The BJP will never implement a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in Gujarat, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said on Saturday, dubbing the saffron party’s poll promise as “fake”.The reaction of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party came after the ruling BJP released its manifesto for the Gujarat polls, promising the implementation of a UCC in the state if it retains power.“The BJP has ruled Gujarat for 27 years. After remaining at the helm for more than two decades, it is still making promises,” the AAP’s co-incharge for Gujarat, Raghav Chadha, told reporters.“If it was indeed their intent, they would have implemented it much ago,” Chadha said, asking, “Why didn’t they implement it?” “It is a fake promise. The BJP will never implement it (UCC),” he added. On October 29, the Gujarat government announced that it would form a committee for the implementation of a UCC. Other BJP-ruled states, such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, have also promised to implement a UCC. Chadha said neither the BJP nor the Congress is talking about the real issues in the run-up to the Gujarat polls. The AAP is the only party that has come up with a “model for the economic uplift” of the people of Gujarat, he said.
GANDHINAGAR: The BJP vowed to implement a uniform civil code (UCC) and set up an "anti-radicalisation cell" to identify and eradicate potential threats from terror groups as it released its manifesto on Saturday for the upcoming Gujarat assembly election. The declaration statement promised 20 lakh job opportunities for youth, one lakh government jobs for women, expenditure of Rs 25,000 crore on strengthening the irrigation network, free education for girls from KG to PG, converting 20,000 schools into "schools of excellence", pucca houses for all, and a massive infrastructure development push, as the ruling party envisaged making Gujarat a $1-trillion economy. The "sanklap patra" of the party was released at state BJP headquarters by party president J P Nadda in the presence of chief minister Bhupendra Patel and state unit chief C R Patil. Read AlsoKarnataka 'seriously' mulling UCC implementation: CM BommaiBENGALURU/SHIVAMOGGA: Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday said his government is 'seriously' mulling implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state to ensure equality. Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru on the occasion of Indian Constitution Day, he said his"We'll ensure complete implementation of UCC in Gujarat as per recommendations of a state government committee. We will also create an anti-radicalisation cell to identify and eliminate potential threats, sleeper cells of terrorist organisations and anti-India forces," BJP chief J P Nadda said on Saturday while releasing the party's manifesto for the Gujarat assembly polls. On October 29, the Gujarat government had announced that it would form a committee for the implementation of the UCC. The manifesto also promised to bring a "Gujarat Recovery of Damages of Public and Private Properties Act" to recover the cost of damage caused to public and private property by anti-social elements during riots and protests. This legislation was proposed to be introduced in the assembly earlier this year but was not tabled. Promising a boost in health spending, the annual cover under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (Ayushman Bharat) per family will be doubled from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, the manifesto said. Free diagnostic service at health centres and approved laboratories for EWS households, setting up three civil hospitals or "medi cities" also figure in the manifesto. On education, BJP promised free education for girls from " kindergarten to postgraduation" and setting up two AIIMS-level institutions. It also vowed to establish four Gujarat Institutes of Technology on the lines of the IITs. Promises for farmers include spending Rs 10,000 crore for the overall development of APMCs, mandis, sorting and grading units, cold chains, etc, while Rs 25,000 crore was proposed to be spent to strengthen the irrigation network.
Days after the Gujarat government announced that it would form a committee for the implementation of UCC, the BJP on Saturday released its manifesto for the upcoming Assembly polls, which promises to “ensure complete implementation of the Gujarat Uniform Civil Code committee’s recommendations”, among others.The party has also promised to launch a ‘Gujarat Olympics Mission’ for hosting the Olympic Games in the state in 2036, provide 20 lakh jobs, keep a tab on the Waqf Board and madrasas, and said it will roll out “Pashu aadhaar cards” to monitor health and vaccination status of all livestock, among others.The creation of an “anti-radicalisation cell” to identify and “eliminate potential threats and sleeper cells of terrorist organisations and anti-India forces” was among the many promises made by BJP president J P Nadda while unveiling the manifesto in Gandhinagar on Saturday.The party promised to set up a task force to “scrutinisse assets and finances of Waqf Board and conduct surveys of madrasas with regard to their curriculum”.The BJP manifesto is testimony to the fact that the party's campaign, which began on the development plank, is taking a detour to the tried-and-tested Hindutva plank. Reflections of this were seen in the rallies addressed by several of the party's star campaigners in Gujarat in the last few days.The manifesto mentions enacting the Gujarat Recovery of Damages of Public and Private Properties Act, meant to recover damages to public and private properties by anti-social elements during riots, violent protests and unrest, etc.Elections to the 182-member Assembly will be held on December 1 and 5.
Gujarat Assembly election is an election for change, Raghav Chadha said. (File)New Delhi: The BJP will never implement a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in Gujarat, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said on Saturday, dubbing the saffron party's poll promise as "fake".The reaction of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party came after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its manifesto for the Gujarat Assembly polls, promising the implementation of a UCC in the state if it retains power."The BJP has ruled Gujarat for 27 years. After remaining at the helm for more than two decades, it is still making promises," the AAP's co-incharge for Gujarat, Raghav Chadha, told reporters here when asked for his party's view on the BJP's poll promise of implementing a UCC in the state."If it was indeed their intent, they would have implemented it much ago," Raghav Chadha said, asking, "Why didn't they implement it?" "It is a fake promise. The BJP will never implement it (UCC)," he added.On October 29, the Gujarat government announced that it would form a committee for the implementation of a UCC. Other BJP-ruled states, such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, have also promised to implement a UCC.Mr Chadha said neither the BJP nor the Congress is talking about the real issues in the run-up to the Gujarat polls.The AAP is the only party that has come up with a "model for the economic uplift" of the people of Gujarat, he said, asserting that the party will emerge victorious in the state Assembly polls to be held in two phases on December 1 and 5.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"The Gujarat Assembly election is an election for change. Be it Saurashtra, north Gujarat, central Gujarat or south Gujarat -- there is a wave for change everywhere in the state and people will vote for it. And in Gujarat, a change means Arvind Kejriwal," the AAP leader 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 DayHow To Track FIFA World Cup
NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party has promised to implement Gujarat Uniform Civil Code Committee's recommendations and create an anti-radicalisation cell in the state if re-elected to power in the upcoming assembly elections. The promises are a part of the ruling party's manifesto released on Saturday in Gandhinagar. The party manifesto, which made at least 40 promises, was released by Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, BJP national president JP Nadda and state party president CR Paatil. The Gujarat assembly elections are scheduled to be held in two phases on December 1 and December 5. Voting for 89 assembly seats will take place in the first phase, while for the remaining 93 assembly seats, voting will be held in the second phase of polling. Read AlsoCongress moves EC, alleges BJP using kids in Gujarat ralliesNEW DELHI: Congress on Friday petitioned the Election Commission accusing BJP and PM Modi of using children in the election campaign in Gujarat. The allegation pertains to a video shared by Modi, in which a small girl seated with him speaks in Gujarati about the BJP's governance under PM Modi. Implementation of the Gujarat Uniform Civil Code Committee's recommendation"We will ensure the complete implementation of the Gujarat Uniform Civil Code Committee's recommendation and create more than one lakh government jobs for women in the next five years," Nadda said on the release of the manifesto. The BJP, which has been in power in the state for more than two decades, in its manifesto promised the complete implementation of the Gujarat Uniform Civil Code Committee's recommendation and the formation of an anti-radicalisation cell to identify and eliminate potential threats and sleeper cells of the terrorist organisations and anti-India forces. Free-of-cost education to girlsBJP promised free-of-cost, and quality education to all the female students here from Kindergarten to Post Graduation and added that it will provide free two-wheelers to the meritorious college-going female students. It further added free bus travel to women senior citizens and promised to provide one lakh government jobs to the women for the next five years. In the electoral manifesto released today, the BJP promised to convert 20,000 government schools into Schools of Excellence in the next five years with a budget of Rs 10,000 crore. Keshavram Kashiram Shastri Higher Education Transformation Fund with a budget of Rs 1,000 crore, will also be used to construct new government colleges and revamp the existing ones, it read further adding that 20 lakh employment opportunities will also be created in the state. It, then, promised four Gujarat Institutes of Technology (GIT) like IITs as the Centres of Excellence and would emphasise the Gujarat Olympics Mission to create world-class sports infrastructure aiming to host the Olympics in 2036. Read AlsoCongress used to instigate Gujarat strife, BJP taught rioters a lesson in 2002: ShahVADODARA/AHMEDABAD: Union home minister Amit Shah on Friday said while Congress incited riots to strengthen its vote bank, the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government "taught a lesson" to those perpetrators in 2002 to bring perennial peace in Gujarat. The state has not witnessed a curfew ever since, heAdvanced healthcare facilities in tribal areas For the tribals in the state, the BJP in its manifesto also promised to enable mobile delivery of ration across all the 56 Tribal Sub Plan Talukas in the state and ensured Rs 1 lakh crore under the Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana 2.0 for the all-round socio-economic development of tribals. The manifesto read that the Birsa Munda Adi Jati Samriddhi Corridor between Ambaji and Umergram will spur growth by connecting every tribal district's headquarters with a 4-6 lane state highway, and by constructing a tribal cultural circuit will connect Pal Dadhvaav and the Statue of Unity to Shabari Dham. The BJP also promised to provide advanced healthcare facilities in tribal areas by setting up eight medical colleges, and ten nursing/para-medical colleges. As many as eight Gujarat Industrial Development Corporations (GIDC) in the tribal belt will generate employment opportunities for tribal youth, it added. 25 Birsa Munda Gyan Shakti Residential Schools will also provide the best residential schooling facilities to 75,000 meritorious students from the tribal community. Double the cap under Ayushman Bharat On the health front, BJP promised to double the cap under Ayushman Bharat from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per family and ensure free-of-cost medical treatment. Mukhyamantri Free Diagnostic Scheme with a corpus of Rs 110 crore will also be ensured to provide free-of-cost diagnostic services for EWS households. It further added to provide Rs 10,000 crore in Maharaja Shri Bhagvatsinhji Swasthya Kosht and mentioned that three Civil Medicities, and two AIIMS-grade institutions will also be structured here. The manifesto promised to upgrade the infrastructure at Hospitals, Community Health Centres (CHCs), and Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs). Read AlsoGujarat’s bond with PM Modi has grown stronger because of his work… will help BJP win again: Amit ShahA lot of issues that BJP consistently raised since its Jana Sangh days in the 1950s, and which resonated with large sections in Gujarat, have been resolved by Narendra Modi’s government.Rs 10,000 crore under Gujarat Krishi Infrastructure Kosh BJP has also promised to provide Rs 10,000 crore under Gujarat Krishi Infrastructure Kosh to develop Khedut Mandis, modern Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC), sorting and grading units, cold chains, warehouses, primary processing centres, and will also expand the existing irrigation network through projects such as Sujalam Sufalam, SAUNI, lift irrigation projects, micro irrigation, drip irrigation. Encircling Gujarat with 4-6 lane roads/highways"We will develop the first-of-its-kind Parikrama Path of 3,000 km encircling the whole state with 4-6 lane roads/ highways by constructing a South Eastern Peripheral Highway and North Western Peripheral Highway," the manifesto added. The Gujarat Link Corridors will also be completed by augmenting the highways through the East-West Corridor connecting Dahod with Porbandar and North-South Corridor connecting Palanpur to Valsad. It will also provide seamless connectivity between economic hubs and national highways by developing the Saurashtra Express Highway Grid. The manifesto added that BJP will use the Rs 25,000 crore under the Gujarat Urban Development Mission to transform the urban landscape with a focus on decongesting the existing cities (Satellite Townships) and increasing ease of living (Riverfront, Recreational Parks, Urban Forests, Traffic Management Systems) for citizens. The BJP is also expected to complete the works of Gandhinagar and Surat Metro and will kick start the first metro rail service at Saurashtra (Rajkot) and Central Gujarat (Vadodara). Read AlsoBJP will surpass its previous best in Gujarat polls: Union home minister ShahAHMEDABAD: Union home minister Amit Shah has claimed that BJP will win the coming Gujarat elections by a record margin, surpassing its previous best performances - both in terms of seats and vote share. "We shall break all our past records and and return to office once again with a thumpingEstablishing India's biggest spiritual centreThe party promised to work at Devbhumi Dwarka Corridor to establish it as western India's biggest spiritual centre, comprising of the World's tallest Shree Krishna statue. It will also invest Rs 1,000 crore to renovate, expand and promote temples, following the successful transformation model of Somnath, Ambaji and Pavagadh. It will also spend Rs 2,500 crore to promote Gujarat's culture at the national and international levels by building museums, centres for performing arts, and Sardar Patel Bhawan. Other promises With the additional budget of Rs 500 crore, the party has also included strengthening of the existing Gaushalas and setting up 1,000 additional Mobile Veterinary Units. It also promised to build seafood parks in South Gujarat and Saurashtra, build the country's first Blue Economy Industrial Corridor and strengthen the fishing-related infrastructures. BJP has promised Shramik Credit Cards for the labourers that would help them with collateral-free loans up to Rs 2 lakh. It added that the OBC/ST/SC/EWS students who get into a National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) top-ranking institution in India ot any top-ranking world institution for higher education will be given a one-time incentive grant of Rs 50,000. It has also put forth that Gujarat can become a USD 1 trillion economy by focusing more on services and investing in human and institutional capacity-building for new-age industries. The party will also attract foreign investment of Rs 5 lakh crore and make the state the Defence and Aviation Manufacturing Hub of India. With agency inputs
Gujarat Election 2022: BJP president JP Nadda today released the party's election manifesto.Gandhinagar: The Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP today released its manifesto for next month's Gujarat Assembly elections, in which it promised to implement the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state if the party retained power.In the manifesto, which was released here by BJP president JP Nadda, the party also promised free education to girls from KG to PG (kindergarten to post-graduation).PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comIt also assured that the amount of medical insurance coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme would be doubled from Rs five lakh to Rs 10 lakh. (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayRapid Fire With The Cast Of Bhediya
Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday slammed the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying industrial projects coming to Maharashtra are being diverted to neighboring Gujarat as Assembly elections are being held there. He also called the BJP a “party of imports” and “chor bazaar (flea market)”.While addressing a farmers’ rally at Chikhli in Buldhana, Uddhav also slammed Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for his “silence” over the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute, the alleged insult of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the government’s inaction on farmers’ plight in the state.After stepping down as chief minister in June this year, this was Thackeray’s first rally outside Mumbai. Last month, Uddhav had addressed party workers at its annual Dussehra Rally at Shivaji Park.“The BJP has lost its ideology and is only importing people from other parties. It has become a party of imports. If you enlist, you will find how many people they have taken into their party from other parties. Nothing is left with them so they are stealing people from other parties. Is it a political party or ‘chor bazaar’,” Uddhav said.Hitting out at Modi, Uddhav said the PM would not hesitate to break Maharashtra and hand over villages to Karnataka with polls in Karnataka next year. “The projects coming to Maharashtra were diverted to Gujarat owing to the elections there. Now Karnataka chief minister is staking claims over Akkalkot and Solapur of Maharashtra. Karnataka is going to polls next year, I am afraid that as the PM sent the projects to Gujarat, he won’t hesitate before breaking Maharashtra into pieces,” Thackeray said.Taking a dig at Shinde, Uddhav said, “This CM might even say that what is the harm in handing over 40 villages to Karnataka …. PM has promised to get Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and give us 100 villages…..”Further attacking Shinde who along with his MPs and MLAs went to Guwahati, Uddhav said, “Today all these 40 people have gone to Guwahati to take blessings. A weekago he (Shinde) had gone to visit an astrologer to know his future. He doesn’t know his own future. And he is going to decide our future? In fact, his future is being decided by people sitting in Delhi. He has to follow their orders,” Thackeray said.Claiming that nearly 1,000 farmers had committed suicide in Maharashtra since the formation of the current dispensation in the state in July this year, Uddhav said if he would have been the CM, he would not have allowed such suicides to take place.In response to Uddhav’s attack, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which held the reins of Maharashtra between November 2019 and June 2022, should explain where was its concern for farmers and the agriculture sector. Why did it fail to address the agrarian crisis?”
Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday said that he is giving money to the people and “not taking it to Swiss bank”, replying to BJP’s accusations of him “squandering money”.“Ye mujhko BJP wale khoob galiyan dete hain…..Kejriwal sara paisa luta dega. Kejriwal janta ko hi toh paisa de raha hai (These BJP people curse me a lot…..Kejriwal will squander all the money. Kejriwal is only giving money to the public). Kejriwal is not taking the money to the Swiss bank, or building mansions or buying properties,” the AAP chief said in Bhavnagar.Kejriwal also repeated guarantees of free electricity, allowance for women, employment, unemployment allowance and raised the issue of paper leaks. The Delhi chief minister also claimed to reinstate the Old Pension Scheme by January 31 (2023), if they are voted to power. Asking just five years from his voters in the roadshow, the supremo said, “If I don’t work, then oust me.”AAP candidates from Bhavnagar West, Bhavnagar East, Bhavnagar Rural, Palitana, Gadhada, Botad and Talaja of Bhavnagar and Botad districts were present in the roadshow as well. All of these constituencies are the stronghold of the BJP, except for Talaja which is Congress dominated seat.Kejriwal also said that God will cause a miracle by sweeping the broom, the Aam Aadmi Party’s election symbol, and catapult his party to power in Gujarat.Raju Solanki, who is the AAP candidate from Bhavnagar West, of the two term MLA and Gujarat Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, who has been re-fielded from the same seat.When the “pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom”, the AAP national convener claimed.“In all of Gujarat, a heavy storm of change is brewing. The entire state has stood up. Some miracle is going to happen this time. It is said in Bhagavadgita that whenever the pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom. The Almighty has started sweeping his broom,” Kejriwal said.(With PTI)
Arvind Kejriwal asked the people assembled to give him a chance. (File)Bhavnagar: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said God will cause a miracle by sweeping the broom, the Aam Aadmi Party's election symbol, and catapult his party to power in Gujarat, where the two-phase Assembly polls are scheduled for December 1 and 5.When the "pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom", the Aam Aadmi Party national convener claimed while addressing a roadshow in Bhavnagar in the poll-bound state."In all of Gujarat, a heavy storm of change is brewing. The entire state has stood up. Some miracle is going to happen this time. It is said in Bhagavadgita that whenever the pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom. The Almighty has started sweeping his broom," Mr Kejriwal said.He said people getting zero electricity bills for the usage of 24-hour electricity, as part of AAP's poll promise of not charging for 300 units of power, would be the "magic" people will experience once his party forms government in Gujarat."This is magic. This 24-hour, zero-electricity bill is magic. And only Kejriwal knows how to perform that magic. No other party can perform this magic. I have been specially blessed by the Almighty and this can only be done by Mr Kejriwal and no other leader," he said.He said the Bharatiya Janata Party had done nothing for the state in its 27-year rule and voting for the opposition Congress was futile as its legislators would defect to the ruling party post-elections.Mr Kejriwal asked the people assembled at the roadshow to give him a chance to see what can be done in five years, adding they could "throw us out" if promises are not fulfilled."Today, people are suffering due to inflation. They are unable to survive. I will give you relief from inflation. After the formation of our government, I will pay your electricity bill from March 1," he said.Mr Kejriwal said women above the age of 18 will get Rs 1,000 per month as an honorarium, while youth will get Rs 3,000 as an unemployment allowance till they land a job."If you want to keep your children unemployed, you want to be abused, then you vote for them (BJP). This has been going on for 27 years. But if you want employment for your children, then vote for AAP," he asserted.Slamming the ruling BJP, he said frequent exam paper leaks in major competitive exams meant there was the involvement of big leaders."All paper leaks since 2015 will be probed and these big leaders will go to jail. We will completely eliminate the atmosphere of fear in the business world. We will create an environment to do business with courage and peace. We will give every businessman the respect they deserve," he said.Mr Kejriwal said an AAP government in the state would be free from corruption, and Value Added Tax and other pending refunds will be paid within six months (of coming to power).PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe Goods and Services Tax will be simplified, he added.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayRow Over Karnataka Chief Minister's Border Remark Intensifies
Gopal Italia said a child was injured as stones were thrown at an AAP meeting in Gujarat todaySurat: The chief of the Gujarat unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today blamed ruling BJP for an alleged incident of stone throwing during an AAP election meeting in Surat.Gopal Italia, AAP's Gujarat convenor, alleged that a child was injured when stones were thrown while an AAP meeting was in progress in the Katargam constituency.Taking to Twitter, Mr Italia wrote: "Due to the fear of losing the Katargam Assembly elections, BJP goons pelted stones at my public meeting today, in which a small child got injured."He said if the BJP had done at least some work during its 27-year reign in the state, then they would not have had to throw stones at an AAP meeting.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comIn an obvious reference to the AAP electoral symbol, the tweet further said: "The public will answer BJP's stone pelters with a broom."कतारगाम विधानसभा चुनाव हारने के डर से बौखला गए भाजपाई गुंडों ने आज मेरी जनसभा पर पथ्थरबाजी करी जिसमे एक छोटे बच्चा पथ्थर लगने से घायल हुआ है।27 साल मे कुछ काम कर लिया होता तो आज आम आदमी पार्टी की जनसभा मे पथ्थर फेंकने नही पड़ते।भाजपाई पथ्थरबाजो को जनता झाड़ू से जवाब देगी। pic.twitter.com/2hCCA0TKYV— Gopal Italia (@Gopal_Italia) November 26, 2022For the last several months, BJP and AAP have been sparring over a lion's share of votes in a state that has had a BJP government for close to three decades.Elections are scheduled to be held in Gujarat on December 1 and 5. Votes will be counted on December 8.Featured Video Of The DayWatch Arvind Kejriwal's Townhall: "Give Me CBI For One Day..."
SOMNATH: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday dubbed Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal as a 'namoona' or buffoon, and accused him and his party of supporting terrorism and corruption. Speaking at an election rally in Somnath town in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat for BJP candidates, he also accused main opposition Congress of not respecting other people's religions because of its "Muslim vote bank". "A 'Namoona' (buffoon) from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who is visiting Gujarat now a days is a true well-wisher of terrorism. He had also opposed the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. He had sought proof from our brave soldiers when the Indian Army carried out a surgical strike in Pakistan," said Adityanath, who is among the Bharatiya Janata Party's star campaigners. "When the Pakistan government itself was admitting that the strike had broken their back, AAP kept on asking for evidence. Support for terrorism and corruption is in their genes," the UP CM claimed. "Professional rioters" as well as goons and criminals who enjoyed the patronage of Congress and its allies used to harass common citizens, poor people and traders in his state, Adityanath said. "But now riots no longer take place in Uttar Pradesh. Our bulldozers have made Uttar Pradesh riot-free," he said. "Do you believe that Congress would have removed Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir? Would Congress or AAP give consent for the construction of Ram temple? It was (prime minister Narendra) Modi ji and BJP government and Gujarat who stood by you in your difficult times. They gave you free treatment, vaccines and ration during COVID-19 pandemic," he said. Neither Congress nor AAP will respect your faith and neither of them are capable of protecting you, he told the audience. "Only the BJP can do that because we believe in Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (progress for all by taking along all)," Adityanath said. The Congress party and the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru opposed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's proposal to rebuild the Somnath temple, he alleged. "Because of its Muslim vote bank, Congress never wanted to respect your faith. That is the reason why Congress was against rebuilding the Somnath temple. But with his strong will, Sardar Patel went ahead with the construction. Even attempts were made to stop President Rajendra Prasad from attending the event. Can you support such a party?" Adityanath asked. He also accused the Congress of insulting Dr B R Ambedkar and trying to defeat him in elections. Reacting to Adityanath's swipes at him, Kejriwal took to Twitter and said people should vote for the BJP only if they wanted foul language, hooliganism, corruption and dirty politics. "And if you want schools, hospitals, electricity, water connections and roads then give your vote to me," said the Delhi chief minister who too is in Gujarat for campaigning. Gujarat will go to the polls in two phases on December 1 and 5.
Political leaders cutting across party lines took to social media Saturday morning onwards to observe Constitution Day. November 26 is being observed as Constitution Day since 2015. The Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution on November 26, 1949.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, before addressing the Supreme Court during the launch of the government’s e-court project, tweeted, “Today, on Constitution Day, we pay homage to those greats who gave us our Constitution and reiterate our commitment to fulfil their vision for our nation.” In his address, Modi referred to India as the “mother of democracy” and paid tributes to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.At the event, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said the courts must reach out to the people, pledging that every bench of the Supreme Court would hear 10 bail applications, preceded by 10 transfer petitions, from next week onwards.Today, on Constitution Day, we pay homage to those greats who gave us our Constitution and reiterate our commitment to fulfil their vision for our nation. pic.twitter.com/eKVwA7NdaB— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 26, 2022Last year, several Opposition parties, including the Congress, boycotted a Constitution Day event in Parliament’s Central Hall, saying the government was disrespecting the fundamental values of the Constitution and undermining parliamentary democracy. But this year, there no all-out criticism of the government from Opposition leaders, except Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Congress’s Jairam Ramesh.Vijayan tweeted, “India’s Constitution, which encompasses the ideals of our anti-imperialist struggle, is facing a wide array of challenges on this 73rd anniversary of its adoption. It’s time to join the fight to fend off such threats and defend its spirit and values on our #ConstitutionDay.”India’s Constitution, which encompasses the ideals of our anti-imperialist struggle, is facing a wide array of challenges on this 73rd anniversary of its adoption. It’s time to join the fight to fend off such threats and defend its spirit and values on our #ConstitutionDay.— Pinarayi Vijayan (@pinarayivijayan) November 26, 2022He added, “Today, the values of secularism, democracy and federalism in our country are facing serious challenges…The challenges being faced by our Constitution, even on the 73rd anniversary of its adoption, are not just trivial.”Congress general secretary in charge of communications Jairam Ramesh alleged that the “ideological fountainheads” of the BJP had nothing to do with the making of the Constitution and PM Modi decided to mark November 26 as Constitution Day as he “desperately” wanted to show respect to the document.“The draft Constitution was adopted by Constituent Assembly on 26.11.1949. Constituent Assembly decided it would come into force from 26.01.1950 which is since celebrated as Republic Day,” Ramesh tweeted.Ideological fountainheads of the BJP had nothing whatsoever to do with the making of the Constitution, the Congress leader said. “In fact the RSS was opposed to the Constitution of India. Desperately wanting to show that he respects the Constitution – while he subverts it daily in letter and spirit – the prime minister decided to celebrate November 26 as Constitution Day. This is sheer hypocrisy.”Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Babasaheb urged us to march on the road to unity. I will walk that road long enough, until every word of our Constitution is upheld, and every citizen stands protected by fairness and justice.”Babasaheb urged us to march on the road to unity.I will walk that road long enough, until every word of our Constitution is upheld, and every citizen stands protected by fairness and justice. pic.twitter.com/OUMCJKugxj— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 26, 2022At Tummalapalli Kalakshetram, Vijayawada, Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan and Andhra Pradesh CM Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy participated in a National Constitution Day programme.The draft Constitution was adopted by Constituent Assembly on 26.11.1949. Constituent Assembly decided it would come into force from 26.01.1950 which is since celebrated as Republic Day. Ideological fountainheads of BJP had nothing whatsoever to do in making the Constitution 1/3— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) November 26, 2022Addressing an election rally in Gujarat, MP and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said Muslims were legitimate citizens of India and no one could snatch this right from them as long as they stuck to the values upheld by the Constitution.Early in the morning, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi, “Our Constitution is the pride of our country’s democracy, this is the identity of the rights of us Indians. Best wishes to all the countrymen on Constitution Day. Protecting the constitution of the country, we will give our whole life to fulfill the dreams of Babasaheb and to make India the No. 1 country in the world.”
Campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Somnath, Bhavnagar and Amreli, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Saturday attacked the Congress for “appeasing Muslims” by opposing the reconstruction of the Somnath temple and branded Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a “true sympathiser of terrorism”.A recurrent theme across all three of his public addresses was that of national security and pride associated with the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, which, according to Adityanath, has been restored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.He also appealed to the public to not vote for the Congress and the AAP and hailed his own administration in Uttar Pradesh and said “professional rioters, goons and criminals”, who flourished “under the patronage of the Congress and their allied parties”, have been bulldozed in UP to make the state riot-free.Evoking sentiments towards the Ram temple, Adityanath said, “In 1990, the yatra towards Ayodhya was started after seeking blessings at the Somnath temple. People used to say that if the Ram Temple is built, there will be bloodshed. I say not even a mosquito will die.”He added, “Now, riots do not happen in Uttar Pradesh. The professional rioters, goons and criminals, who flourished under the patronage of the Congress and its allied parties, who used to oppress the poor, businesspersons and the common people, have been bulldozed.”In Bhavnagar’s Gariadhar, Adityanath spoke of an improved national security under PM Modi. “Earlier, there used to be attacks every other day. When Modi became the chief minister of Gujarat, curfew and riots ended forever. When he became the Prime Minister, terrorist attacks stopped altogether.”He added, “Under PM Narendra Modi’s leadership, India’s cultural heritage is being honoured and taken to new heights. By constructing the tallest statue of Sardar (Vallabhbhai) Patel in the world in Kevadia, PM Modi honoured him. He also honoured Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar and in five places he was associated with, development of the panchteerth is being done by the BJP under Modi’s leadership.”He further said, “Congress never honoured Sardar sahab. When Sardar sahab wanted to restore Somnath temple, Congress had opposed it. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had opposed it. Congress, for the sake of the Muslim vote bank, never wanted to respect your faith. But Sardar sahab had pledged here that an independent India will not accept symbols of oppression and had taken forward the work of rebuilding the Somnath temple. Back then, president of India Rajendra Prasad wanted to attend the ceremony but efforts were made to stop him.” Adityanath further asked the crowd to not support the Congress.The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister made it a point to mention at all the three public addresses that Gujarat does not witness curfews, riots and Naxal threat anymore. Attacking Kejriwal, he said, “He is a true sympathiser of terrorism. He opposes Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and when the Indian Army does a surgical strike in Pakistan, he demands proof from our brave soldiers. Don’t waste your votes on those who are corrupt and support terrorism.”Adityanath further added, “No self-respecting person should vote for Congress or AAP. These two parties are power-hungry. They do not care about the country’s security, development or security of the common citizens.”Gujarat will go to polls in two-phases on December 1 and December 5 and counting will be held on December 8.Adityanath later attended a roadshow at Viramgam in Ahmedabad along with BJP candidate Hardik Patel. Recurrent chants of “Jai Shree Ram” and “Modi, Modi” by the crowd continued till the end of the roadshow.
NEW DELHI: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asserted on Saturday that his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will record a "historic victory" in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls and become a "national" political party. Congratulating the party workers on the 10th anniversary of the AAP's foundation day, Kejriwal said the party has created "many histories" in Indian politics since it came into existence on November 26, 2012 and become "a new hope" for the people of the country. "The Aam Aadmi Party was formed 10 years ago on this day. In these 10 years, the party created many histories in Indian politics with the immense love of the public and the hard work of the workers," Kejriwal, the national convenor of the party, said in a series of tweets. The AAP has offered a new hope to the people of the country and gained their trust, he said. "With yet another historic victory, the AAP is going to become a national party very soon," he said. Riding high on its stupendous victory in the Punjab Assembly polls earlier this year, the AAP is betting big in poll-bound Gujarat. It has fielded candidates in all 182 Assembly constituencies in the BJP-ruled state. Till the 2017 Assembly polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress were the main contenders in Gujarat. With the AAP joining the fray with its high-decibel campaign, the state is set to witness a three-cornered poll contest this time. The Kejriwal-led party is hoping to gain its foothold in the state by winning several seats in the polls to be held in two phases on December 1 and 5. According to rules, a political party gets the status of a "State Party" if it secures 6 per cent of the votes polled and two seats in a legislative assembly. If a party gets the status of a "State Party" in four states, it automatically becomes a "National Party". The AAP is recognised as a "State Party" in Delhi, Punjab and Goa. If it secures 6 per cent of the votes polled and two seats in Gujarat, it will earn the tag of a "National Party".
Amit Shah addresses a rally in Talaja town in Gujarat's Bhavnagar district for a BJP candidateAhmedabad: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said terror attacks were rampant when Congress was in power and terrorists from Pakistan used to kill Indian soldiers but the then ruling party never condemned them due to "vote bank" politics.Paying tributes to the victims of the November 26, 2008 (26/11) Mumbai terror attack, Shah said it is impossible to carry out such an attack under the watch of the Narendra Modi government."Today is the anniversary of the 26/11 attack. On this day (in 2008), Pakistani terrorists killed 164 persons in Mumbai. I pay my humble tributes to the departed souls. Though such attacks were rampant during the Congress rule, it is not possible to carry out a 26/11 type terror attack today because Narendra Modi is the prime minister," Shah said while addressing a poll rally in Talaja town in Bhavnagar district for a BJP candidate.Voting on Talaja and 88 other seats will be held on December 1 in the first phase of the two-phase Gujarat Assembly elections."Sonia (Gandhi) and (former PM) Manmohan Singh were in power for ten years from 2004 till 2014. During their regime, terrorists from Pakistan used to enter India frequently and kill our soldiers and even decapitated their heads. Despite that, Congress never uttered a word. Why? Because of their vote bank. I hope you know who is Congress' vote bank," the senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said.He added PM Modi gave a strong message to the world by carrying out surgical and air strikes on terrorists after Uri and Pulwama terror attacks.The Gandhinagar MP also said the now-scrapped Article 370 (granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir) was the mistake of the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"Didn't you want Article 370 (was supposed) to be removed from Jammu and Kashmir? For 70 years, these Congressmen preserved this Nehru's mistake as if it was a child. Our PM (Modi) removed it in one go in 2019 and made Kashmir an integral part of India in its true sense," 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 DayWatch Arvind Kejriwal's Townhall: "Give Me CBI For One Day..."
New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party boss Arvind Kejriwal today shared a video of BJP's star campaigner Yogi Adityanath calling him "a sympathiser of terrorism" during a poll rally in Gujarat, and pitched himself as someone who stands for "development" as against the BJP's "politics of abuses and hooliganism"."If you want dirty abuses, hooliganism, corruption, or dirty politics, then vote for them. If you want schools, hospitals, electricity, water, roads, then vote for me," the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in Hindi, retweeting a video which his UP counterpart had captioned: "This specimen from the Aam Aadmi Party who has come from Delhi is actually a sympathiser of terrorism."अगर गंदी गाली गलौज चाहिए, गुंडागर्दी चाहिए, भ्रष्टाचार चाहिए, गंदी राजनीति चाहिए तो इनको वोट दे देना। अगर स्कूल, अस्पताल, बिजली, पानी, सड़कें चाहिए तो मुझे वोट दे देना। https://t.co/kNtrOR2azB— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 26, 2022The AAP, buoyed by its victory early this year in Punjab, has mounted a high-decibel campaign to challenge the BJP in Gujarat where it's been in power for 27 years, including PM Narendra Modi's 13 years as chief minister. Pitching a former TV news anchor Isudan Gadhvi, as the AAP chief ministerial candidate, Mr Kejriwal has spent weeks in Gujarat speaking of "development" besides making appeals to the BJP's core Hindutva voter with demands such as Hindu gods' images on currency notes. The Congress, which increased its vote share in 2017, has been running a lowkey campaign — it calls that a strategy. It refuses to see the election as a three-way contest, dismissing AAP as "just hype". The BJP, too, sees the contest as a direct fight with the Congress.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comYet, the BJP has gone all-out and deployed its big guns, including the hardline Hindutva icon Yogi Adityanath, in the campaign. And the campaign has taken a turn towards the BJP's primal appeal, with Amit Shah saying "rioters were taught a lesson in 2002", and Yogi Adityanath, too, calling rivals "opponents of Lord Ram". In the video that Mr Kejriwal shared, Yogi Adityanath said that the AAP leader had "opposed the construction of Ram Temple, and even sought proof for the Indian Army's surgical strike in Pakistan". He said corruption and terrorism are "the same thing".
AHMEDABAD: Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday said terror attacks were rampant when Congress was in power and terrorists from Pakistan used to kill Indian soldiers but the then ruling party never condemned them due to "vote bank" politics. Paying tributes to the victims of the November 26, 2008 (26/11) Mumbai terror attack, Shah said it is impossible to carry out such an attack under the watch of the Narendra Modi government. "Today is the anniversary of the 26/11 attack. On this day (in 2008), Pakistani terrorists killed 164 persons in Mumbai. I pay my humble tributes to the departed souls. Though such attacks were rampant during the Congress rule, it is not possible to carry out a 26/11 type terror attack today because Narendra Modi is the prime minister," Shah said while addressing a poll rally in Talaja town in Bhavnagar district for a BJP candidate. Voting on Talaja and 88 other seats will be held on December 1 in the first phase of the two-phase Gujarat assembly elections. "Sonia (Gandhi) and (former PM) Manmohan Singh were in power for ten years from 2004 till 2014. During their regime, terrorists from Pakistan used to enter India frequently and kill our soldiers and even decapitated their heads. Despite that, Congress never uttered a word. Why? Because of their vote bank. I hope you know who is Congress' vote bank," the senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said. He added PM Modi gave a strong message to the world by carrying out surgical and air strikes on terrorists after Uri and Pulwama terror attacks. The Gandhinagar MP also said the now-scrapped Article 370 (granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir) was the mistake of the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. "Didn't you want Article 370 (was supposed) to be removed from Jammu and Kashmir? For 70 years, these Congressmen preserved this Nehru's mistake as if it was a child. Our PM (Modi) removed it in one go in 2019 and made Kashmir an integral part of India in its true sense," he said.
Promising to launch a ‘Gujarat Olympics Mission’ for hosting the Olympic Games in the state in 2036, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday unveiled its manifesto for the upcoming Gujarat elections, promising to provide 20 lakh jobs and freebies, including electric scooters and cycles to female students.The creation of an “anti-radicalisation cell” to identify and “eliminate potential threats and sleeper cells of terrorist organisations and anti-India forces” was among the many promises made by BJP National President J P Nadda while unveiling the manifesto at Gandhinagar.Elections for the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5.The party also promised to set up a task force to “scrutinize assets and finances of Waqf Board and conduct surveys of madrasas regarding their curriculum”. The manifesto also promised rigorous imprisonment along with a financial penalty for forced conversions under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021.The party also promised to enact the Gujarat Recovery of Damages of Public and Private Properties Act. This legislation is meant to recover damages done to public and private properties by anti-social elements during riots, violent protests and unrest, etc.ભારતની પ્રથમ મ્યુઝિયમ સર્કિટ સાથે ફિલ્મ સિટી લેશે આકાર…#અગ્રેસર_ગુજરાતનો_સંકલ્પ pic.twitter.com/erJKAqc8x2— BJP Gujarat (@BJP4Gujarat) November 26, 2022The party also promised to “ensure complete implementation of the Gujarat Uniform Civil Code committee’s recommendations”.Among the freebies announced in the manifesto, BJP promised to provide free sanitary napkins to female students, free monthly supplements of nutrients to all poor and pregnant women from the economically weaker section (EWS), two free LPG cylinders every year and free bus travel for women senior citizens.The party has also promised to start giving free electric scooters to meritorious college-going female students from financially weak households. It also promised to give free bicycles to all female students from classes 9-12.The BJP said it would double the cap under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (Ayushman Bharat) from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per family and “ensure free-of-cost medical treatment”. The party will also launch a ‘Mukhyamantri Free Diagnostic Scheme’ with a corpus of Rs 110 crore, to provide “free-of-cost diagnostic services in all government health institutions and empanelled laboratories for EWS households.”The party promised to provide 1 litre of edible oil four times a year and 1 kg ‘chana’ per month at subsidised rates through the Public Distribution System.The BJP also promised to make Gujarat the top FDI destination by attracting Rs 5 lakh crore of overseas investments in the next five years. It also plans to make the state a defence and aviation hub of India. Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and BJP state president C R Paatil were also present at the launch of the manifesto.
Vadgam in Banaskantha district will be one of the most-watched seats in the coming Gujarat Assembly elections because fighting to retain the constituency will be Jignesh Mevani who won last time as an Independent. This time, Mevani is in the fray as a Congress candidate.In a wide-ranging interview, he discusses both his own electoral prospect and that of his party, the Congress. He dwells on the issues of these polls, how the election this time is different from 2017 when he contested as an Independent, and the BJP.You contested as an Independent in 2017. This year, you are a Congress candidate. What is the difference?We all know that in Gujarat and across India there is an issue of literacy and for the rural people who are illiterate it is tough finding a symbol (of an Independent candidate). If not more, then 2,000 to 5,000 people must have faced difficulty in finding the sewing machine symbol (Mevani’s symbol as an independent candidate in 2017). So, in that context, I will benefit (as a Congress candidate).Apart from that, a big segment of the Congress was bewildered about where this issue of independent candidature came from (in 2017). So, that matter has been resolved, not that each and every party worker will be with me. By and large, Congress people feel good that now I am part of the party. So, it helps. And the Congress is a decades-old party. So, I get an added advantage of its symbol.Secondly, I get (formal) backing from the party, which was also there last time. A lot of party leaders and workers can also now see their prospects through me. Overall, it is an advantage for me to fight elections on the Congress symbol.The Supreme Court recently upheld the 10 per cent EWS quota. Do you see it affecting Gujarat elections in any manner?I don’t see much of an impact at the moment. Any positive or negative vibrations created by it have not reached me. Maybe, I am too lost in the campaign. Otherwise, generally, when this kind of ruling comes, there are reactions from both sides of the camp. One camp cherishes it, while another one discards it. But there has not been much talk about it.In the 2017 elections, the Una flogging incident was one of the major factors. This time, it is nowhere in the picture. How do you see the government’s attitude towards Dalit issues in the last five years?Dalits are largely working-class people. And they are the rural landless people of India. The same applies to Gujarat as well. So, the kind of economic policies the BJP stands for and the kind of economic disaster they have unleashed — inflation, unemployment, economic exploitation — all these issues affect Dalits. Even if there is no visible large-scale campaign, since it affects Dalits, they will stay away from the BJP.Secondly, wherever I have been able to campaign against the BJP in the last two years or so, we have done a lot of ideological work as well. We have explained what the BJP stands for. And why we should be away from them. Secondly, the Dalit middle class that benefited from the reservation policy is vocal enough to explain to the Dalit masses that the BJP is determined to finish your reservation, that the BJP and its frontal organisations are against the Constitution.So, you don’t see any change in the Gujarat government’s attitude towards Dalits?The attitude of the government towards Dalits is pathetic. They just don’t care. ‘You die, we don’t care.’ That is the approach. Despite demands coming from all corners and the issues being raised in the state Assembly, they neither care about the atrocity cases (SC-ST Act) nor do they care about implementing the scholarship scheme. (They are) not concerned about the formulation of the SC/ST Sub Plan Act. They don’t want to do anything about landless Dalits, they don’t want to allocate land, they don’t want to ensure the possession of already allotted land unless there is a call of agitation. So, the attitude is the same.The attempts they have made to bring Dalits to their fold have not worked. Because there is genuine unrest among Dalits. And even apart from me, there are many Dalit groups operating at the grassroots level that are constantly taking Dalits away from the BJP. Dalits have enough ideological material to take it to the Dalit masses to ensure they don’t go to BJP.In 2017, Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and you were fighting against the BJP. In 2022, Patel and Thakor are in the BJP. What do you say?Let the people of Gujarat judge it.You don’t want to say anything more than this?I have said everything I had to say.The AAP is claiming it will form the government. How do you see it as a political force in Gujarat?Everybody has the right to live in a fool’s paradise.Vadgam is a Muslim-dominated seat and the AIMIM has fielded a candidate here. Do you see any influence of the AIMIM in the constituency?There is some influence. But the wisdom the Muslim community has shown throughout, all across India, makes me believe that eventually it will be sorted out.Do you see your votes going down this time (owing to AIMIM and AAP candidates)?No. On the contrary, there is every chance that the (winning) margin may go up because of the Vipul Chaudhary factor (the imprisonment of the Chaudhary community leader has turned the group against the BJP), the local issues, and detachment of some of the very committed BJP workers of the Chaudhary community from BJP. Because of these issues, there is a lot of unrest and a section of the Chaudhary community likes me because of my work on the issue of water crisis.So do you see the Chaudhary community supporting you this time?This time it is clear and evident. They are openly saying it. They are campaigning for me because of the imprisonment of Vipul Chaudhary.Delhi AAP leader Rajendra Pal Gautam’s episode related to the Buddhist conversion programme was turned into a big poll issue by the BJP. After that, Gautam also resigned as Delhi minister. How do you see it?It has not gone well among Dalits. Dalits are enough educated and politically oriented to understand that to protect the so-called upper caste votes, the AAP has done it (make Gautam resign).After becoming the working president of Gujarat Congress, what has been your contribution to the party?As and when my party needs my services — in going and addressing the masses, taking up certain issues, focusing in north Gujarat and particularly in Patan and Banaskantha districts where I am the in-charge — I do that. So, whatever role has been assigned to me as a working president, I am doing that.In 2017, Congress won 77 seats and is now down to 59 MLAs. So many people have resigned. Against that backdrop, how do you see the way forward for Congress?It is undoubtedly difficult. And the manner in which Congress MLAs have been leaving the party is a huge concern for everyone in Gujarat and even for the central leadership. This is not sending a good message. But what can one do? It is a big concern for the party and there is no immediate solution. But the good thing is that despite all the efforts of the BJP, still we are 60 MLAs. We have not formed the government in the last 27 years but the Congress still has a tremendous base all across Gujarat. We have grassroots workers in almost every booth in every village. And the spirit is quite reasonable. But, it is a challenge and we need to do a lot more ideological work. We need to bring more people who are ideologically sound and aligned with the party.What are the issues in the current election?The undercurrent of a silent voter that I can see is that people have got crippled. It looks like people have lost the spark to even aggressively react against the government. I can see that the poor, labourers and the deprived make up such a class of voters. He (a common person from these classes) is depressed due to inflation and unemployment. The dream of achhe din shown by Modi saheb is being broken every day. So, I think inflation is the most important issue. For the youth, unemployment and paper leaks are major issues.People have been suffering from so many problems, but they have not been able to speak up after seeing the kind of oppression (the ruling party does). My Assam episode, the sedition cases against Hardik Patel, the case registered against journalist Dhaval Patel, and the case against Vipul Chaudhary — a big number of people are not able to speak since they have seen that this government targets people. So, dadagiri and tanashahi (coercion and dictatorship) are too much.Unemployment, paper leaks, inflation, and issues of contractual and government employees who are being exploited in government functions — not giving them the old pension scheme and issues of fixed-wage employees — all these are troubling people. Even if one cannot see a political narrative being set around it, these are the main issues.You emerged as a Dalit leader after the 2016 agitation. Since then, no major face has come up from the community. In the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, your organisation, do you attempt to groom young people for leadership roles?A leader cannot be made. A person becomes a leader with his hard work, struggle and talent. You cannot speak like me merely because I promote you. The guts to face imprisonment in Assam jail does not come merely because I promote you.Secondly, what is a leader?Everybody doesn’t need to get the fame and popularity that I got. At the district and taluka levels, there are many leaders. The Una incident got so much prominence that I became a face. There may not be faces like me, but there are a lot of leaders.Manibhai Vaghela (former Congress MLA from Vadgam) is the BJP candidate against you. How do you see his influence in Vadgam?Naturally, he will have contacts here since he was an MLA here. But my fight is not against an individual. My fight is against an ideology. A big force of the BJP is making efforts against me. The way I was targeted in the Assam case, and the way I was convicted in two cases after that. So much political vendetta is visible. I am fighting against the whole state machinery and not against an individual.
A day after the CBI submitted its chargesheet in the Delhi excise policy scam case, leaving out the name of Manish Sisodia, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at the BJP saying that his sources had told him that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was personally monitoring the case and had even met the CBI and ED directors, asking them to find evidence against the Deputy CM.Linking it to the upcoming elections in Gujarat and the Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief said that about 800 officers were deployed to find evidence against Sisodia but they managed to find nothing. “CBI has given clean chit to Sisodia. It is clear from their chargesheet that they couldn’t find an iota of evidence against him. Only one week is left for the elections. They (BJP) spread lies and only made huge claims.”Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, Kejriwal said: “It is being said that an additional supplementary chargesheet may be filed in the case. Humari jhanch to Pradhan mantri ji zindagi bhar karayenge. Jab tak hum zinda hai jaanch chalti rahegi (The PM will be probing us till we are alive). Investigation against us have been going on since we formed the government in 2015. All agencies have been entrusted with the duty of targeting us but none have been able to draw up a chargesheet against anyone.”He added: “My sources said, that Pradhan Mantri ji (PM) was personally monitoring the case and he used to meet the CBI and ED chiefs, directing them to do anything to find evidence against Sisodia. Today, we can proudly say before the country that Kejriwal kattar imandar hai aur humari party kattar imandar hai (Kejriwal and his party are honest).”The Delhi Chief Minister also had a piece of advise during his address for the Prime Minister. “Pradhan Mantri ji kehte hain aap 18 ghante Kam karte hain. 18 ke 18 ghante aap bas yahi sochte hain ki mai kis tarah se Kejriwal ko Roku kam karne se, kis tarah se Kejriwal mantriyon ko giraftar karun, kis tarah se khichad fekun. (The Prime Minister says that he works for 18 hours a day. What he actually does is that he plans for all these 18 hours ways to stop Kejriwal and arrest his ministers). I just want request you that of the 18 hours, if you will give at least two hours to the country, the country will progress and unemployment will end. Don’t be so negative. Be positive and think about the people of the country.”
"Are we anti-nationals that our houses have to be demolished?" asks Vaishali.Jakhau (Gujarat): Standing outside her makeshift home, Vaishali Mangale is at a loss to understand why around 300 houses, huts, and godowns at the Jakhau harbour were demolished by authorities just ahead of polls in Gujarat for being "unauthorised" constructions.The Jakhau harbour, 120 km from Bhuj town in Kutch district, is part of the Abdasa Assembly constituency where polling will be held on December 1 in the first of the two-phase elections for the 182-member House.The issue of restoration of Jakhau Harbour, a major source of economic activity in the area, is an issue that the opposition has been harping on to target the BJP.The water crisis in the region, especially getting water from Narmada, is also a major poll plank of various political parties in the arid Kutch region.The Abdasa constituency, a stronghold of Congress, is now with the BJP after sitting Congress MLA Pradhyuman Sinh Jadeja switched to the saffron camp in 2020.A fish trader, who did not wish to be named, feels razing homes with bulldozers is more of a symbolic action than an administrative decision."The bulldozer politics is symbolic of sending a message to a particular community. The demolition of structures along the coastline has a general pattern," he said."Why was the time - just ahead of the polls - chosen for demolition?" Political analyst Hemant Shah said the demolitions were carried out to consolidate Hindu votes. "Demolishing some Hindu property during this exercise was aimed at projecting the government as being impartial," he added."Are we anti-nationals that our houses have to be demolished, and we have to be thrown out?" asks Vaishali.The district administration and the ruling BJP refuted the bulldozer politics claims, and said the demolition of illegal structures was necessary for national security."The demolitions were not undertaken suddenly. Eviction notices were sent to them last year, but they kept on building structures due to which there was no clear visibility of the coastline, which is very important for national security. The structures were demolished keeping in mind the national security," Superintendent of Police, Kutch (West), Saurabh Singh told PTI.The district administration, as part of state-wide operations in coastal areas of the state, including Porbandar and Dwarka, had demolished illegal structures considered a threat to national security.Mr Jadeja, the BJP candidate, said once the elections are over, the problems of the fishermen community will be looked into. "We are considering giving them land two kilometers from Jakhau harbour. The allegations that it (demolition) has been done to bully the minorities are baseless and politically motivated," he told PTI.A total of 10 candidates including BJP's Mr Jadeja, Mamad Jung Jat of the Congress and Vasantbhai Khetani of the AAP are in the fray.The constituency has a total of 2,49,484 voters, of whom around 11.7 per cent are from the minority community. The Scheduled Castes(SC) community accounts for about 14 per cent.Mr Jadeja is from the Kshatriya community and was the two-time Congress MLA from the constituency before switching over to the BJP in 2020. For him, the independents from the Kshatriya community and internal fighting within the BJP could pose some trouble.For the Congress, the AAP's entry is a threat, as it is wary that it might eat into the opposition space.In areas such as Abdasa, the work for the pipeline for the canal connecting it with the Narmada Main Canal (NMC) through Kutch Branch Canal is yet to start, thus leaving the entire region yearning for water.The fishermen of Jakhau recently submitted a memorandum to Kutch district collector, drawing his attention to people living in the open after their homes and huts were demolished during the demolition drive last month, citing coastal security."Our hometown is in Valsad, but we stay in Jakhau for nearly 10 months of the year as the catch is excellent in this area," a fisherman and Vaishali's husband Rajesh Mangale said."Industrial pollution has destroyed marine ecology in coastal areas, but these demolitions have put our lives and livelihood at stake. The bulldozers demolished our homes and our future." said Osman Gani of the National Fishworkers Forum.Fishermen and traders from coastal districts like Valsad, Jamnagar, Dwarka, and Amreli operate from Jakhau as industrialisation and chemical pollution along the coastline in their areas destroyed marine ecology, leading to depletion in fish stock.The Jakhau harbour provides livelihood to 10,000 fishermen and 12,000 fish traders, Mr Gani said. Around 1,500 fishing boats and trawlers also operate in the area every year, he added."The entire trade was stopped for nearly a month, leading to a loss of Rs 200 crore. In winter, the fishing business is generally on a decline. We are yet to come out of our losses, and the government is asking us to vacate the area. If we leave this area, we will be completely out of business, and families will starve," Jakhau Bandar Fishermen and Boat Association president Abdullah Shah said.Since the demolitions, fishermen and traders have set up makeshift homes and makeshift cold storages with tarpaulins and bamboo roofs and are determined not to leave the area until the government offers a suitable alternative arrangement.Mr Gani did not favour the move to set up a fishermen's colony two kilometres from the coastline, saying it was impractical. "Taking fishermen and traders two km from the coastline is like taking fish out of water and killing them. This proposition is impractical and will lead to huge losses for the fishing industry," he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comKutch district Congress president Yajuvendra Sinh Jadeja alleged that the government failed to protect the interests of fishermen due to petty politics. "The government should have made alternative arrangements for the fishermen and traders,"he said. (This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayHow To Track FIFA World Cup
"There is no mass leader among them, while I am drawing support in every part of the state," he said.Khambhalia (Gujarat): With the BJP building its campaign around Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AAP's chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi on Saturday said this shows how people of Gujarat are fed-up with the ruling party's state leaders and claimed his party is on course to end its uninterrupted reign of nearly 25 years.In an interview with PTI, the journalist-turned-politician asserted that the people of Gujarat will vote for a credible leader as their next Chief Minister in the assembly polls in which, he noted, PM Modi will not be a factor in their mind."Modi is Prime Minister, and he will remain in power at the Centre till 2024. The assembly polls are for electing the state government. People of Gujarat are fed up with state leaders of the BJP and the Congress. There is no mass leader among them, while I am drawing support in every part of the state," he said.While some poll watchers believe that 40-year-old Mr Gadhvi, once a popular Gujarati news anchor, has been caught in a tough fight in Khambhalia and social equations are also not very favourable to him, he said the AAP's poll entry has meant that conventional calculations will not work in either his constituency or in Gujarat.Though he is seen as a decent person with public connect, owed in some parts to his TV background, some critics have also described his party as a "general without soldiers", a pointer to the suggestion that it may lack the ground network to match the well-entrenched poll machinery of its rivals, especially the BJP, despite having a visible leadership.Mr Gadhvi, though, was quick to dismiss any such suggestions and cited figures to back his claim of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerging as a credible challenger to the BJP in the state.He claimed that the AAP has established its committees of 11-15 persons in each of the nearly 52,000 booths in the state and over 50 lakh voters have physically collected "guarantees" (manifesto) his party has promised to deliver if elected to power."We do not believe in the old pattern of politics practised by the BJP and the Congress, in which panchayat members and local caste leaders were co-opted by them during the polls to collect votes. Ground workers are with us and so are people. It will be reflected in the poll results on December 8," he said.In terms of the current popular vote share estimate, the AAP is ahead of the BJP while the Congress is far behind, Mr Gadhvi claimed.Mr Gadhvi, who comes from Other Backward Classes (OBC), described himself as the "son of a farmer" and said the AAP's three promises of "bijli, pani and daam" (power, water and remunerative prices for produce) have won it the support of the agrarian community.While farmers are generally supplied electricity in the night for irrigation purposes, the AAP has promised it during the daytime.Mr Gadhvi said the party's promises of free power to people besides filling up government jobs which, he said, are around two lakh, and boosting education and health sectors as its leader Arvind Kejriwal has "done" in Delhi besides monthly allowances to women and unemployed youth have struck a chord with people.While the BJP ran a "corrupt" government in Gujarat, the Congress, he alleged, failed in its role as an opposition by not raising the issues of people effectively.The AAP has sparked hope among the people of the state, and they will give it a chance to rule the state, he claimed.Mr Gadhvi's assembly seat Khambhalia falls in the Saurashtra region, which will go to polls in the first phase on December 1 along with south Gujarat and Kutch.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe rest of the parts of the state will vote on December 5 and counting will take place on December 8.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The Day"Some Said Our Country Wouldn't Survive, But...": PM Modi At Constitution Day Event
The assembly election in Gujarat is likely to shape the future course of Indian politics: It is going to test the Congress’s resolve towards electoral revival, show whether the Aam Aadmi Party’s attempt to expand its footprint is yielding results and whether Brand Modi and Hindutva remain valuable electoral capital for the BJP. Of course, caste-based social engineering is all too prevalent in Gujarat. However, there are a set of factors related to emotional connections that play an important role in influencing election outcomes.The first such factor is “Brand Modi”. The image of PM Modi is synonymous with Gujarati pride. His presence as the prime minister has created a sub-nationalist assertion within the broader framework of Indian nationalism in Gujarat. This emotional thread is going to shape the election outcome more than any organisational or party-centred efforts. The image of Modi is omnipresent — in the media, in rallies, and imprinted on development initiatives promoted by the Centre. It is talked about in the tribal areas of the Dangs as well as in cosmopolitan cities including Ahmedabad and Vadodara. The narrative around Brand Modi has been contested by the Opposition, of course, but it hardly figures in the conversation or does not seem powerful enough to dent the electoral capital it has generated.A second factor is the “Hindutva aspiration” that provides an emotional basis for political connection. The BJP’s efforts to enhance Hindu pride by constructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya, renovation of the Kashi-Vishwanath temple corridor, and other mega symbols of Hindutva pride have a resonance on the ground. The BJP’s ability to do cultural politics is unmatched; its impact in reshaping hearts and minds is often ignored by political analysts. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal seems to have recognised the import of this aspect, which is evident in his attempts to carve out a niche within this space by demanding that currency notes carry images of Hindu deities, Lakshmi and Ganesha. However, for cultural politics around Hindutva symbols to work, mere hyperbolic assertions are not enough; continuous and deep groundwork is needed for the claims and slogans to sound authentic.A third invisible factor is the political kinship within the cooperative movement. Politics and the cooperative movement were always connected. However, the BJP has now replaced the Congress as the dominant player in the cooperative movement, which provides cadres and influencers to political parties. The BJP rose in Gujarat by weakening the Congress’s influence among the cooperatives. As the Union minister for cooperatives, Amit Shah has been engaging with producers, the market and mandi.A fourth factor that is enabling electoral mobilisations is linked to aspirations — one related to development and the other to dhanda (business). All political parties compete to tap these aspirations but the BJP, by projecting itself as the party of government through its rhetoric on “double-engine”, has been way ahead of its rivals. The AAP is an opening for newcomers interested in a political career — most civil society activists see their political future in it. In fact, civil society actors are helping the AAP build the party organisation. The BJP and Hindutva groups too have made deep inroads among NGOs and sewabhavi groups. Interestingly, the AAP seems to be winning over Congress sympathisers. Earlier, the impression was that the rise of AAP would hurt the BJP.A strong party organisation is necessary to mobilise people around these factors. The BJP political machine is more powerful and efficient than any other. It is good at pooling resources and using all the inputs at its disposal to maximise outcomes. A good mix of seasoned organisers and mass leaders run the party election machine and the campaign. In contrast, the AAP campaign is focused on Arvind Kejriwal while the Congress campaign revolves around state leaders. The absence of Rahul Gandhi in the campaign is mentioned by Congress cadres and sympathisers. The BJP has sought to diminish the anti-incumbency sentiment by replacing a large number of sitting MLAs, including senior leaders.However, elections have a logic of their own and are prone to throw up small and big surprises. In Gujarat, what factors influence the outcome are worth watching.The writer is professor, Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad
These Gujarat politicians have been victorious not merely in elections, but also in earning the confidence of generations of voters. Himanshu Kaushik profiles leaders who have won more than three assembly polls since the state was carved out over 60 years ago. Mohansinh Rathava (10):This septuagenarian tribal strongman won his first assembly election in 1972. He represented the ST-reserved Jetpur and Chhota Udepur seats for 10 consecutive elections on Congress tickets. Earlier this month he joined the BJP. His son Rajendrasinh has received the BJP ticket for the 2022 poll. Rathava’s record of 10 assembly-election wins is unsurpassed. (Won: 1972, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2007, 2012, 2017) Ashok Bhatt (8):Ashok Bhatt, who held key positions in successive BJP governments, won polls eight times from his citadel, Khadia in Ahmedabad’s old city. His first victory came in 1975 and he handled several portfolios through his career. In 2008, he was appointed the assembly speaker and held that post till his death in 2010. His son Bhushan lacks Bhatt’s Midas touch, losing once from Khadia. (Won: 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007) Stalwarts with 7 winsChhotu Vasava:A fiery leader of the Bhil tribal community, Vasava, 77, is looking for his eighth straight win from the Jhagadia seat in Bharuch district, which he has represented from 1990 either on a JD or BTP ticket. Vasava has been a fierce advocate of rights of tribal communities and his fief has remained unbreachable for over three decades. (Won: 1990, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017) Pabubha Manek:This 66-year-old Mer community strongman is perhaps the only MLA to have won the Dwarka constituency as Congress, BJP, and independent candidate. He is seeking his eighth consecutive stint from the same seat. He was disqualified in 2019 by the HC for improper election affidavit. (Won: 1990, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017) Amarsinh Chaudhary:Gujarat’s first adivasi CM, Chaudhary headed the state government between 1985 and 1989. He quit a government job to win his first assembly election in 1970. He represented Radhanpur, Khedbrahma, and Vyara seats. Chaudhary also led the state unit of the Congress. He died in 2004. His son Tushar has been fielded from Khedbrahma by the Congress. (Won: 1972, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1995, 1998, 2002) Keshubhai Patel:The Patidar leader from Saurashtra won seven elections beginning 1975. His victories came on the tickets of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and the BJP, as well as on that of the Gujarat Parivartan Party which he founded in 2012. A member of the RSS since the 1940s. Patel was instrumental in the growth of the BJP in Gujarat. He was the CM twice. He succumbed to Covid complications at 92. (Won: 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2012) Vajubhai Vala:He was made the Rajkot mayor in the 1980s. He won his first assembly election in 1985 from Rajkot and never lost. He vacated the seat in 2002 to pave the way for Narendra Modi to contest his first assembly election. Vala, 75, has been a minister and the speaker. He was made Karnataka’s governor in 2014. (Won: 1985, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012) Victory streak over 6 pollsMadhavsinh Solanki:He ran the KHAM (Kshatriya Harijan Adivasi Muslim) social experiment in the state. He has been the CM and a central minister. His 1985 feat of leading the Congress to win 149 of the 182 seats remains unbroken. (Won: 1962, 1972, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990) Vitthal Radadiya:He won assembly polls six times and general elections twice. He represented Dhoraji in the assembly and Porbandar in the Lok Sabha. He moved from the BJP to the RJP to the Congress and again to the BJP. He died in 2019 of cancer. (Won: 1990, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012) Nitin Patel:He has been winning assembly elections since 1995 and has been a sixterm MLA. He has held several positions in successive BJP governments, including the post of deputy CM under Vijay Rupani. (Won: 1990, 1995, 1998, 2007, 2012, 2017) Mangubhai Patel:Beginning 1990, the tribal leader from south Gujarat won six consecutive assembly elections. While he won five times from Navsari, he entered the assembly for the sixth time from Gandevi. Patel held several portfolios in BJP governments and was the speaker too. He is now the MP governor. (Won: 1990, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012) Madhu Shrivastava:He is contesting as an independent candidate this time after being denied a ticket by the BJP. He has a sizable personal following in Vadodara and the surrounding areas and has been winning since 1995. Shrivastava’s combative style often ignites controversies, but has resulted in no major setback. (Won: 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017) Prevailing in 5 fightsAmit Shah:Union home minister Amit Shah has been camping in Gujarat for the past several weeks to oversee the BJP’s poll campaign. Born in Mumbai in 1964, he spent his childhood in his ancestral town of Mansa. He has been elected to the assembly from Sarkhej and Naranpura. He contested his first Lok Sabha election in 2019 from the prestigious Gandhinagar constituency. (Won: 1997 bypoll, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012) Chimanbhai Patel:He was the CM of both Congress and Janata Dal governments in different tenures. He is credited with successfully engineering the Kokam (Koli Kanbi Musim) social experiment to ride into power. Patel won assembly elections from Sankheda and Unjha. He died in 1994. (Won: 1967, 1972, 1980, 1985, 1990) Nimaben Acharya:Barring the 1998 assembly election, Acharya has won all her fights since 1995. A Kutch native, she has been a successful candidate for both the Congress and the BJP. She and her husband switched over from the Congress to the BJP in 2007. Acharya became the first woman speaker in September last year. She has not received the BJP ticket this time. (Won: 1995, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017) Champions 4 timesNarendra Modi:He contested his first election in February 2002 from Rajkot-II after being sworn in as the CM in October 2001. He won 2002, 2007, and 2012 assembly polls from Maninagar. His 14-year tenure as the CM is the longest in Gujarat. In 2014, he won Varanasi and Vadodara Lok Sabha seats and became the PM. In the 2019 general election, Varanasi reelected him. (Won: 2002 bypoll, 2002, 2007 and 2012) Anandiben Patel:She is the governor of Uttar Pradesh. She has won four assembly elections from Mandal, Patan, and Ghatlodia seats. She became the state’s first woman CM after Modi became the PM. She was replaced in the face of the Patidar reservation agitation. (Won: 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012)
The AIMIM will field 14 candidates in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls.New Delhi: Soon after Union Home Minister Amit Shah at a Gujarat election rally made his controversial "taught a lesson to rioters in 2002" comment, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi lashed out at him, saying his 'lessons' were in fact about letting criminals walk free.While addressing a public gathering at Juhapura, the largest Muslim neighbourhood in Gujarat, the AIMIM chief said, "Amit Shah today gave a statement during a public rally that they taught a lesson to the rioters of Gujarat in 2002 and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) established permanent peace in the state. I want to tell the MP of this (Ahmedabad) constituency, Amit Shah, that the lesson you taught in 2002 was that Bilkis' rapists will be freed by you. The lesson you taught was that you will free the murderers of Bilkis' three-year-old daughter. You also taught us that Ahsan Jafri can be killed."In an impassioned speech, he also referred to the Gulbarg Society massacre, and the burning down of the Best Bakery in the 2002 communal frenzy that claimed over a thousand lives."How many of your lessons should we remember, Mr Amit Shah? But remember, teaching lessons is nothing, peace is strengthened when the wronged are given justice," he said.2002 mein Kaunsa sabaq sikhaya tha @amitshah? Naroda Patiya ka sabaq? Gulberg ka sabaq? Best Bakery ka sabaq? Bilqis Bano ka sabaq? pic.twitter.com/aV3hWC2Ab4— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) November 25, 2022Taking aim at the Home Minister, Mr Owaisi said that people forget when they get power that it has never always been with anyone. "Power will never be with any one person. One day, power will be snatched from everyone. Drunk on power, the Home Minister is today saying that we taught a lesson. What lesson did you teach? You became notorious in the entire country. What lesson did you teach that there were communal riots in Delhi?" he said.Amit Shah had on Thursday said that those responsible for the communal riots in Gujarat were "taught such a lesson" that the state has been peaceful for 22 years."During the Congress rule in Gujarat (before 1995), communal riots were rampant. Congress used to incite people of different communities and castes to fight against each other. Through such riots, Congress had strengthened its vote bank and did injustice to a large section of the society," Mr Shah said in Mahudha town of Kheda district."There have been many riots in Bharuch, curfew, violence. There was no room for development in Gujarat because of the chaos. In 2002, they tried to indulge in communal violence... we taught them such a lesson, we put them in jail. It's been 22 years, we have not put a curfew even once. BJP has done the work to bring the peace to a land that saw frequent communal riots," he said.The AIMIM will field 14 candidates in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe Gujarat assembly elections are scheduled to be held in two phases on December 1 and 5.Voting for 89 assembly seats will take place in the first phase, while for the remaining 93 assembly seats, voting will be held in the second phase of polling.
AHMEDABAD: Union home minister Amit Shah has claimed that BJP will win the coming Gujarat elections by a record margin, surpassing its previous best performances - both in terms of seats and vote share. "We shall break all our past records and and return to office once again with a thumping majority," Shah said. In an exclusive conversation with TOI here, Shah identified PM Narendra Modi's popularity and performance of the BJP governments as the main reasons for his confidence. He said while Modi enjoys goodwill everywhere, people of Gujarat share a special bond with him and that has grown stronger because of his performance as the PM. Battle of Gujarat is between Congress and BJP, says Amit ShahRead Also‘Gujarat’s bond with Modi has grown stronger because of his work… will help BJP win again’Union home minister Amit Shah, who has been campaigning extensively in Gujarat, is confident that the performance of successive BJP governments in the state and the growing affection for Prime Minister Narendra Modi will help BJP score an easy win there. In an exclusive conversation with TOI’sThe home minister dismissed the risk of "anti-incumbency" hurting BJP, which has been in office in Gujarat for 27 years now. "Our track record speaks for itself," he said, adding "pro-incumbency" is the dominant sentiment in the state. He noted that many issues BJP has raised since its Jan Sangh days have been resolved by the Modi government. Making light of AAP's challenge, Shah said BJP's fight in the Gujarat polls was still with Congress, which despite its problems consistently held on to a sizeable vote share in the state. The home minister was confident that AAP's 'politics of freebies' would not wash with Gujarat voters.
AHMEDABAD: Union home minister Amit Shah has claimed that BJP will win the coming Gujarat elections by a record margin, surpassing its previous best performances - both in terms of seats and vote share. "We shall break all our past records and and return to office once again with a thumping majority," Shah said. In an exclusive conversation with TOI in Ahmedabad, Shah identified PM Narendra Modi's popularity and performance of the BJP governments as the main reasons for his confidence. He said while Modi enjoys goodwill everywhere, people in Gujarat share a special bond with him and that has grown stronger because of his performance as the PM. The home minister dismissed the risk of "anti-incumbency" hurting BJP, which has been in office in Gujarat for 27 years now. "Our track record speaks for itself," he said, adding "pro-incumbency" is the dominant sentiment in the state. He noted that many issues BJP has raised since its Jan Sangh days have been resolved by the Modi government. Making light of AAP's challenge, Shah said BJP's fight in the Gujarat polls was still with Congress, which despite its problems has consistently held on to a sizeable vote-share in the state. The home minister was confident that AAP's 'politics of freebies' would not wash with Gujarat voters.
Questioning the “repeated trips” made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Gujarat, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said he had never seen such high anti-incumbency, as seen in the poll-bound state.Addressing an election meeting in Ahmedabad, the “Prime Minister has left all work in Delhi — which is his main job — and is here in Gujarat. What is the need for him to make repeated trips. Both Prime Minister and (home minister) Amit Shah are camping in the state.”Gehlot was speaking at Dariapur in Ahmedabad where sitting MLA Gyasuddin Sheikh is contesting.“You all are seeing what they are talking about in their speeches,” he said adding that unemployment and inflation were adversely affecting people in Gujarat. “I have never seen such high anti-incumbency, as I am seeing now in Gujarat. People are opposing them. They are not going to their meetings, because they have not done any work in the last five years,” the Rajasthan CM said adding that the BJP was forced to change its entire Cabinet last year.The Rajasthan CM said the anti-incumbency wave is bigger than 2017 elections, when congress fell a few seats short of forming the government in Gujarat. “If Congress wins this election, the Centre and Modji will get a shock. They will realise that they have lost due to high inflation and they will take steps to reduce prices. The entire country will benefit,” Gehlot said.“In Gujarat, Congress MLAs win. Thereafter horse trading happens and they are taken into BJP. This never used to happen earlier. After Modiji became the prime minister, a new model has come in the country, where elected governments are made to fall— Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka. These are dangers for democracy,” he said. Gehlot pointed out how sitting MLAs have rebelled within the BJP. “They blame the Congress, but they are not able to keep their own house in order.”Gehlot also remembered those who died of hooch tragedy in Ahmedabad and the recent bridge collapse tragedy in Morbi.
The forthcoming Gujarat Assembly polls is set to see many key contests, but the one for minority votes is rather tepid, with major political parties circumspect about fielding Muslim candidates, as always. The Muslim community, which forms approximately nine per cent of the total population of Gujarat, says in one voice that it is “unexcited” about the polls, as “none of the parties” has ever lived up to their pre-poll promises or reached out to the community.This time, across the 182 constituencies, the Congress has fielded only six Muslim candidates — a figure it has not crossed since 2002. The BJP — which even has a Christian candidate in the fray after two decades, from the Vyara constituency — last fielded a Muslim candidate in 1998 from the Vagra Assembly seat, unsuccessfully. The new entrant, Aam Aadmi Party, has fielded three Muslims, while the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has fielded 11 Muslim candidates out of a total 13 nominations. There are, of course, several Independent candidates from the community, who are expected to dent the vote share primarily of the Congress party.The Muslim votebank, traditionally associated with the Congress, has seen diminishing importance in the Assembly polls in Gujarat, and thereby, also a disproportionate lack of representation in the Assembly. In 2017, three of the six candidates fielded by the Congress made it to the Gujarat Assembly, while only two out of five were elected in 2012. The Congress, which had fielded 10 Muslim candidates in 1995, has slowly distanced itself from issues pertaining to minorities, barring their elected representatives from the community, who continue to be vocal in registering their opposition to issues that matter to the community.A senior Congress leader says, “One cannot deny that in the current political scenario, the Congress has to counter the BJP’s Hindutva politics, which includes them calling the Congress an anti-Hindu party. It is natural that the party has become conscious and prudent about its image.”He adds, “Not fielding Muslim candidates is not a part of this conscious image change, though. Right from 1990, the winnability of Muslim candidates came up for question. In fact, in 1995, all 10 Muslim candidates of the Congress lost. In 1998, five of our nine candidates won. So, in 2002, only the winners were repeated…”Earlier this year, Congress had elevated Wankaner MLA Mohammad Pirzada as the working president of the party’s Gujarat unit, while Congress president Jagdish Thakor reached out to the minorities with a Congress catchphrase that the party believed in the minorities having the first right over the country’s resources.The AAP, which has also held a roadshow in minority areas of Ahmedabad, has fielded three Muslim candidates, but for the community, the “connection” is missing.A community leader from Godhra says, “No political leader tried to meet Bilkis Bano to just extend moral support or guidance after the remission was granted to her 11 convicted rapists. None of the non-Muslim leaders of any party spoke against the recent Undhela flogging controversy. Being associated with Muslim issues would dent their own political narratives that have been prepared to counter the BJP’s Hindutva card. In fact, even in pockets with the highest Muslim population, candidates need votes of the Hindus to win, and for parties, the calculations are based on cutting their losses.”Socio-political activist Zuber Gopalani says Muslim voters feel “no enthusiasm” ahead of the Assembly polls as political parties increasingly appear to mimic each other. He says, “The community is undecided this time… Initially, AAP’s entry had raised hopes of an alternative, but frankly, Arvind Kejriwal’s emphasis on religious symbolism and religion-laced comments have left Muslims confused. So, at this moment, we have the BJP that is riding on Hindutva and AAP, which appears to be its shadow, with Kejriwal making covert references to (the Hindu) religion, such as demanding pictures of Hindu gods on currency notes. And there is the Congress, which is nowhere to be seen, nor has it done anything substantial to endear itself to the minorities. In fact, everybody knows that their leaders jump to the BJP at the first available opportunity.”An activist from Godhra, requesting anonymity, says the Muslim community, which has largely stood by sitting five-term MLA C K Raulji, has “lost faith” in him, after the remission to the Bilkis convicts. Raulji was part of the Jail Advisory Committee (JAC) that recommended the release. The activist says, “When C K Raulji joined the BJP in 2017, his winning margin fell to just 258 votes. It is because he betrayed the faith that Muslims had placed in him, not only by joining the BJP, but by also making acerbic statements… Now, after being part of a panel that granted the remission, he has even made statements in which he has invoked the caste of the convicts to defend them. That’s his mindset.”For BJP leaders, not fielding Muslim candidates is a “non-issue”. A senior BJP leader said, “According to the party ideology, we work for all communities. Anyone can approach government leaders at any time. The party does not feel the need to field Muslim candidates as appeasement is not part of PM Narendra Modi’s agenda — we have been saying this even in our campaign. Where we have support from the Muslim community, voters vote for development and not for a candidate belonging to their religion.”According to Gopalani, while the AAP promises of schools and healthcare is attractive, their party is “too new”. He says, “We are yet to see how well they can carry forward good governance in the years ahead, especially education and healthcare, as the AAP is now venturing into unchartered territories. The promises are attractive but that cannot be the sole reason to choose them, although, one cannot deny that some voters might be attracted to vote for AAP, thereby denting the Congress numbers.”The absence of strong Muslim political leaders in the state is hurting the community. Gopalani, a close aide of Ahmed Patel, says, “The community is especially angered by the Congress because it has actively pitted strong community leaders against each other and divided the voices that would otherwise come out in unison… One would think that the presence of more parties and candidates offers a choice, but it’s actually detrimental, as it would completely dilute the minority votes and make them ineffective. There is a dearth of powerful Muslim leaders, who could assure someone seeking justice, and also deliver on the assurance using their legislative clout, especially after the departure of Congress leader Ahmed Patel… The community feels this political void. There is no face, no name, and no person to turn to in a crisis, and this is true for all parties. Forget representation in the Assembly, minority leaders — be it Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or from any other religion — were not even part of the recent function to release the Congress manifesto.”The AIMIM, which has been pitching itself as defenders of Muslims and Dalits in this Assembly election — even adopting the slogan of ‘Jai Bheem, Jai Meem’ — has 11 Muslims and two Dalits in the fray. In AIMIM’s campaigns, chief Asaduddin Owaisi and his Gujarat head Sabir Kabliwala have been invoking the Bilkis Bano remission, political neglect of Zakia Jafri, Uniform Civil Code, and the Disturbed Areas Act. But, the party has steadily lost elected representatives since their much-hyped victories in the local civic body elections in February 2021. Those who have quit the party blame a lack of transparency and indecisiveness of the Gujarat leadership. Additionally, some within the party-fold also opine that merely focusing on Muslim or Dalit issues does not tend to work out on the ground.For Muslims, AIMIM also does not have an unique appeal. “The party has no understanding of local issues. Some might vote for their candidates purely on religious grounds, but it lacks the stability and presence to make an impact… Currently, the Muslim voter is waiting for that elusive leader from the community in the state, who is nowhere in sight,” the activist adds.
The postal voting for government employees on election duty in Ahmedabad, which includes the personnel of the Gujarat police, home guards and others, will be held on November 25 and 26.The polling will be held from 9 am to 5 pm on both days. In Ahmedabad district, arrangements have been made at police headquarters Shahibaug for the city police. Similar facilities have also been created at Krushnagar.For rural police in the district, facilities have been created at Makarba, Dholka and Viramgam.Meanwhile, a day before the postal voting, Isudan Gadhvi, the chief ministerial candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), took to Twitter to remind the state government employees about the party’s promises, including bringing back the old pension scheme, increasing the pay grade of various government workers and regularisation of various temporary and outsourced workers.
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
The community has around 60 lakh eligible voters.Ahmedabad: A top body representing the Maldhari community, who are involved in cattle-rearing in Gujarat, has urged its members to vote against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the next month's state Assembly elections for "failing" to fulfil their long-pending demands.The call was given by the Gujarat Maldhari Mahapanchayat two days ago. Of the nearly 70 lakh members of the community living in parts of Gujarat, around 60 lakh are eligible voters, said Nagji Desai, spokesperson of Maldhari Mahapanchayat."Maldharis across Gujarat are being harassed for the last one-and-a-half years and many cases were also filed against them. Many of our long-pending demands are still unfulfilled under the BJP rule. To teach that party a lesson, the panchayat appeals to our community to vote against BJP this time," Mr Desai said.He was referring to the cases lodged in different cities against Maldharis for letting their cattle roam on roads, which led to accidents and even deaths of commuters.In a statement, Mr Desai also thanked the Congress and its state unit president Jagdish Thakor for supporting the community.Some of the main demands, which were not fulfilled yet, include building exclusive localities for Maldharis to live and keep their cattle to avoid accidents, withdrawing cases against the community and giving status of a farmer to cattle-rearers."Election is the right time to show our might and make our voice heard. After holding consultation with senior community members, the Mahapanchayat gives this call of voting against BJP candidates. If the party's candidate is a Maldhari, then voters are free to choose whom to vote for," said Mr Desai.Voting for 182 seats of Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases - on December 1 and 5.The Gujarat BJP has not issued any statement in connection with the Maldhari community's call against it.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comMaldharis in Gujarat are up in arms against the BJP ever since the party-led government, brought a bill in April that was aimed at stopping the movement of stray cattle on roads in urban areas. The bill had proposed strict punishment for those found guilty of letting their cattle roam on roads.The Gujarat High Court had criticised the government over the stray cattle menace in the city and asked it to take corrective measures to resolve the issue. However, following a state-wide protest by the Maldhari community, the bill was finally withdrawn in September after Governor Acharya Devvrat returned it for reconsideration.Featured Video Of The DayHave Rahul Gandhi's Looks Become A Poll Issue?
The BJP controls zilla and taluka panchayats and gram panchayats in VaghodiaVaghodia (Gujarat): Two BJP rebels, both pledging to back it if they win and both contesting as independents, are going head to head in this assembly segment, their very support queering the pitch for the ruling party's official candidate.That six-time BJP legislator Madhu Shrivastav, who was replaced by the party's Vadodara district president Ashwin Patel, is one of them makes the saffron party's road to victory in this keenly watched constituency a steeper uphill trudge.Against Shrivastav, whose exclusion from the BJP's electoral fray was a surprise for many, is Dharmendra Sinh Vaghela. In more similarities, the two former party colleagues and opponents have the image of being 'dabangs' (fearless) and 'bahubalis' (strongmen) in the constituency.Though the BJP has put all its might behind its official candidate Patel, the prospect of a vote split is real. The relatively low profile Patel will be fighting the two party rebels and candidates of the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in a multi-cornered contest on December 5 in the second phase of the elections."The BJP is more important than the candidate and we are focussing on ensuring the victory of the official candidate," Utsavbhai Parikh, general secretary of the BJP Kisan Morcha in Vadodara, told PTI.Confident of victory, he said of the 65 per cent Kshatriya voters in Vaghodia, 50 per cent are committed BJP voters."We will suffer 10 to 15 per cent (loss) in terms of votes due to the presence of the rebels. But we are confident of winning," Parikh said.The BJP has also inducted Yogpal Singh Gohil, a well connected Kshatriya leader from the Congress and son of former party legislator Upendra Singh Gohil.In 2017, Madhubhai, as Shrivastav is called in the constituency, defeated Vaghela, known as Bapu, by 10,315 votes. Vaghela then too was a BJP rebel.Five years ago, the Congress did not field a candidate from here and left the seat for the Bharatiya Tribal party (BTP) with whom it had an alliance.Vaghela benefited as a majority of the Kshatriya voters, a deciding factor in Vaghodia, went to him due to the Congress' absence from the poll arena.This time might be different.Shrivastav, who has won six times since 1995, and Vaghela have said they will be with the BJP if they win.The BJP controls zilla and taluka panchayats and gram panchayats in Vaghodia and its leaders say the party's grassroots strength is enough to see it through the hustings.The Congress, on its part, appears upbeat and is hoping to derive maximum advantage from the fractured poll situation.Satyajit Gaikwad, the party's candidate and former MP from Vadodara, said Madhu Shrivastav polled 60,000 votes in 2017 but 1.10 lakh ballots went against him.'The Congress will cash in on the split in BJP votes and the AAP will get just around 1,500 votes this time,' he claimed.The sense on the ground, he said, is that the constituency wants a change this time. The presence of the two rebels will hit the BJP more in his view."Household incomes have depleted, unemployment is on the rise and the pinch of inflation is too much for the people to bear. This angst of the people will be reflected through the ballot," Gaikwad said.Deepak Shrivastav, Madhu Shrivastav's son and a two-time member of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, said his father is a "people's man" and is sure to emerge victorious for the seventh time."(Poll) symbol doesn't matter, people's work and their welfare is important for him and he will continue to do so. He stood as an independent because people wanted him to contest and they have assured him a win. They are angry as the BJP has not re-nominated him," he said.Madhu Shrivastav's supporters point out that Vaghodia was a Congress bastion breached by him in 1995 when he contested as an independent and won.The BJP had then invited him to join the party. Since then, the veteran legislator has worked to expand the BJP base in the constituency, they said.Patel, a Shrivastav supporter said, is not widely known in Vaghodia, one of the Assembly segments of the Vadodara parliamentary seat and even lost the zilla panchayat election.The party also has to tackle the disillusionment of locals, many of whom cite persisting problems such as power outages and lack of infrastructure."This is a taluka place but even some villages in Gujarat are better developed than Vaghodia. We have the Parul University and Muni Seva Ashram Hospital as well as the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation here, but there are security issues as CCTVs don't function and frequent power cuts leave streets dark after sunset," said a shopkeeper in his early 30s, wary about giving his name.As the campaigning hots up, fruit vendors Shabbir and Sarfaraz Malik said the main fight will be between Patel and Madhu Shrivastav.Mitesh Patel, a member of Vaghela's campaign team, said his man is in a better position in the 2022 polls after losing by 10,000 votes in 2017."We are focusing on Kshatriya votes. Bapu has varied businesses in Vadodara and provides employment to locals. Many Kshatriya community members from the BJP Yuva Morcha and Mahila Morcha are joining Bapu,' he said.The AAP doesn't figure prominently in the electoral discourse in the constituency.Seven candidates are in the fray in Vaghodia, located on the outskirts of Vadodara city. It is an industrial belt and a semi-urban area.There are 2.46 lakh voters. The dominant social groups are the Kshatriyas, Patels and OBCs are dominant social groups. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Log Party are also contesting.About 60 per cent of the population in the constituency is into farming and 40 per cent in the industrial sector.Narayan Patel, Vaghodia taluka Congress president, said there is unrest among the poor over price rise and GST on basic items like milk and this will reflect in voting.There are 10 Assembly seats in Vadodara district - Vaghodia, Savli, Karjan, Padra, Dabhoi (all rural areas), Raopura, Sayajiganj, Majalpur, Akota and Vadodara City (all urban segments).PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comExcept Padra, all seats are with the BJP.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayOn Shraddha Walkar's 2020 Letter, BJP's "Appeasement" Charge In Maharashtra
From waving at villagers from the sunroof of her SUV to riding pillion at a motorbike rally, Congress MLA Geniben Thakor (46) has her own star value in the Bhabhar taluka of Vav Assembly constituency in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district.“I am in my pihar (maternal village) today,” Thakor says in the village of Mera on Thursday morning as a crowd of women, not interested in what the other leaders at the event had to say, suddenly stand up and rush to listen to what their “daughter and sister” had to say. The firebrand Congress MLA plays to the gallery and goes on to say, “Vote for your daughter. I do not need to give a bhashan (lecture) about the BJP or the Congress in Mera village. Either I win or lose but I am always with you in your happiness or sorrow. There is not a single family in the village I have not personally reached out to during the Covid pandemic.”“She is our daughter, the one who has made us proud,” says 80-year-old Chelaba Thakor, a villager who welcomed Geniben. Rekha Thakor, 15, a Class 9 dropout, remembers seeing Geniben a few months ago for the inauguration of the government high school.The MLA is lauded for being one the few vocal Congress legislators during Assembly sessions and for not shying away from raising her voice on women-related issues. She lost the 2012 election to Shankar Chaudhary of the BJP from Vav by more than 72,000 votes but defeated him five years later by a margin of over 6,600 votes. This time, Chaudhary has been shifted to the neighbouring Tharad Assembly constituency and the ruling party has fielded Swarupji Thakor.Geniben, who is contesting her fourth Assembly election, appeals to the villagers about ensuring that Thakor votes do not get divided. “When two candidates from the same community are contesting the election, be careful that the community (Thakor) votes do not get split. You might, under society or community pressure, agree to give five votes to one candidate and three to the other from the family. I am requesting you to not fall under this trap,” says the legislator.Village after village the Congress leader makes a similar appeal. “In 2012 too, the same thing happened. Chandulal (Thakkar) contested on an NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) ticket and was in the third position with over 30,000 votes. He did not win but wasted 20,000 votes from the community and 10,000 votes went to the BJP. If these votes had gone to me, I would not have lost,” says Geniben.Accusing the BJP of attempting to split Thakor votes, she adds, “The BJP had many leaders from our community but giving the mandate (to Swarupji Thakor) overnight is only for the sake of contesting the election. He has nothing to do with the BJP or elections but only to split votes.”Gujarat State Co-operative Agri and Rural Development Bank member Kesardan P Gadhvi, accompanying Geniben on her campaign trail in Bhabhar, joins in. “Let us support and make Geniben and Jagdish Thakor (Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee President) strong by standing with them. Let us not divide the community votes into two and show them that Thakors are not that fool,” he says.
With only a week left for the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), a new and fourth video of jailed AAP leader Satyendar Jain allegedly having a conversation with the recently suspended superintendent of Tihar jail is doing rounds on social media.In the purported video, Jain is seen sitting inside his cell with some men and a fourth man enters while the others leave. In the 1.17-minute clip, Jain is seen having conversations with the person for about one minute.According to officials, the man in the video was Superintendent Ajeet Kumar who was posted in jail no.7. Earlier this month, Ajeet Kumar was suspended by Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar for allegedly giving special and VIP treatment to Jain.As soon as the video emerged, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already trained guns on the AAP and Jain over his “videos” of getting special treatment in jail.“A new video of AAP’s jailed minister Satyendar Jain is going online and Jain is having conversations with Superintendent Ajeet Kumar who was recently suspended by the Chief Secretary for giving him special treatment,” said a BJP leader.“Tihar Jail Superintendent reporting Satyendar Jain Sir. This is @ArvindKejriwal model of Governance,” BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Bagga tweeted quoting the video.About four videos of Jain have so far been leaked online within a week. In an earlier video, Jain was allegedly getting a “massage” inside the jail. The AAP, however, called the video as “physiotherapy” not “massage”.Another video of him having raw food, as per his religious belief, had also surfaced online.Deputy Chief Minister M Manish Sisodia said the BJP is losing elections in both Gujarat and MCD. “They don’t have anything to show to the public. They will release more such video clips to garner votes,” he said.The MCD election is slated to be held on December 4.
AHMEDABAD: With polls around the corner, defection is a common occurrence in political parties. But switching gears to join camps of independent candidates is the new game plan this assembly election. Vadodara district is in the limelight following two strong BJP rebels contesting as independents on two seats. While Dinesh Patel aka Dinumama is contesting from the Padra seat, two other rebels – Dharmendrasinh Vaghela and Madhu Shrivastava – jumped in the fray from the Waghodia constituency. Both Patel and Waghela have workersfrom the BJP joining their camps in good numbers. It is Patel, who has been with both the Congress and the BJP, who seems to be hurting BJP the most, as senior party workers ranging from Padra taluka panchayat members to Padra municipality councillors joined him. Even persons holding prominent posts in the BJP have joined hands with Patel. Many young BJP members joined Vaghela after they were issued notices by the party for working for him. “They had been working for us for a while. We were hoping for a ticket but didn’t get one so Vaghela is contesting as an independent,” said an aide.
Union home minister Amit Shah, who has been campaigning extensively in Gujarat, is confident that the performance of successive BJP governments in the state and the growing affection for Prime Minister Narendra Modi will help BJP score an easy win there. In an exclusive conversation with TOI’s Diwakar and Akhilesh Singh on the campaign trail, he dismissed AAP’s challenge as exaggerated, insisting that Congress continues to be the main challenger but is headed for yet another defeat. Excerpts:What is your assessment on the Gujarat elections?■ The BJP is on a very strong wicket. We shall break all our past records – be it the number of seats or vote percentage – and come to office once again with a thumping majority. You recorded your highest tally – 127 – and highest vote share – 49. 85% – in 2002, the first election fought under Narendra Modi as CM. You hope to surpass that after having been in office for 27 long years?■ Yes. BJP had expressed similar confidence the last time but things did not turn out that way. Congress gave you a real scare and your tally dropped to 99…■ The last polls were an aberration. They were held in the shadow of three intense caste-based movements backed by Congress, which had, working through NGOs it funded, stealthily prepared the background for two years for the campaigns to create divisions among castes. The trick worked in the immediate run and had an impact on elections. But the antagonism that was manufactured and introduced in Gujarat was alien to Gujarat’s ethos. People quickly saw through the divide-and-win game plan. As a result, we won all the 26 Lok Sabha seats just two years later. BJP has since won most of the elections in the state. We hold 90% of seats in local body polls. Today, the party is in office in all districts and all municipal corporations. This clearly shows that the impact of the divisive politics that Congress introduced has worn off. What happened in 2017 was an exception, it could never be the norm in Gujarat. What else has changed since 2017 to make you so confident?■ A lot of issues that BJP consistently raised since its Jana Sangh days in the 1950s, and which resonated with large sections in Gujarat, have been resolved by Narendra Modi’s government. The end of the special status for J&K, removal of Section 35A, construction of Ram Mandir, ban on triple talaq, and beginning of the process to enact a Uniform Civil Code by setting up a committee and initiatingtalks: all this has found huge traction with the voter here. There is also appreciation of the Modi government’s effective management of Covid-19. Administering 230 crore doses of vaccines is no small feat and this is acknowledged by the people. Then, we have also ensured food security for 80 crore people who had lost their jobs and means of livelihood during the two years of the pandemic. All this has positively impacted the voter in Gujarat. I have personally sensed this on the ground. Our economy is stronger today and we have jumped from 11th to 5th spot in the ranking of global economies. This has also created a favourable impact for the BJP in a state like Gujarat where commerce and industry matters a lot and which is home to a large number of MSMEs. Few will dispute your success in turning Gujarat into a laboratory of your ideology. PM Modi’s popularity is obviously a big factor, while BJP’s organisation here is a well-oiled machine. Your advantages are evident. But what about the fatigue factor and the inevitable yearning for change? It felled the once-powerful CPM government in West Bengal.■ Yes, change is inevitable. It is the way of life and nobody can stop it from happening. But a party can also evolve to accommodate the desire for change. BJP consistently innovates and adapts to accommodate the yearning for change. In fact, the party has very often been the trigger for change. We keep carrying out changes. This gives people the confidence that the party is alive to their aspirations. Why would they seek to change a government which keeps improvising and innovating to satisfy their changing needs? So, you claim the BJP, despite being in power for close to three decades, is still seen as a change agent?■ Yes. BJP is a living organism, it keeps changing. That is what every party needs to do in order to be relevant, in order to survive. Our foundational beliefs never change, but our manner of working keeps changing according to the needs of the people. Our governments also keep innovating and have carried out multi-dimensional and dynamic changes in order to be more effective. Did you drop Vijay Rupani for the same reason?■ No. After Narendrabhai, we have had three chief ministers in Gujarat. First was Anandiben. We have a rule in our party that a member can be a part of electoral politics until the age of 75. And, accordingly, Anandiben was relieved from her post when she was 74 years and 10 months old. She has now been tasked with a different responsibility. … Vijaybhai also completed his five years. Then came Bhupendrabhai. We are fighting elections under his leadership and he will continue as the CM after the polls. We don’t dump people. There is always uncertainty on whether BJP will continue with the incumbent after the polls. In some cases, you did not declare your choice before the polls while faces were projected in other instances. What has Bhupendra Patel, a first-term MLA, done in such a short time that BJP has decided to retain him in the job and the Narendra-Bhupendra combo is being projected as the double engine of growth?■ In the one to one-and-ahalf years that he has been in office, Bhupendrabhai has followed all the norms that Narendrabhai had set. He has speeded up Gujarat’s development while upholding the party’s ideology. The results of his work can already be seen; even at the grassroots level. Gujarat’s share in overall exports has risen to 30%. Among the states, it has the largest share of MSMEs and startups registered in the past one year. It has successfully implemented the ‘One nation, one ration card’ scheme. The soft-spoken CM has also displayed firmness in dealing with illegal encroachments. And, there has been no controversy about him. Would you agree that playing the challenger is easier? When you are the incumbent, you are forced to play defence.■ As I had told TOI at the time of the UP polls, antiincumbency is relative. It does not apply to all situations and is dependent on how you have performed in office. We have seen parties winning polls because of pro-incumbency sentiments that their performance generated. And with the type of governance we have provided in Gujarat – 24-hour electricity in every house, road connectivity, business investment, FDI, and high export volume – we have no reason to fear anti-incumbency. The term anti-incumbency was coined during Congress rule for its listless performance. However, under BJP, we have seen the emergence of the concept of ‘pro-incumbency’ and that is the dominant sentiment in Gujarat. Isn’t the Morbi disaster a blot on the state’s performance?■ It was a heart-wrenching tragedy. We all – from PM Narendra Modi to the grassroots BJP worker – feel very sad for the victims. However, we shouldn’t rush to a conclusion just because an election is underway. An administrative inquiry is going on. The high court has also taken cognisance and asked Gujarat Human Rights Commission to look into the matter. The Supreme Court is also cognisant and has shifted all petitions to the HC. Let us wait for the HC’s order. I can assure you that the Gujarat government will accept whatever decision the court takes. There is something puzzling about your campaign. Congress is seen as a reluctant warrior. Its senior leaders are not even campaigning. And yet PM Modi and you keep attacking Congress…■ What you said is true of Congress across the country. Congress has been adrift. It neither has issues nor leadership or a programme. It is a confused party. Yet, the fact remains that Congress has always had a base in Gujarat. Since 1990, they have got at least 30% vote share in every election. That’s why we cannot take them lightly in Gujarat. Our fight is with them. A consistent vote share of 30% translates into one-third of the electorate. Does this not reflect on your failure to win over sections of the society?■ There was a time when the entire country wasn’t with us. Now a large section of the population believes in our vision. We hope that those who are still not supporting us would come around after seeing our work. People say the ‘Gujarat model’ is just hype, a marketing trick: it has only glitter, no substance…■ You can’t see the substance if you have blinkers on. You will be able to see if you take off your goggles of biases and prejudices. What about the criticism that there has been excessive focus on highways and the industrial base, and the social sector has not got adequate attention?■ Another baseless criticism by those blinded by bias and who don’t care to even look at the figures. Gujarat is among the top three states on all parameters. Going back to 2017, the BJP performed poorly in tribal-dominated areas. Are you expecting an improvement this time?■ I am convinced we will do better. . . In every election, we have improved our vote share from tribal areas. And this time I am convinced that we will succeed. There is appreciation in those areas of the way we managed the pandemic; how we have expanded infrastructure and welfare benefits right to the doorsteps of individuals. I am sure people will acknowledge this. The alienation of Patels was another factor. Have they come back to the fold?■ As I said, after 2017 we’ve had two elections. One Lok Sabha, where all sections voted for us and we swept. We have also won the polls forlocal bodies. This could not have been possible without the support of all sections. Everyone has understood that what Congress did in the couple of years preceding 2017 was low-level politics which resulted in the disruption of mutual harmony. Is Hardik Patel’s coming to BJP a testament to this?■ It is not about an individual. It is about the masses… That explains everything. It is said that your principal rival is AAP and you are attacking Congress because you want to shore them up so that there is a split in anti-BJP votes.■ Every party has the right to fight an election. But if you look at Gujarat’s political history, it has largely been a bipolar polity and a third party has never been successful. Be it Chimanbhai Patel, Shankarsinh Vaghela, or Keshubhai Patel, Gujarat has always seen a two-party fight. I feel that the battle is between BJP and Congress. Congress has a lot of baggage and so it is easy for you to blunt their attack. AAP is a new player in Gujarat and is free of that handicap. Besides, a new player that also casts itself as an underdog has its own appeal. Do you agree?■ This is a never-ending debate. It seems you have made up your mind. I cannot convince you if you have already reached a conclusion and are looking for statements to fit that. Let us wait for the votes to be counted, doodh ka doodh aur paani ka paani ho jayega. AAP has unleashed a bagful of freebies. This has worked for them in Delhi and Punjab. Don’t you think this can have an impact in Gujarat as well?■ They made similar promises in Uttarakhand and in Uttar Pradesh; in Maharashtra too. People are not fools. Gujarat has a budget of Rs 2. 42 lakh crore and the cost of implementing the promises that have been made would come to Rs 3. 6 lakh crore. Do you really think that people cannot see through this? They are smart, trust me. Does your confidence have to do with the ethos of Gujarat which values industry and enterprise?■ I don’t want to get into a meandering debate on this. But the fact is that we have given every home in Gujaratelectricity, toilet and gas cylinder. We have given every poor home an Ayushman Bharat card with health coverage up to Rs 5 lakh. And we have also given free rations as help during Covid-19. As against this, people make promises which are unrealistic and can never be kept. Making promises is one thing but what is crucial for winning people’s trust is whether you keep them. Our track record speaks for itself. There are reports about dissension over distribution of BJP tickets. So much so that you had to camp here to firefight.■ This is not new. But I don’t call it firefighting. Reaching out to a party colleague who is unhappy is not firefighting. It is an act of solidarity and camaraderie for someone who has been with you for years. It is my duty to hear them and assuage their feelings. It takes about 20 years to build a dedicated party worker. If a few of them are unhappy that their claim was not heeded, then it is our duty to put a hand on their shoulder and share their grief. And this is what takes BJP ahead. Many people say that the perception about BJP being the overwhelming frontrunner has its flipside too. It will lead to complacency and low turnout.■ Our booth-level presence is the strongest in Gujarat and our workers maintain constant rapport with people. The people of Gujarat have always participated in elections. I am confident that we will have a good turnout as in all elections, and BJP will score a massive win. Then why give a ticket to Payal Kukrani, whose father was convicted in the Naroda Patia violence?■ But what’s wrong about this? She’s a well-educated young woman; a doctor. She has been a hard-working member of the party. True, her father was convicted and has served his sentence. But what has that got to with the daughter? Does she not have a life of her own? You have pronounced her guilty because she is someone’s daughter. But you would never criticise AAP or NCP for not removing their ministers even when they are behind bars. Isn’t it a case of double standards? You have campaigned extensively, what is the feature of this election that has struck you the most?■ The nation has witnessed good governance under Narendrabhai’s leadership in the last eight years. Narendrabhai’s leadership has won laurels and glory for the country. Simultaneously, BJP’s ideological commitments have also been fulfilled. This has had a very positive impact on the people. Modiji was always loved by the people. But I can seethat the affection for him has grown because of the way he has stabilised the economy and strengthened national security. This is true of the entire country. But people here share a special bond with him because he is from Gujarat. His popularity is at its peak and will help BJP score a record win. What is your assessment of Himachal Pradesh?■ We are coming to office with a thumping majority. Over the years, BJP has made many promises in its manifesto. Some of them have been fulfilled, but others, like the Uniform Civil Code, remain on paper. Even CAA is in limbo because the rules have not been framed.■ You are mistaken. CAA is now the law of the land. It has to be implemented and we will do that… We just have to formulate the rules which we could not do because of the pandemic. We shall start working on this, now that the Covid situation has eased. As far as UCC is concerned, it is not just a part of our manifesto since our inception, the Constituent Assembly also directed the legislatures to enact one at the appropriate time. We are alive to our commitment and the task assigned by the framers of the Constitution. Your decision to ban the PFI has led to a backlash of sorts. We have seen serious terror plots being sought to be executed in Coimbatore and Mangalore.■ All challenges to internal security need to be strongly dealt with. We need to proceed against all such dangers, and while we need to analyse all the factors involved, the fear of risks should not deter us from taking on the threat itself. PFI, in many states, had become a danger to our unity and diversity, and our internal security. We watched them push our youth towards terrorism. I believe that the decision to ban it was correct and was taken at the right time. And if there is going to be any reaction, we have all the means and the intent to quell that. What is your assessment of the situation in J&K? When can we expect assembly polls?■ The entire world knows J&K is in very good shape. So far, investments worth Rs 56,000 crore – the highestever – have been committed in the state. Some 30,000 sarpanches have been elected and are working on local body polls. The roots of democracy have spread and gone deeper. People belonging to the backward classes who had been denied benefits available to their counterparts in other states have now been availing of reservations. Women have got their rights. All languages of J&K have got due recognition. And, for the first time, the public is getting a taste of what development actually means. As far as elections are concerned, the Election Commission has finished delimitation, grievances have been redressed. Now, constituencies have been delineated. Electoral rolls, which were riddled with irregularities, are being checked. The EC will announce the dates once the exercise is over. Very often, the judiciary does not seem to be in sync with what the government considers to be imperative for national security.■ There have been such instances. In our Constitution, the roles and responsibilities of the legislature and the judiciary have been very clearly defined and demarcated. We are keeping a close watch on the developments. We shall see how things move. We hope that everyone, including the judiciary, works within their remit. You have been cast as someone who is trying to impose Hindi. Regional parties have attacked you for this. However, you have also argued for regional languages to be used as a medium of education, including for higher and technical courses. What exactly is your position?■ We have championed the use of all Indian languages since the time of Jana Sangh. I am of the firm opinion that we have been able to utilise only 5% of the country’s intellect and talent as a section considers English as the only suitable medium of education and this prevents large sections from accessing quality education and training. The argument that a child will not get good education if he is not taught in English is rooted in misconception, steeped in bias and contrary to the findings of pedagogical studies. I have nothing against English as a language. But it is established that a child learns better and faster if he is taught in his mother tongue. If he is forced to switch to another language because of the hierarchy drawn by elites, his learning process is disrupted. We should be proud of our languages… We have the oldest language, the oldest grammar and the oldest literature. As I said, I am not opposed to English, but we have an excellent pool of Indian languages, which should not be wasted. It is directly linked to the country’s progress and growth.
With a week left for the MCD polls, Delhi environment minister and AAP state convenor Gopal Rai speaks to The Indian Express about the party’s promises, BJP’s allegations among other things.What is your strategy heading into the MCD polls?All our focus is on the ‘Kejriwal ki sarkar, Kejriwal ka parshad’ campaign. Under this, we are focusing on five aspects. Nukkad sabhas are being held by star campaigners at prominent crossroads. Manish ji is going around, I am going on the ground and interacting with the public. We have witnessed a turnout of around 500-1,000 people in every ward. A second round of door-to-door campaigning, booth samvaad, and dance for democracy are being held across all wards to engage with voters.The AAP campaign is centred around Kejriwal but he is in another state (Gujarat)…Kejriwal is everywhere. He will be here in person in the last week of campaigning, holding roadshows.Your party workers, including MLAs, are telling people they will lose electricity connections if they vote for BJP? But the power department comes under the Delhi government.No, a discussion is going on that if BJP comes to power, it will stop MCD elections. The BJP has sent out this message that they will not conduct civic polls in Delhi and will implement the system that was in existence earlier. The MCD ran the city earlier, so this has created fear among people, and gossip is doing the rounds that if their party comes to power, it will stop the benefits people are availing under the AAP government.Have the recent videos of AAP minister Satyendar Jain from inside Tihar impacted your campaign?The BJP was also in the same mode during the Assembly elections too. Back then, AAP’s key agenda was to talk about the positive work of the government, and we are going on with the same positive campaign.As for these allegations, ask any BJP spokesperson what they said 10 days ago, they won’t be able to answer. The party has nothing to show for their performance over 15 years, so they come up with allegations every day.
Reacting to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’ remarks that the BJP “taught rioters a lesson in 2002”, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday said that the lesson the party taught was that “rapists of Bilkis Bano” will be freed” by them. Owaisi was campaigning for the party’s Vejalpur candidate in Juhapura. “I want to tell India’s Union Home Minister, that the lesson you taught in 2002 was that Bilkis’ rapists will be freed by you. The lesson you taught was that you will free the murderers of Bilkis’ three-year-old daughter..You also taught us that Ahsan Jafri can be killed… which all lessons of yours will we remember Amit Shah sahab?..Remember the seat of power is snatched from all. Drunk with power, India’s home minister is saying they taught a lesson… Amit Shah sahab, what lesson did you teach that Delhi communal riots occurred?…,” said Owaisi.Meanwhile, reminding Juhapura residents of the 2002 Gujarat riots’ violence, and admitting that he too, in his youth, had seen Babri Masjid being taken, said that he does not want to see a similar future for the next generation. “Juhapura is like a wound in my chest. I came in 2002 with a team of 25-30 doctors. A hospital was ready and we asked them to please give us the hospital so that the doctors can work there. The doctors worked for 3 days. There were several who had come with wounds and our doctors from Hyderabad had treated them… In my youth, I saw Babri Masjid’s bricks coming down. I don’t want our kids to see such destruction. We need to fight for them, ensure there is peace for them,” said Owaisi.Campaigning for the Vejalpur candidate Zainabbibi Sheikh, Owaisi promised, “If you elect Vejalpur’s AIMIM candidate Zainabbibi Sheikh then a new TP scheme will be approved in this area.”Cautioning against dividing votes by voting for independent candidates, Owaisi said, “These people who are contesting as independent candidates, if you give them your vote, they won’t be able to win.” Owaisi’s statement comes after an AIMIM corporator —Suhana Mansuri — has chosen to contest as an independent after AIMIM denied her ticket from Vejalpur. “If you give your vote to Congress or AAP, that too will be wasted,” added Owaisi, while also attacking BJP for ignoring “this area (of Vejalpur).”Stating that BJP has been winning since the past 27 years because of “incompetency of Congress for the past 27 years,” Owaisi went on to attack AAP, saying “This Delhi CM is 2013’s Narendra Modi… he is following his footsteps, he is also a Hindutva ideology believer.”