case linked to the 2002 riots. Besides, some key leaders of the party have resigned. Among them are former ministers Prabhatsinh Chauhan and Jaynarayan Vyas and several district-level office bearers. Mr Chauhan has joined Congress. So has former Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela's son and former MLA, Mahendrasinh Vaghela.Featured Video Of The DayCongress's Bharat Jodo Yatra vs BJP's March For Tribals In Madhya Pradesh
With barely a few days to go for the Gujarat Assembly polls, the Urdu Press is awash with reports and opinion pieces on the high-stakes election, mapping the battleground and tracking the campaign trail. While calling it a triangular affair with the incumbent BJP in the pole position, the leading Urdu dailies have spotlighted the emergence of a combative new player, the AAP, in the fray. The dailies also turned their focus to the Supreme Court Constitution Bench’s hearing of petitions seeking reforms in the Election Commissioners’ appointment, highlighting the top court’s scrutiny of the recent appointment with “lightning speed” of ex-IAS officer Arun Goel as an EC.INQUILABIn its editorial on November 23, the New Delhi edition of Inquilab writes that the campaigning for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls has risen to a crescendo, noting that besides the ruling BJP the election is crucial for the principal Opposition Congress and the new entrant, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It points out that the Congress had keenly fought the 2017 Gujarat polls, bagging 77 of the state’s 182 seats as against the victor BJP’s 99 seats. “In sharp contrast, the Congress’s campaign this time seems to be lacklustre, although the party cannot be ignorant of the importance of the Gujarat election.”The daily says that political observers have flagged price rise, unemployment, farmers’ problems, “woes” of traders and students and the Covid pandemic besides the recent Morbi bridge disaster among issues roiling Gujarat, which may have generated a “double-incumbency for the double-engine BJP dispensation”. “The Congress should have therefore doubled its efforts and plunged headlong into the Gujarat battlefield with renewed energy in a bid to project itself as a credible alternative but the party, observers feel, failed to do so,” it says. “The Congress’s absence from the Gujarat fray has created a vacuum which is being filled by the AAP, with the latter being perhaps on the cusp of reaping the anti-incumbency dividends that the grand old party should have garnered.”There seem to be various reasons for the Congress’s insipid campaign for the Gujarat polls, that include the party’s lack of resources, its preference for Himachal Pradesh polls, Rajasthan political crisis, and Rahul Gandhi’s engagement with the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the edit states. “The Congress seems to have changed its tack and adopted a low-key campaigning this time. For the past several months, the party has been canvassing door-to-door and taking out small yatras across Gujarat,” it says, adding “It is to be seen how effective the Congress’s strategy shift would turn out to be and how much support the AAP would eventually get from the Gujarat people.”SIASATReferring to the raging conflict between two top Rajasthan Congress leaders, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, 71, and ex-Deputy CM Sachin Pilot, 45, the Hyderabad-based Siasat, in its editorial on November 25, says that the Congress organisation continues to be reeling under its internal crises. The grand old party has been making efforts in a bid to turn its dismal fortunes around, reaching out to people to regain their trust with Rahul Gandhi leading the cross-country Bharat Jodo Yatra in this regard, the daily writes. “But amid such attempts its festering Rajasthan crisis has continued to be a headache for the Congress, which has tried to resolve it, only to see it getting worse. The differences between Gehlot and Pilot simmering for a long time had turned into a cold war with intermittent exchange of charges and counter-charges. This has burst into the open now,” it says.The editorial points out that Gehlot raised a banner of revolt in the run-up to the Congress presidential election after he was offered the party’s top position subject to a “one person, one post” principle. This put Gehlot, it says, on a collision course with the Congress high command, which was reflected in the Congress Legislature Party’s parallel meeting in Jaipur, held to preempt his arch rival’s assumption of the CM’s mantle from him. “It seems Gehlot is ready to hand over the reins to the Opposition BJP but not to Pilot. This is why he even turned down the Congress presidency, preferring to stick to the CM’s post. He even used party MLAs against the high command, virtually inciting them for rebellion. And Gehlot is the Congress in-charge for the Gujarat Assembly polls.”The daily states that rather than focusing on the Gujarat polls and mounting a campaign to boost the party’s prospects and take on the ruling BJP there, Gehlot has now chosen to openly target Pilot, calling him a “gaddar (traitor)” even though the point remains that he became the CM after the then Pilot-led Rajasthan Congress trounced the incumbent BJP to clinch the 2018 Assembly polls. On the other hand, under his chief ministership, the Congress drew a blank in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it notes. “At a time when Rahul Gandhi is marching through the country to bring the Congress closer to the people, internal discords like the Gehlot-Pilot row are damaging the party, with the BJP waiting in the wings to exploit it,” the edit notes. It says Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and other top leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi must resolve these intra-party conflicts as time is running out, stressing that unless the party puts its house in order and ensures unity among its warring leaders it would not be able to put up a good show, whether it is Gujarat or Rajasthan or the parliamentary polls.SALARCommenting on the issue of reforms in the appointment of the Election Commissioners (ECs) that a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is seized with, the Bengaluru-based Salar, in its editorial on November 25, points out that any country’s democracy is fundamentally based on the degree of fairness and transparency of its elections besides the trust of their people on its process. Clearly, free and fair polls would depend on the integrity of the Election Commission (EC) and its functionaries, who could ensure this without getting swayed by the glitter of power or influenced by pressure exerted by any party or leader, the editorial says. Underlining that the track record of India’s EC in conducting clean and transparent polls at every level has been remarkable, it says if however questions and concerns relating to some aspects of the EC’s vast institution have been raised, then they must be addressed to make the system more credible.This may be the reason why the apex court while hearing a batch of petitions seeking among other things a collegium-like system for the appointment of the ECs and the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), stressed on the importance of having a CEC like the late T N Seshan, who should be someone “with character” and who “does not allow himself to be bulldozed” as the Constitution has vested vast powers on the “fragile shoulders” of the CEC and the two ECs, the daily writes quoting from the court’s remarks. The edit says it is imperative for the sake of a healthy and robust democracy that the CEC is independent and above partisan politics and insulated from any pressure or influence. It refers to the top court’s observation that the “silence” of the Constitution, whose Article 324 deals with the ECs’ appointment but does not spell out its procedure while envisaging the enactment of a law for the purpose, has been exploited by all. It states that during the hearing the Constitution Bench head, Justice KM Joseph, even wondered will it not be a case of “complete breakdown of system” if the CEC does not act against the Prime Minister in case there are allegations against him.“Seshan is remembered for having been a role model as the CEC, who conducted free, fair and independent polls in the country in the 1990s in an exemplary way…The apex court’s emphasis on the need for a CEC with strong character is thus understandable,” the edit adds.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday reacted sharply to Mallikarjun Kharge’s “Ravan” barb for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the saffron party saying that the Congress chief has lost “control over his words”.Amit Malviya, the in-charge of BJP’s IT Cell, tweeted: “Unable to take the heat of Gujarat election, pushed to the fringe, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge loses control over his words, calls Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘Ravan’.”Unable to take the heat of Gujarat election, pushed to the fringe, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge loses control over his words, calls Prime Minister Narendra Modi “Ravan”.From “Maut ka Saudagar” to “Ravan”, Congress continues to insult Gujarat and it’s son… pic.twitter.com/je5lkU4HBw— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 29, 2022Calling it as an “insult” to all Gujaratis, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra urged voters in the upcoming Gujarat assembly election to “teach” the opposition a “lesson” by voting “100 per cent for the son of the soil”. He added that Kharge was “voicing the views” of former Congress presidents Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, alleging that attacks on PM Modi started in 2007 Gujarat assembly polls with Sonia Gandhi’s “maut ka saudagar” (merchant of death) remark.Addressing a rally in Gujarat’s Behrampura area on Monday night, Kharge said in every election, votes are sought in the name of Modi instead of local candidates or the performance of government.“Modi asks people to ignore everything and vote (for BJP) by keeping his face in front of the eyes. I wonder on how many occasions we have to see your face? People have to see your face during municipal corporation polls, then in the Assembly polls and also during polls to elect MPs,” he said. “Everywhere you want us to see your face. Why? How many faces do you have? Are you 100-headed like Ravan? I don’t understand this.”Kharge further stated that the BJP asks people to vote for Modi. “If our candidate for this seat is Shailesh Parmar, then campaign for your candidate against him and seek votes in his name. Instead, they say vote for Modi. Will he come here to fix issues related to the municipality?” the Congress president said.Weighing in on the controversy, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said Kharge remark reflects the opposition party’s “hatred for Gujaratis” and is an attempt to “abuse Gujarat and Gujaratis”.Elections for the 182-member Assembly in the BJP-ruled Gujarat are scheduled to be held in two phases on December 1 and 5.
Taking over the party’s final leg of campaigning ahead of the polls in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal trained his guns on the BJP and said that if the party had worked well, it would not have had to get top national leaders to campaign for this election.“If the BJP had done any good work in the last 15 years, there would have been no need to bring 17 central ministers, chief ministers and MPs on the ground to seek votes for the MCD polls. See, I am campaigning alone,” he said. “They did nothing in 15 years. The only thing they do is abuse me, but the people of Delhi have defeated them. I received a WhatsApp message saying the people of Delhi have defeated the world’s largest party,” Kejriwal added.He also referred to the BJP as a “film production company” over the recently leaked videos of AAP minister Satyendar Jain taking “massage” and having food in jail. “The BJP has become a film production company. The only difference is, normal movies are released on Friday. These people release a movie every day… Daily subah 9 baje ek picture release karte hain aur ye picture 12 baje tak flow show ho jati hai (They release a picture at 9 am daily and it runs till 12),” he added.Taking a dig at BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, Kejriwal said, “But kya picture hai ye? Na gaana, na dance, na music… kuch to gaana dalo Bhai, Rinkiya ke papa ya beer pi kar baby naache yahi daal dete (But what picture is this? No song, dance or music. Do add some music…)”, referring to Tiwari’s Bhojpuri song.Wrapping up the Assembly poll campaign in Gujarat, the AAP chief Tuesday got down on the ground to campaign for the MCD election, starting with door-to-door campaigning in South Delhi’s Chirag Dilli village.Interacting with the public and residents at Chirag Dilli, Kejriwal said, “Chirag Dilli village now has a mohalla clinic and hospital. The only thing that is lacking is cleanliness and I could not clean this place because the MCD does not come under us. Now, I want one chance, give us one chance, we will make Delhi shine.”He also expressed confidence that the AAP will win more than 230 seats while the BJP will get less than 20 seats. “Seven years ago, when I visited this place, people were facing water scarcity. Residents had to travel to other places to get water but I promised them 24×7 water supply at their own house. Now, are you people getting water supply or not?,” he asked.“We promise and we deliver it. People are happy. They are getting water, free electricity and I met the senior citizens, they just returned from the teerath yatra and they are happy,” the AAP chief said.“These people did not even leave the garbage yards, they gave the space to some private company on a contract basis… Now garbage is lying here and there. Once we come to power, we will clean every street, pick up garbage and waste from people’s doorstep,” he promised.The MCD poll campaign will continue till 5 pm on December 2. The election will be held on December 4, while the results will be declared on December 7.
From live rallies to poll promises, raps to trolling, social media reflects the high-octane, three-cornered Gujarat poll battle in its spirit and essence, with Twitter and Facebook leading from the front. Now, with only two days remaining for the first day of polling in the elections, political parties have intensified their campaign on these platforms as well.AAPAmong the three major players, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s social media accounts are the most up-to-date and active on the Gujarat Assembly elections. Even though the party is battling crucial MCD polls along with the Assembly Polls in Gujarat, every second post from its main handles is related to Gujarat polls.According to a PTI report, more than 95 per cent of content shared from the AAP’s main Facebook and Twitter accounts was on the party’s activities in Gujarat on Sunday.દબાવીએ ઝાડુનું બટન,બનાવીએ સુખી જીવન! pic.twitter.com/r4xzyyfsjg— AAP Gujarat | Mission2022 (@AAPGujarat) November 29, 2022The party has 6.4 million followers on Twitter and 5.5 million followers on Facebook.The party’s regional Twitter handle, ‘AAP Gujarat | Mission2022’, with 138k followers, shares the detailed programme schedule of its star campaigners every morning. AAP, which is trying to make inroads into the state, is fighting the battle mostly on its welfare schemes and promises of Kejriwal’s ‘sache din’.BJPThe ruling BJP is close behind AAP in this race. More than 40 per cent of its tweets and above 35 per cent of its Facebook posts shared between November 21 and November 27 were related to the party’s campaigning in Gujarat, the PTI report said. The BJP’s Twitter handle has 19.5 million followers, and its Facebook page has 16 million followers.The party’s state handle which has around 1.5 million followers, features Gujarati folk singer Arvind Vegda for the party. The rap song by Vegda goes, “This is a tale of what happened 30 years ago, what time it was. Lack of water was an enemy of people. Cattles were looking around for water and dairies were shut. Modiji gave the gift of water, animals and birds get water day and night. Cut the votes of those who kept you thirsty for water. Vote for BJP who is dedicated to development. With the BJP, water is now overflowing. That is why BJP is ‘trust.”મોદીજીએ આપી દીધી પાણીની સોગાત રેપશુ પંખી સૌને મળે પાણી દિનરાત રેતો પાણી માટે તરસાવે એના મત કાપો રેવિકાસને વરેલ BJP ને મત આપો રેભાજપ સાથે પાણીની છોળો રેલાય છેએટલે જ તો ભાજપ એટલે ભરોસો કહેવાય છે #ભરોસાની_ભાજપ_સરકાર#કમળ_ખીલશે_ગુજરાત_જીતશે#ભાજપ_આવે_છે#આવશે_ભાજપ_ફાવશે_ભાજપ pic.twitter.com/jE4Xz5ivOo— BJP Gujarat (@BJP4Gujarat) November 29, 2022The party heavily relies on PM Narendra Modi and his popularity for the election campaign. Among the campaign rallies, the party also features the BJP government’s pride projects in the state, from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s Statue in Kevadia to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.CongressMost of the content posted by the grand old party is regarding Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, with only 15 per cent of the tweets posted by the Congress’s official Twitter handle taking up content related to Gujarat elections. Out of 280 tweets posted between Nov 21-27, only 42 were related to the party’s campaigns and party leaders’ rallies in Gujarat.On the other hand, 22 per cent of the Facebook content of the Congress was related to the state elections in Gujarat, while 75 per cent of posts from the main handles (198 tweets and 194 Facebook posts) were on the events related to Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra from Monday (Nov 21) to Sunday (Nov 27) last week.જળ-જંગલથી વંચિત આદિવાસીઓ કહે છે ઉદ્યોગપતિઓની સરકારને બદલો અને આદિવાસીઓને અધિકાર આપનારી કોંગ્રેસની સરકાર બનાવો#ભાજપ_જાય_છે#કૉંગ્રેસ_આવે_છે_125_લાવે_છે pic.twitter.com/R8EhOrNfvu— Gujarat Congress (@INCGujarat) November 29, 2022The Congress has 9 million followers on Twitter and 6.3 Million followers on Facebook.The party’s Gujarat handles are much more active in posting election-related content. Along with the campaign rallies, the party shares its poll promises and criticises the ruling BJP government on issues concerning farmers, woman, and the tribal population. Ever since the campaigning began, the party has been at loggerheads with the BJP over tribal welfare.(With PTI inputs)
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant Tuesday said the Gujarat election will mark the beginning of the preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha election. Sawant, who arrived in Gujarat to campaign for the BJP, was addressing a press conference at the party’s media centre, set up for the upcoming Assembly election.“I am sure the BJP will win the (Assembly) election by breaching all past records. The victory will set an example for the 2024 Lok Sabha election, preparations for which will begin here (Gujarat),” said Sawant.He added, “In 2024, BJP will get more seats than before and Narendra Modi will become the Prime Minister (once again).”Sawant also praised the development done by the BJP government in Gujarat in various sectors in the last 20 years.On Monday, Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma had spoken on similar lines and had said that the BJP’s manifesto for the Gujarat election is covering issues on which the 2024 Lok Sabha election will be fought.Replying to a question on the comments made by jury chief of the International Film Festival of India Nadav Lapid (an Israeli filmmaker) on the film Kashmir Files, Sawant said, “He should not have made those comments by misusing the platform. Even the Ambassador of Israel has said that he should not have used those words.” The Israeli filmmaker had called the film “vulgar and propaganda driver”.Gujarat will go to polls in two-phases on December 1 and December 5 and counting will be held on December 8.