The Indian Express | 4 days ago | 25-11-2022 | 11:50 am
As Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, several of his Cabinet colleagues, chairpersons of various boards and corporations and the ruling party legislators continue to camp in Gujarat, ahead of Assembly elections that state, the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh continues to wear a deserted look.A source close to Mann said the CM had reached Gujarat on Monday and would be camping there till the last date of campaign, on November 29, ahead of first phase of polling on December 1. “He has a personal programme on November 25. He may come back for a day. But, he may change his plan too,” the source said.While Mann is in Gujarat, the Chief Minister’s Office has not scheduled any meetings in which his presence is required. If he comes back on November 25, then the CMO may schedule one or two meetings, multiple sources said.Meanwhile, with most ministers away, the corridors in the secretariat, which normally see a lot of hustle-bustle, remain empty. There have been not many visitors to these offices. “As the files are not moving from the top, the bureaucrats and other staff are also having a field day. Not much official work is being taken up,” said a senior functionary.He, however, said, “The CM is keeping a tab on the happenings in the state. He is being briefed constantly. That is how he ordered registration of case against Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh’s aide for flaunting weapons on his Facebook page. The orders came from the CM himself.”For a better part of a month now, a number of ministers have remained stationed in Gujarat. None of the ministers were available in the secretariat on Tuesday. “Our minister is back from Gujarat. But he has not come to office yet,” said a staff member of Rural Development and Panchayats minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal.The minister later held several meetings, including one on Thursday with farm leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal, who is on a hunger strike.The chairpersons of various boards and corporations are also in Gujarat, “Virtually, it is our entire government that is in Gujarat. This has been happening for a month now,” said the functionary.
The BJP converted Ahmedabad — the city of Begum and Badshah — to Karnavati, while successive Congress governments made Gujarat unsafe through communal riots and smuggling of arms for terrorist activities through porous borders, said Union Minister Amit Shah at Naranpura in Ahmedabad Monday.“BJP sealed the borders, sent smugglers to jail and forced them to leave Gujarat; thus, saving the entire western India from terrorism. Congress governments made Gujarat unsafe through communal riots and smuggling for arms for terrorist activities through porous borders,” Shah said. He also alleged that the Congress tried to delay the Sardar Sarovar project since the dam was named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.While speaking about how the BJP has enforced law and order in the state, he referred to how Jagannath Rath Yatra had to be stopped due to communal riots in Ahmedabad. He also said not a single police station in Gujarat had to impose a single day of curfew in the past 20 years.Talking about the Sabarmati Riverfront, Shah said the Congress had agitated saying that the land acquired on the banks of Sabarmati will be given away to industrialists. “Today, the riverfront has become the centre of activity in the city,” he reminded.Shah also highlighted the party’s efforts to ensure that Ahmedabad could host the Olympic Games in 2036.Earlier in the day, as he addressed an election campaign for BJP candidate Ketan Inamdar at Savli Assembly seat in Vadodara, Shah blamed the Congress for delaying the Sardar Sarovar project since the dam was named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.“(Pandit Jawaharlal) Nehru had laid the foundation stone of the dam in 1961, even before I was born, but it was Morarji Desai’s ‘mistake’ that he named it after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The moment the dam became Sardar Sarovar, the Congress stepped back and did not want to complete the project… They couldn’t make do with the name,” alleged Shah.Referring to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “mauni Baba”, Shah also blamed the Congress’s “vote bank politics” for the continuous attacks on Indian soldiers by Pakistan.Shah attributed the completion of the project to Modi’s grit during his tenure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat due to which the Central Government was forced to clear the construction of the dam.“The Congress leaders ask what benefit Savli has if the Narmada water reaches Saurashtra and Kutch… Will it not benefit Savli when those areas prosper because of Narmada water and bring along overall growth? But how does one explain this to the Congress because the distance between Congress and wisdom is 300 miles,” he charged.Yet again reminding the “lesson taught” to rioters during the 2002 riots of Gujarat, Shah said, “They (Congress) orchestrated the Hindu-Muslim riots and ensured that there was a curfew for 250 of the 365 days… Bombs used to be found from homes of their cabinet ministers and 200 people would get stabbed daily in Ahmedabad jail. In 2001, when Narendrabhai became the chief minister, no man had the courage to cast an evil eye on the rath yatra of Lord Jagannath… The Congress had backed rioters always and so in 2002, they (miscreants) made another attempt to create a riot. But they were taught such a lesson that they never lifted their heads again.”Due to “vote bank politics”, Shah alleged, for 10 years until 2014, the UPA government did nothing when “the Pakistanis would come and cut the heads of our soldiers”. “In 2014, Narendra Modi became the PM but Pakistan did not realise what difference it would make if the BJP was in power… When Pakistan attacked Pulwama and killed our soldiers, within 10 days, Narendrabhai gave orders to the Army and Airforce to teach them a lesson… He has sent across a message that no one should play around with the borders and soldiers of India or they will have to pay a price.”
With one day to go before campaigning for the first phase of the Gujarat election ends, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge were among a plethora of political heavyweights to address rallies in the state on Monday.Modi, who held four rallies in the Saurashtra region, said Gujarat had suffered under the Congress’s “divide and rule” policy until the people of the state united against “divisive forces” more than 20 years ago.“Our mantra is peace, unity and harmony. The root cause of Gujarat’s progress is the unity here. On the other hand, Congress’s core ideology is to divide and rule — making people fight among themselves so that its interests are protected. This was Congress’s trick,” Modi said at a rally for the BJP at Palitana in Bhavnagar district. He said that the Congress made Marathas and Gujaratis fight each other before Gujarat became a separate state, and added that after the state was formed, the party caused rifts among various regions, communities and sects.Seeing through the Congress’s “trick”, he said, the people of Gujarat went on to adopt a path of unity and choose the BJP to govern the state. “Thanks to walking the path of unity, Gujarat has been progressing constantly for the past 20 years unlike in the times when bombs used to explode in markets and temples, and when an atmosphere of insecurity prevailed,” the Prime Minister said. The BJP formed a government in Gujarat for the first time in 1995, and Narendra Modi became chief minister of the state in 2001, staying on in the post until he became Prime Minister in 2014.Shah addressed rallies in Mehsana, Aravalli, Ahmedabad and Vadodara, and accused the Congress of “disrupting peace”. He alleged that during Congress rule, the state saw communal riots and curfews. In Ahmedabad, Shah said the BJP converted it from a city of “badshahs and begums” to “Karnavati”. Changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati, after the legendary king Karnadev Solanki, has been on the BJP’s agenda since the 1990s.“They (Congress) orchestrated Hindu-Muslim riots and ensured that there was a curfew for 250 of the 365 days… Bombs used to be found from homes of their Cabinet ministers and 200 people would get stabbed daily in Ahmedabad jail. In 2001, when Narendrabhai became the chief minister, noone had the courage to cast an evil eye on the rath yatra of Lord Jagannath… The Congress had backed rioters always and so in 2002, they (miscreants) made another attempt to create a riot. But they were taught such a lesson that they never lifted their heads again,” Shah said.Also appearing at rallies in the state for the BJP on Monday were Union ministers Smriti Irani and Parshottam Rupala, as well as Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and actor-turned-politician Paresh Rawal.Kejriwal held a townhall with diamond workers in Surat, and also addressed a roadshow in Katargam, which was hit by stone-pelting, according to the AAP. Kejriwal appealed to the people to vote the AAP to power for five years and said that even to those who pelted stones, he would give “free electricity and education to your children”.The AAP, which is fighting on 182 seats, saw two of its candidates withdraw their nominations, of which the Abdasa candidate Vasant Khetani joined BJP on Monday.Addressing a public rally at Behrampura on Monday, Congress president Kharge targeted the BJP for failing to provide jobs in Gujarat and for paper leaks, while also taking a dig at the party for deploying PM Modi, Union ministers and chief ministers at the Gujarat election campaign.“If the BJP believed it was winning in Gujarat, then Modiji, who should have been in Delhi working for the central government, would not have left it to tour the alleys of the state, visiting every Assembly segment of Gujarat. He is going to every ward of Gujarat. He is going, Shah is going, four-five other chief ministers are going, more than 40 Union ministers are going…Because they got to know people are against them and they can see it…I’ve been seeing that votes are sought in the name of Modiji, be it municipality elections, corporation elections (or Assembly elections)…Ask for vote in the name of the candidate…is Modi going to come and work at the municipality? Is he going to help you in times of your need?” Kharge said.Sarma again brought up the Shraddha Walkar murder case on Monday in Ahmedabad. “So, it is my clear allegation that Congress has given the country an ecosystem where such incidents of ‘love jihad’ have become very easy. And people like Aaftab were under the impression that there is still a Congress government… Therefore, I believe that the country needs a law against ‘love jihad’. And it can be possible only in the BJP government under the leadership of Narendra Modi.”
With only two days remaining for the first day of polling in the Gujarat Assembly election, as many as 11 BJP leaders will campaign for the party in various parts of the state Tuesday. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is at the helm of the party’s preparations for the elections, is scheduled to address four rallies in Dahod, Kheda and Ahmedabad city.Party’s national president JP Nadda will address two public rallies in Dahod and Vadodara city, and hold a roadshow in Bhavnagar. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel is scheduled to hold a roadshow in Patan.Union Minister Parshottam Rupala will address four public meetings in Amreli, Mehsana and Ahmedabad, while his colleague Mansukh Mandaviya will address two group meetings in Gir Somnath.Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, among the star campaigners, will address public meetings in Mahisagar, Anand and Vadodara. He will also lead a roadshow in Godhra.Other senior party leaders who are scheduled to campaign in various parts of the state include Union Minister Smriti Irani, party’s youth wing president Tejaswi Surya, sitting MLA and Gujarati film actor Hitu Kanodiya, former MP and film actor Paresh Raval and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Savant.
Gujarat polls: The Vyara seat goes to polls in the first phase on December 1. (File)Ahmedabad: The Vyara Assembly seat, which gave Gujarat its first tribal chief minister Amarsinh Chaudhary, will for the first time see a contest between two Christian candidates fielded by the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress.While the Congress has given the ticket to its sitting MLA Punabhai Gamit from the seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates, the BJP has for the first time fielded a Christian candidate, Mohan Konkani, to take on the four-time legislator.Mr Gamit says Christian voters will again support the Congress, while Mr Konkani claims people will vote for the BJP because of the development carried out by the party's government in the state.Political analysts say the Congress's approach of taking the marginalised sections together has helped it in winning tribal-dominated seats, while the BJP will have to do a rethinking to win in Vyara, considering the social dynamics in this Assembly segment.Christians account for nearly 40,000, or 20 per cent, of the total 2.20 lakh voters in the seat, considered a stronghold of the Congress and located in tribal-dominated Tapi district of south Gujarat.Most of the Christians have converted from the tribal Gamit, Chaudhary, and Konkani communities. The seat goes to polls in the first phase of Gujarat elections on December 1.Congress veteran Amarsinh Chaudhary won this seat four times between 1972 and 1985 and became the state's first -- and so far the only -- tribal chief minister in 1985.Punabhai Gamit first won the by-election from the seat in 2004, necessitated after sitting MLA and Amarsinh Chaudhary's son Tushar Chaudhary won the Lok Sabha election from Mandvi seat.He was then pitted against BJP's Pratap Gamit, whom he defeated in three subsequent elections. In 2017, Mr Gamit defeated BJP's Arvind Chaudhary.For the 2022 election, the BJP has decided for the first time to field a Christian tribal candidate, Mohan Konkani.Sociologist Gaurang Jani told PTI the Congress's success in tribal seats because of its approach to take marginalised communities together appears to have played an important role in the BJP's rethinking of its strategy.The conversion of tribals to Christianity has been going on in the region for a long time, making its social dynamics "complicated," he claimed.In the last seven Assembly elections since 1990, the Congress has won more ST-reserved seats in the state compared to the BJP, except in 1995 and 2002.Asked about the role the Christian factor played in determining his candidacy for the seat, BJP leader Mohan Konkani told PTI there are other factors at play as well.He said it is his dedication to the party since 1995 and his district panchayat membership from 2002 that have also played a significant role, and people from all communities are with him.At the same time, the fact that Christians account for a sizable number of voters in the seat cannot be overlooked, he said.The BJP is also upbeat following its first victory in the tribal-dominated Tapi district panchayat in the February 2021 election, said Mr Konkani, the sitting panchayat member of the BJP."The seat from where I won the district panchayat election as the BJP candidate has 75 per cent Christian voters, and they have supported me overwhelmingly. There is no reason why Christians should not support the BJP, which has remained in power in the state for nearly three decades," Mr Konkani said.People in the region have also witnessed and are influenced by the development carried out by the state's BJP government, he said."Everybody is impressed by the development work carried out in the state's tribal belt including Vyara. Whatever development the region has witnessed is because of the BJP. Vyara did not witness so much development even when it elected a chief minister," he claimed.This time, a total of seven candidates are in the contest from the Vyara seat.Apart from the BJP and Congress candidates, the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) has fielded Sunil Gamit, the Aam Aadmi Party has given its ticket to Bipinchandra Chaudhary, and the Bahujan Samaj Party has fielded Rakesh Gamit.Two independents are also contesting from the seat.Congress candidate Punabhai Gamit asserted that Christians are not likely to vote for the BJP under any circumstances, and the community from the region stands firmly with him and his party. "The Christians are with the Congress. They will never vote for the BJP, even if their local religious leaders appeal to them to do so," he said.There are 88,000 voters from the Gamit community, 67,000 from the Chaudhary community, and 13,000 from the Konkani community. Christians from all three communities account for around 40,000 voters."The Gamit and Chaudhary communities are firm with me. I have taken people from all communities --Hindus, Muslims, and Christians -- together. I converted to Christianity in 1975. I have defeated BJP candidates four times in a row, showing people are not ready to buy into their development claims," he claimed.Sociologist Mr Jani said Christian converts in the region remain wary of the BJP because of the party's attitude toward them and the discourse of "ghar wapsi". To penetrate this Congress stronghold requires different thinking, based on the very different social dynamics at play here, he said."When talking about Vyara, the presence of the Christian community can be felt in every single village. Not every member of a family is necessarily a Christian. A father can be a Hindu tribal and his son a Christian convert. This makes the social dynamics complicated. Therefore, a party cannot address the head of the household to elicit votes of all the family members," Mr Jani said.Making inroads in this mixed family structure requires different thinking, he said.At the same time, the Congress's approach of keeping the marginalised sections together helped it gain more seats in the tribal areas in 2017 when compared to the BJP, he said."This might have made the BJP think differently by taking into account the local phenomenon. The area has seen the influence of Christianity since the very beginning, and nearly every village has a church which also serves as a meeting point on Sundays," he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"The BJP has already tapped into the anti-Muslim feelings of Hindu voters, but as far as tribals are concerned, one's tribal status does not go away even when he/she converts to Christianity. One can address him/her with two identities--tribal and Christian, influencing both the communities," he said.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayJagan Reddy's Sister Arrested After Supporters, KCR Party Workers Clash
Arvind Kejriwal said that diamond traders and jewellers of Surat should be honoured with Bharat Ratna.Surat: Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said diamond businessmen and jewellers in Surat city in Gujarat should be conferred Bharat Ratna for their contribution to the country's economy.The statement is viewed as Mr Kejriwal's attempt to breach the traditional BJP bastion, just two days before Gujarat goes to polls in the first phase.Mr Kejriwal visited a diamond cutting and polishing unit and interacted with traders and workers to understand their issues."Today, a large number of diamond traders and workers are present here. I would like to tell all of you that you are not only the pride of the country but also of the whole world. One-third of the world's diamonds are manufactured in Surat and exported. You make diamonds, but in my eyes all of you are diamonds," Delhi CM Kejriwal said.He further stated he had heard about the difficulties diamond traders face in getting work done from the government."This should not be a problem because according to me, diamond businessmen and jewellers of Surat should be honoured with Bharat Ratna. You are contributing to the country's economy and doing such a great job for the country," the AAP leader said.Everywhere, businessmen are being threatened, bullied, insulted, abused and extorted, he claimed."If the AAP is voted to power, in Gujarat, businessmen will have access to cheap and free spaces with the help of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) so that they don't have to pay high rent," Mr Kejriwal said.The AAP government will ensure that traders get a loan as per their needs. The party will bring a special law to check on cases of cheating of businessmen, he said.CM Kejriwal claimed the Central government had made the Goods and Services Tax (GST) so complicated that it has become difficult for people to do business.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"What is the use of a tax system, because of which businesses come to a standstill?" he asked.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayArvind Kejriwal's Appeal To Youth, Women In Gujarat Ahead Of Polls