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".
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".
"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
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.
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.
After 19 years of being an unsuccessful politician, Rahul Gandhi, dubbed as the “Pappu” of Indian politics, is beginning to be viewed differently as he walks the dusty bylanes from Kanyakumari to Kashmir on his Bharat Jodo Yatra.I went to see the yatra in Maharashtra and most of the people I talked to, driving 250 km from Aurangabad to Akola, and later following the yatra in Buldhana district, had, to my surprise, a positive word to say about the yatra. These were the aam aadmi and the aam aurat: a retired teacher, a fruit seller, a housewife, a cobbler, most of them in small towns and wayside villages. They all expressed a similar sentiment: “Paidal chalkar abhi tak humare paas koi nahin aaya hai. Humaen pasand aa raha hai.”(Nobody has come to us on foot like this and we like it.)A polio-hit retired government servant, 74, came from Nagpur with his son and daughter-in-law—old Congressis — to be part of the yatra for a few hours “to encourage Rahul”. An assistant professor from Amravati joined the yatra in Shegaon and said the time had now come “to work at the ground level because the opposition is blanked out.”Rahul talked about “berozgari, mehngai and nafrat,” (unemployment, inflation, hate) as he has done in the past, but it is resonating with many more today. With growing economic distress, some say they identify more with what Rahul “had been saying all along”.It is not so much Rahul Gandhi who has changed — as his comments on Savarkar illustrated; he had criticised in Maharashtra someone who is seen as an icon in the state.Nor do Rahul’s speeches set the house on fire. In a way, they are reminiscent of Rajiv Gandhi in the early years. In his campaign speeches in the 1983 state elections in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka — which the Congress lost — Rajiv used to painstakingly explain the value of hard work and abstract concepts of political freedom to puzzled audiences. In his speech at Shegaon, Rahul, too, dwelt philosophically, and at length, on the need to shed fear, and the linkages it had with hatred and violence.Significantly, it is the people’s perception of Rahul that is undergoing a change. There is only one reason for it, and person after person mentioned it. Rahul Gandhi had come to them on foot, walking 25 km a day. He need not have undertaken the yatra; after all, he is from a “shahi gharana”, they said. And having embarked on a mammoth journey of 3500 km, he had not run away — but stayed the course. It is this which has caught the imagination of a section of the people.Senior Congress leaders say he is like a “man possessed”, determined to complete the yatra. Given his interest in martial arts over the years, and the daily fitness regimen he reportedly follows, Rahul walks so fast that if you blink, he is gone.As he walks, he is cordoned off by a rope held by a string of policemen to prevent people from entering the walking enclosure. He has two planned “sitting interactions” with individuals or groups and three daily walking “interactions”, all cleared by the party (and they do not allow media persons near him). It is not as if those waiting by the wayside get a chance to exchange a word with him — or he with them.The day I saw him, he walked with Tushar Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, signifying the coming together, once again, of the Gandhi and Nehru-Gandhi families for uniting India.And yet the yatra is rebranding Rahul Gandhi. It is also bestowing on him a legitimacy that was earlier missing. Two years ago, the dissenting group of G-23 in the Congress had questioned his leadership — and his behind-the-scenes decision-making without accountability. Today, without being the president of the party, he is emerging as the unquestioned leader of the Congress.Yet, without a revival of the Congress organisation, Rahul’s yatra will only be a flash in the pan. The elephant in the room, then, is the Congress organisation, admit senior Congress leaders.The curiosity about the yatra, and the visible response to it, has perked up the Congress cadre. It was after 10 years that the Congress organised a meeting in Maharashtra as large as the one in Shegaon, with 150 Congress leaders on the dais, and people pouring in from neighbouring districts and local police putting the estimates at 2-3 lakh jampacked in the 22-acre ground.These meetings will be no more than an exercise in event management unless followed up with an action plan — and painstaking, hard work behind the lights, which the Congress has shown little appetite for. The BJP’s winning streak combines Narendra Modi’s appeal with Amit Shah’s organisational prowess.It goes without saying that the acid test of Rahul’s yatra will lie in winning elections. But, curiously, he has tried to delink the yatra from electoral gains, not to appear power hungry —but this makes little sense. A political party is nothing if it cannot win elections and deliver on its promises.And this is not only about winning 2024 two years away. Nor about the elections due in Maharashtra the same year. All eyes will now be on the imminent 26 municipal corporation polls, including the BMC, that are due in Maharashtra. How will the Congress fare, for instance, in the local polls in Nanded, where Rahul walked for many days and is supposed to have made an impact? Or, in the four other districts of Maharashtra the yatra touched? How does the Congress encash the interest the yatra has rekindled in the party?If the Congress loses the Gujarat elections, which it seems to have given up on, and does not manage to get Himachal Pradesh in its bag, Rahul’s yatra can also lose steam. If the party wins Himachal – which even if it has little to do with Rahul or Bharat Jodo — it will give a further impetus to the yatra.Now that the yatra has strengthened his position, Rahul Gandhi will be watched for how he handles the latest crisis in Rajasthan, with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot going ballistic against his younger colleague Sachin Pilot, calling him a “gaddar” (traitor). It is a pre-emptive strike by Gehlot to prevent Pilot from becoming the CM. By vehemently declaring that Pilot will not become CM, the normally measured CM has virtually threatened a split if the party high command replaces him with Pilot.Rahul Gandhi has to figure out how he redeems his word to Pilot, signals to younger leaders they will be rewarded if they work hard and deliver, weakens the anti-incumbency of four years by projecting a new face in the state like Pilot — and ensure that the Congress government does not fall in Rajasthan.Whatever be the outcome of the Bharat Jodo yatra, Rahul Gandhi has certainly set a new benchmark for political action — that leaders must go back to the people and listen to them. And even in a 24 X 7 image-rich politics, powered by the videoclip, the challenge is the effort they put in when the camera is off.Neerja Chowdhury, Contributing Editor, The Indian Express, has covered the last 10 Lok Sabha elections
The symbiotic relationship between the political class and spiritual gurus is certainly not new to public life in the country. Over the decades, ascetics have often dominated political discourse in the country, have been advisors to politicians of all hues, and have even been public representatives in the form of chief ministers and members of Parliament. The Gujarat assembly election will see as many as four sadhus and saints whose political fate will be decided by the electorate. While the BJP has fielded two sadhus, a lesser-known party, Gujarat Navnirman Sena, has fielded two more for the upcoming poll. Interestingly, the BJP has fielded a monk and a mahant on two seats bagged by the rival Congress in the 2017 assembly election. Shambhuprasad Tundiya, whom the BJP has fielded from the Gadhada seat, is the ‘mahant’ of Sant Shri Savaiyanath Samadhi Sthaan of Zanzarka village in Ahmedabad district. Tundiya has been pitched against Jagdish Chavda for the seat. Tundiya represented the Dasada assembly constituency from 2007 to 2012 on a BJP ticket and was laterelected the BJP Rajya Sabha member from 2014 to 2020. The saffron party picked Tundiya over Atmaram Parmar, the sitting candidate from the seat. Parmar had lost the assembly election from the same seat in 2017, but won it when a by-election was held in 2020 after Pravin Maru, the Congress MLA from Gadhada, quit. The BJP has also fielded a sadhu on the Jambusar seat in the Bharuch district. Devkishoredasji Swami, 50, popularly known as D K Swami, stays at the Nahiyer Swaminarayan Gurukul at Amod in Bharuch district. The sadhu from the Swaminarayan sect is contesting his first election from the seat. The Congress has renominated sitting MLA Sanjay Solanki from this seat. Launched recently, the Gujarat Navnirman Sena has picked sadhus as its candidates for the Chanasma and Radhanpur assembly constituencies of North Gujarat. The Chanasma seat is held by the BJP, while the Congress’s Raghu Desai is the sitting MLA of Radhanpur, having defeated BJP leader Alpesh Thakor in a by-poll in 2019. Atul Dave, the national president of Gujarat Navnirman Sena, says the party’s primary goal is to have a sadhu as the CM of Gujarat. “We also want the cow to be declared the national animal,” he said. “I have been a sadhu for 13 years, and the communal and caste-based politics disillusion me. I am in the fray to usher in a new kind of politics since I have no greed for money or power,” says Shivanand Saraswati, the GNS candidate from the Chanasma seat. The other sadhu, Devendra Kumar Sadhu, fielded from the Radhanpur seat, is keen on “gau raksha”. “I run a cow shelter and hope that people will choose me to ensure the welfare of cows in Radhanpur and surrounding areas,” he said.
Arvind Kejriwal has said the charges against Satyendar Jain are false.New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday came out in defence of his minister Satyendar Jain - the target of the BJP's near-daily accusations of enjoying special perks while in jail awaiting trial - saying that his treatment in prison has been by the book."There were no VVIP facilities in jail for Satyendar Jain. All that he got was according to the jail manual. The man is eating roti, you ask why is he eating roti. What kind of politics is this?" Mr Kejriwal said at an NDTV townhall.Ahead of elections in Gujarat and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), BJP leaders have been posting CCTV videos of Mr Jain's jail cell, which show him eating and receiving massages.The AAP has said that the massages are part of his physiotherapy treatment, and the food has been cleared by a doctor."If you want to see VVIP culture in jails, see what the CBI chargesheet says about when Amit Shah was in jail. They made a deluxe jail for him. In Satyendar Jain's case, the court has said nothing about VVIP culture - Will the court decide or will you or the BJP decide on what is VVIP culture?" Mr Kejriwal said.Amit Shah was arrested and jailed briefly in 2010 over allegations of the extra-judicial killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, an underworld criminal. The case against him was dropped in 2014 for lack of evidence.Satyendar Jain was arrested earlier this year in a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) based on a CBI FIR against him in 2017.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comMr Shah also spoke about the AAP leader's arrest on Thursday, slamming the Arvind Kejriwal government's "shamelessness" in keeping him on as minister and said such instances are "unprecedented" in public life."I had also gone to jail and resigned as a minister. Later, we fought before the court... If there is injustice with you, then approach the court. You can't act such shamelessly," Amit Shah said at an event in Delhi.
Following the BJP’s attack over CCTV footage showing AAP minister Satyendar Jain getting a massage in his prison cell, Delhi Chief Minister and party chief Arvind Kejriwal said the minister was receiving “physiotherapy”, as suggested by his doctors.Responding to BJP’s claims of “abuse of power” and promoting “VVIP culture”, the CM alleged that Union Home Minister Amit Shah received VIP treatment when he was jailed in Gujarat during his time as state minister..@SatyendarJain को Doctor की Recommendation पर Physiotherapy दी जा रही थी, VIP Treatment नहीं।आप पता कर लीजिए जब Amit Shah जी Gujarat के मंत्री थे, JAIL में थे, तो उन्हें क्या VIP Treatment मिल रही थी?वैसी VIP Treatment तो नहीं मिल रही @SatyendarJain को।—CM @ArvindKejriwal pic.twitter.com/jzfKY3JHEJ— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) November 21, 2022 On Saturday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia clarified that Jain was receiving physiotherapy because he had two spinal surgeries. He also alleged that the allegations were the BJP’s attempt to make a mockery of Jain’s illness in a bid to gain an upper hand in elections in Gujarat and Delhi. Sisodia said Jain suffered a disc injury when he fell in jail and the accident pinched his nerve.The AAP leader, Satyendra Jain has been in prison since May as ED registered him in connection with an alleged money laundering case.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in an NDTV exclusive townhall speaks on a range of topics including his predictions on the Gujarat and Delhi civic body polls, pollution control and BJP's corruption allegations on AAP.Here are the highlights from Arvind Kejriwal's interview at a special NDTV townhall.On BJP's Revdi, Corruption AllegationsBJP keeps accusing us of corruption - they have found nothing - not one paisa. They have attacked Manish Sisodia, tore his cushions and mattresses - found not a paisa. Over the last 7 years they have filed 167 cases against AAP leaders - not one has been proved in court. 800 probe agency officers are dedicated only to find a paisa-worth of wrongdoing by AAP. They have found nothing.Modi ji also gives free ki revdi, I also give free ki revdi. While Modi ji does it for the rich, I do it for the janta (public). He is waiving off huge loan defaulters behind closed doors, is not free ki revdi? I do it openly for the benefit of the people.Providing good schools and hospitals is not free ki revdi ... such acts are called "punya" in Hinduism.We used to run free Yoga classes in Delhi. It was stopped for no good reason. Who shuts free Yoga classes, man? It is a sin in Hinduism to stop Yoga classes. You all in the media headline it as "another flashpoint". What am I to do in these Aurangzeb-like orders?On Gujarat, Delhi Civic Body ElectionsI predict a win for the Aam Aadmi Party in the MCD elections. AAP will get 230-plus seats. BJP will get less than 20 seats. For Gujarat too, I feel AAP will win the elections in the state.If you want improvement, please vote for AAP, no matter which party you are from or support. If you vote for BJP, they will waste 5 years fighting with me. So, the choice is yours. Your work will get done if AAP is voted in.Forget the double-engine government - there is a new engine in the market. Vote for the new engine - it works better.In the last 5 years, the Delhi government has given Rs 1 lakh crore to MCD. Please ask the BJP where it all went. All gone. They are so greedy.We have done a lot of work in the past seven years. We have fulfilled our promises, improved education, made mohalla clinics, made hospitals better. We have done a good job in Delhi - whatever people expected of us, we have delivered. We have delivered well on education and healthcare.For MCD elections - we assure we will do a good job there too. We will clean Delhi and also remove the rampant corruption in the MCD.MCD employees don't get salaries for six months. They keep protesting. We will ensure they get paid on the 1st of every month. That is my guarantee.On Satyendar Jain Jail Video LeakThere were no VVIP facilities in jail for Satyendar Jain. All that he got was according to the jail manual. The man is eating roti, you ask why is he eating roti. What kind of politics is this?If you want to see VVIP culture in jails, see what the CBI chargesheet says about when Amit Shah was in jail. They made a deluxe jail for him. In Satyendar Jain's case, the court has said nothing about VVIP culture - Will the court decide or will you or the BJP decide on what is VVIP culture.On Pollution Control In DelhiWe need the intent to do good work. That is all that is needed - neeyat (intent). Today we have reached the moon, what are mountains of garbage in front of that.I have asked for 5 years to clean Yamuna starting 2020 - so I have time till 2025. If I can't do it, then throw me out.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comWe acknowledge the responsibility of stubble burning in Punjab. We will work on it. The farmers need an alternative. They need a solution. If they get one, they will stop burning stubble. The Punjab government will do something. We will do something.Pollution is a national problem - in Bihar, in UP, elsewhere. There is pollution in many places. But the Central government does nothing about it. Nothing will come of it if all they do is play politics over pollution and point fingers. When we approach them, they shut the doors on us.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor Thursday joined the ongoing party-led stir in the state capital demanding the resignation of CPI(M) leader and mayor Arya Rajendran in an alleged recruitment scam. Political observers said Tharoor might have participated in the stir to blunt criticisms that he was not active in anti-Left agitation.Meanwhile, senior Congress legislator and former Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala joined the controversy over Tharoor’s north Kerala political outreach programme, saying that “all leaders have space to work anywhere in the state, but that should be in the party framework.”Tharoor, who returned to the state capital Wednesday evening after his four-day-long north Kerala mission, turned up at the venue of the agitation.While attacking Tharoor for indulging in parallel political activity under the ‘guise’ of a north Kerala tour, senior party legislator and Opposition leader VD Satheesan had indirectly criticised Tharoor’s absence in the state capital at a time the Congress was protesting against the mayor. The protest against the mayor’s alleged bid to recruit CPI(M) cadre to the municipal body has been going on for the last two weeks. On some days, the agitation had turned violent and scores of Congress workers were jailed.Addressing the UDF agitation, Tharoor said: “I was first to demand the resignation of the mayor. Certain people might have forgotten that… Everybody knows that I had raised the demand on November 7. I had adopted a clear stand on this issue and I hope the party would understand it.’’On returning from the north Kerala tour, marked by meetings with IUML leaders, religious heads of minority communities and delivering talks on “Sangh Parivar and challenge to secularism,” Tharoor dropped enough hints that he is to stay in the state politics. “The party would decide whether I should contest the Lok Sabha or the Assembly elections,’’ he told the media.Chennithala, who has been away in Gujarat for the Congress campaign, Thursday joined the issue but tried to strike a balance. “All leaders have space in the party. What is important is to put up a strong fight against the LDF Government’s anti-people policies. None should be instrumental for giving an impression that there is factionalism in the party.’’Referring to former party state chief K Muraleedharan’s allegation that those who are eyeing the CM’s post in the party were behind the Youth Congress decision to withdraw from hosting Tharoor’s last Sunday talk in Kozhikode, Chennithala said: “There is enough time to tailor the mantle of the CM.’’It is widely believed that Tharoor getting active in state politics would create a churning in the upper-caste Hindu Nair camp of the Congress comprising AICC general secretary KC Venugopal, Opposition leader VD Satheesan, former Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and former KPCC president K Muraleedharan. Both Chennithala and Muraleedharan had faced a setback in their careers in recent years after Satheesan rose to the state leadership and Venugopal to the national. The stand of Chennithala and Muraleedharan towards the ‘one-man show’ of Tharoor would be critical in the impending realignment of equations in the party.
AAP chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi’s decision last June to resign as the editor of VTV Gujarati hours before his hugely popular primetime news show “Mahamanthan” was to go on air surprised the channel. His was their trademark show, with soaring TRPs. His family, which was also not in the know, was equally shocked.Gadhvi had tried convincing them, arguing that a journalist’s impact on the people was limited. But his wife Hiravaben would have none of it. “He used to take on powerful politicians on his show regularly. But as a family, we felt that politics would only invite more trouble in his life. We were not engaged with any form of politics,” says Hirvaben, who got married to Gadhvi 16 years ago.Gadhvi had faced resistance from the family when he decided to pursue a journalist’s career too, with his mother, Maniben, repeatedly advising him to tone down his aggression against the powerful. “After every episode of Mahamanthan, I used to scold him out of concern. He would listen to his father, who passed away in 2014. He takes my advice before any decision, but this time he had made up his mind,” says Maniben, leaning against a chair in the sprawling courtyard of the family’s home at the Pipariya village in Khambhaliya.When they heard about his political plans, Gadhvi says, they tried equally hard to dissuade him. “They said we do not even have a sarpanch in the family. It took me two days to convince them.”The family has since come around, even joining his door-to-door campaign across Khambaliya, where the Congress has repeated incumbent MLA Vikram Madam and the BJP has fielded former MLA Mulu Bera. Addressing a rally Tuesday in the area, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the people of Khambhaliya will “elect their son” with a thumping majority.On the ground, however, Gadhvi has an uphill battle. A constituency where caste identities have traditionally trumped other factors during voting, the Gadhvi community to which he belongs has only about 14,000 votes.Elders of the Ahir community, the dominant group in the constituency at 54,000 among its approximately 3.2 lakh voters, have traditionally supported either the BJP or the Congress, and say they will not shift loyalties to AAP. “We supported the Congress in large numbers during the last polls. This time, those votes will also shift to the BJP, meaning that Ahir votes will be split between the two parties,” says Ashok Bhai Dangar of the neighbouring Viramdad village.Gadhvi believes “caste politics and equations would go for a toss with AAP, whose USP is work”.However, AAP may lack the organisational heft to counter the patronage networks established by the BJP and Congress over the years, even as it has emerged as a talking point in rural Saurashtra.And so, other than banking on Gadhvi’s popularity as a former celebrity anchor who raised “people’s issues”, AAP is like the others hoping to get the maths right with the support of numerically strong communities such as Satwaras, Muslims, Dalits and Kshatriyas. The party is also addressing fundamental issues such as the water crisis. A local resident, Dinesh Luna, says he supplies water drums measuring 750 litres to farmlands and families.Its pitch on unemployment finds resonance with a section of the youth in the area. “I completed my graduation from a college in Jamnagar. Now I am running a kirana shop here. Private companies won’t pay more than Rs 12,000 per month,” says 23-year-old Shakti Jam.Back in Pipriya, Govind Dayani reminisces about his childhood friend, whom he calls a “tiger”. “We were classmates till Class 6, until he moved to a hostel in Khambaliya. He came from a fairly affluent family but hung around with us. Our life didn’t go anywhere. Par dekho wo kahan pohuch gaya (but look at where he has reached).”
Ahmedabad: Escalating his diatribe against the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the ‘Congress model' was demonstrative of casteism, nepotism and favouritism that has wrecked Gujarat and the entire country.Addressing an election rally in Mehsana, Modi said the Congress has always resorted to divide and rule policy and creating strife between different communities."The identity of Congress model is corruption, nepotism, dynastic politics, sectarianism and casteism. They are known for indulging in vote bank politics and instigating bad blood between people of different castes or even in different districts only to hang on to power," Modi said."This model has ruined not just Gujarat but also India. This is the reason why we have to try harder today to take India on a progressive path. BJP has never endorsed such a policy of favouritism and discrimination, which is evident seeing the large number of youths instilling their trust in us," the PM said.Modi also accused the Congress of deliberately keeping the poor in perennial penury so that they remain dependent on the government for the smallest of needs. P 2 & 3Listing the achievements of the BJP government in ensuring adequate water and electricity, PM Modi said there was a time in the past when farmers had gheraoed the state secretariat to demand these basic requirements, but the then Congress government had rained bullets on them. "This is the Congress model. Those who rightfully ask for water and electricity are given bullets," he said"People had to pay bribes to get electricity connection during Congress rule," he added. He said youngsters are confident that BJP's policies will create more opportunities for them in the future.The PM said youths in the age group of 20 to 25 years may not even know the kind of hardships faced by the people of Mehsana district in the past including acute shortage of water and electricity."Droughts were also common in those days. We (BJP) had put Gujarat on the path of prosperity amid natural calamities and using limited resources. In the past, water and electricity used to be the major poll planks. Today, the opposition can't raise these issues because they have been resolved by us," said Modi.The prime minister also said the solar power generation in Gujarat has gone up to 8,000 MW while the wind-based power generation has touched the 10,000-megawatt mark.
RAPAR: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday said that riots, curfew, hooliganism and corruption are in the Congress party's "genes". Speaking at a campaign rally at Rapar in Gujarat's Kutch district for the BJP's candidates for the assembly elections, he also said that Congress could have never got a Ram temple constructed in Ayodhya. "Riots, curfew, hooliganism and corruption are the identity of the Congress. Wherever Congress goes, it carries these things as part of its inheritance. These are parts of its genes," Adityanath said. "Construction of the Ram temple is going on on war footing in Ayodhya. Could Congress get Ram Mandir constructed in Ayodhya? Never trust the Congress. Congress could never have constructed Ram Mandir. Sardar Patel worked to revive the Somnath temple but Congress had opposed it," he said. Gujarat has always provided leadership to the country during crises, Adityanath said. "Son of the soil Mahatma Gandhi, who was born in Gujarat, provided leadership to the country to gain freedom from the British. When the British wanted to divide India into pieces, Sardar (Vallabhbhai) Patel contributed to unite India. Congress may not have given respect to Sardar Patel, but under (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi's leadership, the BJP government has given Patel respect by erecting the tallest statue in the world at Kevadia," the BJP leader said. When the Congress' corruption and dynastic politics was hurting the country's politics, Gujarat provided Modi as prime minister, Adityanath further said. "Today, under Prime Minister Modi's leadership, India is achieving new heights of development. India is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence," he said, adding that India has also become the fifth biggest economy leaving behind Britain which once ruled over the country. India will host the next year's G20 summit under Modi's leadership, which symbolises the increasing respect it commands on the global stage, the UP CM said. Under Modi, the country's borders have become secure and terrorism and naxalism have ended, he said. "Gujarat witnessed riots, hooliganism of all kind in the past, and after Modi became chief minister, hooliganism, riots and curfew ended and Gujarat is presenting a new model of development," he said.
The PM said youngsters are confident that BJP's policies will create more opportunities for them. (File)Mehsana: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the "Congress model" meant casteism, division, and vote bank politics which has "ruined" Gujarat and the entire country.Canvassing for BJP candidates at Mehsana in poll-bound Gujarat, Prime Minister Modi said the Bharatiya Janata Party never endorsed the policy of "favouritism and discrimination" which is evident in youths reposing faith in the ruling party."Congress model means corruption, nepotism, dynastic politics, sectarianism, and casteism. They are known for indulging in vote bank politics and creating rifts between people of different castes or even in different districts to be in power," Prime Minister Modi said."This model has ruined not just Gujarat but also India. This is the reason why we have to try hard today to take the country ahead. We (BJP) have never endorsed such a policy of favouritism and discrimination. That is why youth are reposing their trust in us," the prime minister said.Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi targeted the ruling party after 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' led by him entered Madhya Pradesh and alleged the BJP "first spreads fear in the minds of youth, farmers, and labourers and when it sets in, they convert it into violence".Polling for 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5. The counting of votes will be taken up on December 8. The north Gujarat region will vote during the second phase."They (Congress) always wanted to keep people poor so they remain dependent on government," the prime minister said while addressing a rally in the north Gujarat town.He said youngsters are confident that BJP's policies will create more opportunities for them in the future.The PM said youths in the age group of 20 to 25 years may not even know the kind of hardships faced by the people of Mehsana district in the past including acute shortage of water and electricity."Droughts were also common in those days. We (BJP) had put Gujarat on the path of prosperity amid natural calamities and using limited resources. In the past, water and electricity used to be the major issues during polls. Today, the opposition can't speak on these issues because such issues are resolved by us," said Prime Minister Modi, who had served as the chief minister of Gujarat before assuming the office of the Prime Minister in 2014.The PM recalled several farmers including youngsters had been killed in police firing for demanding electricity connections when Congress was in power."People have to pay bribes to get electricity connection in the Congress rule. To change the situation, we started reforms in the power sector by laying new transmission lines and setting up transformers. From just 5 lakh agricultural connections two decades back, Gujarat now has 20 lakh such electricity connections," he added.The prime minister also said the solar power generation in Gujarat has gone up to 8,000 MW while the wind-based power generation has touched the 10,000-megawatt mark.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comDuring the day, the prime minister is scheduled to address poll rallies at Dahod, Vadodara, and Bhavnagar.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
AHMEDABAD: The “Congress model” of casteism, nepotism, sectarianism and favouritism had wrecked Gujarat and the entire country, PM Narendra Modi said at an election rally in Mehsana Tuesday and called out the opposition party for its divide-and-rule policy and creating strife between communities. “The identity of the Congress model is corruption, nepotism, dynastic politics, sectarianism and casteism. They are known for indulging in vote bank politics and instigating bad blood between people of different castes or even in different districts only to hang on to power,” Modi said. “This model has ruined not just Gujarat but also India. This is the reason why we have to try harder today to take India on a progressive path. BJP has never endorsed such a policy of favouritism and discrimination,” the PM said. Modi accused Congress of deliberately keeping the poor in perpetual poverty and making them dependent on the government for the smallest of needs. Listing the achievements of the BJP government in ensuring adequate water and electricity, PM Modi said there was a time in the past when farmers had gheraoed the state secretariat to demand these basic requirements, but the Congress government of the time had rained bullets on them. “This is the Congress model. Those who rightfully ask for water and electricity are given bullets,” he said. “People had to pay bribes to get electricity connection.” Youths in the age group of 20 to 25 years may not even know the kind of hardships faced by the people of Mehsana district in the past, including acute shortage of water and electricity, he said.
MEHSANA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the "Congress model" meant casteism, division, and vote bank politics which has "ruined" Gujarat and the entire country. Canvassing for BJP candidates at Mehsana in poll-bound Gujarat, Modi said the Bharatiya Janata Party never endorsed the policy of "favouritism and discrimination" which is evident in youths reposing faith in the ruling party. "Congress model means corruption, nepotism, dynastic politics, sectarianism and casteism. They are known for indulging in vote bank politics and creating rifts between people of different castes or even in different districts to be in power. "This model has ruined not just Gujarat but also India. This is the reason why we have to try hard today to take the country ahead. We (BJP) have never endorsed such a policy of favouritism and discrimination. That is the reason youths are reposing their trust in us," the prime minister said. Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi targeted the ruling party after 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' led by him entered Madhya Pradesh and alleged the BJP "first spreads fear in the minds of youth, farmers, and labourers and when it sets in, they convert it into violence". Polling for 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5. The counting of votes will be taken up on December 8. The north Gujarat region will vote during the second phase. "They (Congress) always wanted to keep people poor so they remain dependent on government," the prime minister said while addressing a rally in the north Gujarat town. He said youngsters are confident that BJP's policies will create more opportunities for them in the future. The PM said youths in the age group of 20 to 25 years may not even know the kind of hardships faced by the people of Mehsana district in the past including acute shortage of water and electricity. "Droughts were also common in those days. We (BJP) had put Gujarat on the path of prosperity amid natural calamities and using limited resources. In the past, water and electricity used to be the major issues during polls. Today, the opposition can't speak on these issues because such issues are resolved by us," said Modi, who had served as the chief minister of Gujarat before assuming the office of the Prime Minister in 2014. The PM recalled several farmers including youngsters had been killed in police firing for demanding electricity connections when Congress was in power. "People have to pay bribes to get electricity connection in the Congress rule. To change the situation, we started reforms in the power sector by laying new transmission lines and setting up transformers. From just 5 lakh agricultural connections two decades back, Gujarat now has 20 lakh such electricity connections," he added. The prime minister also said the solar power generation in Gujarat has gone up to 8,000 MW while the wind-based power generation has touched the 10,000-megawatt mark. The prime minister is also scheduled to address poll rallies at Dahod, Vadodara, and Bhavnagar during the day.
At his first overtly political-electoral rally since the beginning of the Bharat Jodo Yatra on September 7, in Surat, Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi reiterated what has been the attempted overarching message of the campaign: Bringing together the country and its people, regardless of caste, class, creed and religion; positioning the Congress and its politics as being opposed to hinsa and nafrat; and raising issues of development, unemployment and suffering during Covid. Through anecdotes and ideas, he more or less stuck to the script that the Yatra has been writing over the last three months.Last week, though, in neighbouring Maharashtra, the Congress MP waded into more explicitly controversial matters. He pointed out – as he and many others have before – that V D Savarkar had petitioned the British and swore loyalty to the Crown to have his sentence at Cellular Jail in the Andamans commuted. In the aftermath, the discussion centred largely around Savarkar’s evolution and role in the Indian freedom struggle and how the focus on the mainstream Congress-led national movement has led to a lack of recognition of other leaders. While the lack of consistency in Savarkar’s anti-colonial credentials, the parochialism of his ideology and the conception of an ethnic vs a constitutional nationalism are worthy subjects of debate, what has been largely ignored is the fundamental contradiction that Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra – and by extension, Congress as a whole – has to grapple with.For the Congress of 2022, there is a need to showcase, on the one hand, ideological consistency and clarity and on the other, political calculations that are necessary to emerge from the electoral backwaters to challenge the BJP. The perception among many if not most observers (even within the Congress) is that while attacking Savarkar may help the former, it hurts the latter. The binary, however, may not be as stark as that.For some time now – especially since the rise of the post-2014 saffron hegemony – Congress has been unable to answer a simple question: What does the Grand Old Party stand for? Rahul’s earlier attempts at defining his party’s outlook in post-Modi India simply did not work. “Suit-Boot ki Sarkar”, “Chowkidar Chor Hair” and references to “Adani-Ambani” fell flat for multiple reasons. First, rather than offering an alternative – a reason to support the Congress other than disliking the BJP – they doubled down on negativity and the appearance of corruption. Given the recent memory of the perceived corruption in the UPA years, and the evident electoral popularity of the prime minister, they found little resonance. Secondly, Congress has not really been perceived as “socialist” since Indira Gandhi’s time and the attack on big business may have rung a little hollow. Finally, in no small part thanks to the economic liberalisation (1990s) and subsequent growth (UPA-1) ushered in by Congress-led governments, big business is no longer seen as “anti-people” by most voters.With the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi seems finally to be able to articulate an ideology and politics. In the age of TikTok, Instagram reels and clever tweets, there is the use of images and people that can, perhaps, help develop a narrative more than direct attacks on “divisive Hindutva”. Over the last three months, the Congress leader has walked with young Muslim women (as hijab was villianised), the mother and sister of Gauri Lankesh and Rohith Vemula’s mother. And most recently, the great-grandsons of Mahatama Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru walked together, unafraid of the charges of “dynasty”. He has spoken of a positive idea of India – non-violent, fraternal and one that strives for substantive equality – that in a sense is an espousal of the spirit of the Indian Constitution. And by being literally on the ground – consistently, for now – it seems for the first time in years that the Congress’s politics isn’t about top-down lecturing, posturing or the shrill moral certainty of the university student. So, did the Savarkar comment ruin – or at least hurt – the gains made by the Yatra thus far?His critics and even well-wishers within the party may see the comments as backsliding. In Maharashtra, the alliance with the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena has held despite the strong pro-Hindutva history of the party. Since Rahul Gandhi’s position on Savarkar and Hindutva are well-known, the argument goes, it would have made political sense to have not mentioned him, particularly in Maharashtra. It’s not quite like tearing up an ordinance when the UPA was in power – but isn’t that just a difference in degree, not in kind? Perhaps, but that may not be the point.The BJP is the most dominant political force India has seen in over three decades. At its bedrock is an ideological clarity that few other political parties have – opposed to Mandal, for mandir and with an imagination of “civilisational Bharat” that is often seen in practice as opposed to the country’s composite history, one in which there is “1,200 saal ki ghulami”. Congress is searching for an ideology. So far, it has done so – during the Yatra – by showing and walking, rather than engaging in polemics from a pulpit.Rahul Gandhi surely knows that once the idealistic march is over, the realities of politics in India will set in. There will be factions in his party, attacks from the opposition, the compromises of building coalitions and the attacks from the ruling party and government. To build a credible image, he need not make a simplistic attack on Savarkar. That is a way of demonstrating ideological clarity using the metier of those he opposes. It is better to demonstrate, as he is trying to do, how Congress’s proposed idea of India differs from New India, which Savarkar’s supporters seem to back. As every student of writing knows, it’s better to show than email@example.com
He said Congress will do well in these elections because the mood of the public is against BJP.Surat: With Rahul Gandhi all set to address his first election rally in Gujarat today, Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot today showed confidence in the party doing well in the upcoming Assembly polls stating that the people are "agitated" against the ruling BJP.Speaking to ANI, Gehlot said, "Congress will do well in these elections because the mood of the public is against BJP for mismanaging COVID and the economy. Our party is looking at winning 125 seats and we are well on course to do that. Opposition to the BJP government this time wasn't there the last time. People are agitated. The entire country saw the mismanagement during COVID, especially in the state which was strong even before independence.""There was Morbi incident. We demanded a fair probe by a sitting or retired judge of HC. But it didn't happen. Gujarat HC took suo moto cognisance. People died due to illicit liquor. The government's politics of gimmicks are not going to work, there will be surprising results," he added.Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah over their frequent visits to the state lately, Gehlot claimed that they are doing so as the BJP is "being wiped out of Gujarat"."Ever since they won UP polls, PM Modi-Amit Shah started coming here (Gujarat) regularly. It means they feel BJP is being wiped out of here. What does it mean if they come here every week? Shows their weak condition. So, both of them set a camp here," he said.When asked about Rahul Gandhi's absence from the election campaign in Gujarat, the Congress leader said that the former party president is giving priority to the Bharat Jodo Yatra."We don't need to do it. Rahul Gandhi is carrying out the yatra for every state, including Gujarat. Every household knows the issues being raised by him. It wasn't possible for him to be here physically as he is giving priority to the yatra. He's coming here today and will speak his mind," he said.He also took a swipe at the Aam Aadmi Party, which is also in the fray and looking to make inroads into Gujarat, and claimed that the party's credibility has been reduced."Someone should ask Kejriwal why did they suddenly withdraw the campaign from Himachal? They have just propped candidates there. Who knows if they withdraw from here too? Are they colluding with BJP? Their credibility has gone down," he said.Gehlot slammed the BJP over the 'love jihad' issue and accused the party of doing politics on with an aim to target "one community"."It's an unfortunate incident. It has been given a name and 'jumla' has been made. Inter-caste and interfaith marriages have been taking place for a long time now. But politics is being done on the basis of the manner in which one community has been targetted," he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comVoting for the two-phased Gujarat Assembly elections will take place on December 1 and 5, and the counting of votes will take place on December 8.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayUS President Joe Biden Turns 80
Trinamool Congress MLA Khokan Das’s statement urging party workers to make sure that “only those Bangladeshi immigrants who support the party” are allowed in the voters’ list in the state has rekindled an evergreen controversy in the state.In a video that is doing the rounds on social media, Das, the Bardhaman Dakshin, can be heard saying at a TMC workers’ meeting: “Many new people are coming, they all are from Bangladesh. Many of them vote for the BJP due to their Hindu sentiments. Make sure that only those who support our party find a place in the voters’ list.”Questioned about his comment, Das told the media, “Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are making their way into our area every day. My message to TMC workers was to ensure that their names should not be in the voters’ list.”Nearly two decades ago, in 2005, TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had, incidentally, issued an almost similar demand. With the CPI(M) in power in the state, Mamata, an MP at the time, had made infiltration of “illegal Bangladeshi immigrants” in West Bengal a poll issue.She had even submitted her resignation to then Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, claiming she was not able to raise “people’s issues” in Parliament. “Illegal migrants from Bangladesh are also part of the voters’ list in West Bengal. The state government has done nothing about it. Therefore, the issue must be discussed,” she had said. She didn’t go through with the resignation, though.Much water has flown down the Hooghly since then. While Mamata has been in power now for three consecutive terms, the BJP has risen from nothingness to become the principal Opposition in the state. With the BJP making anti-Bangladeshi (read anti-Muslim) immigration one of the axes of its politics across the country, legislating the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) and talking of plans to implement the National Register of Citizens nationwide, Mamata, for whom West Bengal’s 27% Muslim population is her strongest vote bank, has doubled down in her opposition to these policies.Recently, when days before the coming Assembly elections in Gujarat, the Union Home Ministry announced that citizenship rights would be given to immigrants in two districts of the state, Mamata had reiterated the TMC’s opposition to the CAA (which proposes to ease citizenship for immigrants belonging to communities which are in the minority in India’s neighbourhood, effectively barring Muslims) and NRC (which seeks to weed out illegal immigrants).“I have said earlier that we are not going to implement the CAA in West Bengal. We will stick to that position. These are political stunts ahead of the Gujarat elections. For us, people’s lives are more important than political stunts,” she said.Saying the TMC MLA’s stand on voter lists showed Mamata’s double-speak, CPI(M) leader Samik Lahiri said, “She has always said what the RSS wants her to say. She is the best student of the RSS. Her politics is opportunistic. Whenever she thinks something won’t give her political benifit, she changes her stance.”The BJP has filed a complaint against Khokan Das over his remarks. “We request the Union Home Ministry to take cognisance in this matter. Such comments coming from an MLA of the ruling party are detrimental to national security. Such statements can’t be taken lightly,” Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said.The West Bengal BJP has also written to the Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal, seeking immediate action against the TMC MLA. “In many places, the party in power is using its influence to manipulate the electoral rolls, and the district administration is a mute spectator. The EC must look into the matter,” state BJP leader Sisir Bajoria said.The TMC leadership dismissed BJP complaints. “The BJP is a spent force in the state. They have nothing to do except crib over every issue. Nowhere is the TMC trying to influence the electoral rolls,” senior TMC leader Sougata Roy said. Despite the combative statement, a senior party leader said, “It is a big embarrassment for the party as many of Bangladeshi Hindus are from Matua community. We already lost that votebank to the BJP. They did well electorally in the belt dominated by Matuas. So, this type of statement will further damage our popularity among these sections.”
AHMEDABAD: In the run-up to the Gujarat assembly election, parties commanded their leaders to shun 'parivarvaad' or dynasty politics, but the edict appears to be 'relatively' casual because 21 selected candidates are the sons of netas. Both BJP and Congress are banking on brighter electoral prospects brought by political dynasties. BJP has given tickets to seven such candidates and Congress to 13. These contestants are sons of either sitting MLAs or ex-MLAs. Kandhal Jadeja, the son of ex-MLA Santokben Jadeja, is fighting on the SP ticket from Kutiyana. Political heft of their fathers and the much touted 'winnability' were the principal considerations while nominating these candidates. The sons of two Gujarat ex-CMs have got Congress tickets. Dr Tushar Chaudhary is the son of Amarsinh Chaudhary (the CM from 1985 to 1989); and Mahendrasinh Vaghela, the son of Shankersinh Vaghela (the CM from 1996 to 1997). "My father was the three-time MLA from Khedbrahma. I used to accompany him as a child when he canvassed during elections," said Tushar. "I have deep ties with the people and party workers in Khedbrahma, from where I am contesting." Mahendrasinh will fight to retake Bayad. BJP has picked Bhushan Bhatt, the son of a former cabinet minister and ex-speaker, Ashok Bhatt; and Jayesh Radadiya, the son of another former cabinet minister, Vitthal Radadiya. Bhushan will stand in the election for Jamalpur-Khadia and Jayesh for Jetpur. Three of the seven candidates who have received the BJP mandate are the sons of Congress turncoats. For some, the promise of a ticket to their wards was possibly one of the major triggers for jumping ship. Congress's 10-time MLA from Central Gujarat, Mohansinh Rathwa, severed his decades-long association with the party after he sensed that his son Rajendrasinh would not get the Chhota Udepur ticket. Days before the candidature was to be declared, Mohansinh entered the BJP fold. Congress also betting on heirs Rajendrasinh is now the BJP’s face in Chhota Udepur and will take on Congress’s Sangramsinh, the son of another senior tribal leader and former railway minister Naran Rathwa. Kanu Makwana who has been fielded from Sanand by BJP is the son of Congress turncoat Karamsinh Makwana. Karamsinh won Sanand for Congress in 2012. In 2017, he joined BJP which picked Kanu to run for his father’s seat. Kanu won that contest. Yogendra Parmar, the son of another Congress turncoat Ramsinh Parmar, will represent BJP on the Thasra seat. Ramsinh was tapped for this seat in 2017 by BJP after he dumped Congress. Though Ramsinh lost, Yogendra has got a shot. Reeling from a spate of defections, Congress is also betting on heirs to regain some ground. Sanjay Rabari, the son of ex-Congress MLA Govabhai Rabari, has been fielded by the party on the Deesa seat. His father was the MLA of this constituency twice in the past. Congress MLA from Danilimda, Shailesh Parmar, will battle to retain his seat. He is the son of four-time MLA of Shaherkotda, Manubhai Parmar. “My entire family is involved in politics, of which I have been a part since childhood,” Shailesh said. “My father’s goodwill helped me in my maiden election and I continue to build on his legacy.” Fighting amid the crowd of sons is Kalpana Dhoria, the daughter of seven-time MLA from Chotila, Karamsinh Makwana who has the distinction of winning as Congress, Janata Dal, and independent candidate. She has the Congress ticket for Limbdi.
Days after he jumped into Morbi’s Machchhu river to rescue people following the collapse of a suspension bridge there, which left 135 dead, Kantilal Amrutiya was declared by the ruling BJP as its candidate from the Morbi constituency for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls in place of the incumbent MLA and minister Brijesh Merja. The former five-term BJP MLA from Morbi, Amrutiya is now contesting his seventh consecutive election from the seat. In an interview with The Indian Express, Amrutiya talks about the bridge disaster and whether it would affect his poll prospects. Excerpts:After Brijesh Merja defected to the BJP from the Congress following his 2017 poll victory from Morbi, won subsequent bypoll from the seat and was inducted into the saffron party government as a cabinet minister, did you think you would ever get an opportunity for a comeback?Politics is a means of serving the people. That remains so even after one is elected an MLA. It can’t be a means of making money. I am fortunate that over the past 35 years, God has given me and my supporters a lot. I never intend to make money from politics and the reason is my businesses are doing well. Politics is my hobby and working for people is a passion. My livelihood comes from business. So even after losing (in 2017), I hadn’t lost hope. Instead, I focused more on serving the people. I kept my office open all these years.Then what about career politicians?Those who are well-to-do, whose families run business, come into politics. They can render service to people. On the other hand, there are also people whose loyalty doesn’t last long. If someone wants to take something home while being in politics, that’s not going to happen as people have become aware. Rather than accepting such politicians, people hate them. Thus, only those with principles can survive in politics. For example, if I were a Gandhian, my MLA salary would be sufficient for me. But people should know this. If you are earning from business, let them know. But those pretending to do something else while seeking gains from politics won’t survive.What did you do when you were not an MLA during the last five years?I kept my office open all the time. I visit villages once in six months, and help people in times of illness. I work for 18 hour daily. People’s love for me increased a great deal as I was never merely an MLA for them. I was connected with them. So, they were sitting there, waiting for me to come back… Two years later came Covid-19 pandemic. We set up 3000 beds at 13 different places, gave free medicines through the community.I proposed the idea and the community responded. Our industrialists installed an oxygen plant. If I spent Re 1 to do this, the community spent the balance Rs 99. Later, I organised a Bhagwat katha by Bhaishree (Ramesh Oza, a popular kathakar). I went to villages to invite people to this khata. Everyday, 35,000 to 40,000 people used to dine there. Then, when the cows were affected by lumpy (skin disease), we prepared 108 tonnes of sukhadi (a sweetmeat preparation of wheat flour, ghee, jaggery etc) and fed them to cows. Many tins of ghee remained surplus after preparing sukhadi. I added an equal number of them and sent one tin each to villages to be used as divel (oil for lighting lamp in religious places).What were the reasons for your defeat in 2017?Patidar quota agitation and the subsequent agitations of Thakor community and the one launched by Jignesh (Mevani). There are voters of minority community here and yet I lost with a margin of 3,400 votes only. People didn’t clang plates as a mark of protest against me.Will the Patidar agitation have any bearing on this election too?The Patidar agitation has subsided now. People have got back to their routine work. The agitation will have no impact on this election whatsoever.Following the collapse of the Jhulto Pul suspension bridge, you jumped into the river to rescue people. How do you view that disaster, given that your party besides being in power in the state also rules the Morbi municipality?I did only one per cent of relief and rescue work while others did 99 per cent. Action will be taken against those who are responsible. In fact the government has already started action to give justice to people. It has set up a committee.But do you think the incident has tarnished the BJP’s image?People do feel pain about it. But elections also do come. Elections have to be conducted every five years. It (bridge collapse incident) is not going to defer the election. So, people thought that we are sad about it and therefore we will fight elections with simplicity. You must have observed that there is no garlanding, no drum beating or bursting of firecrackers. We are eating whatever simple food is available.The state machinery allegedly took 18 minutes to reach the disaster site. Could the response time have been faster?How could that be? How was that possible?But the allegation is that a BJP function was then continuing on Shanala Road and that various agencies including police were busy there.Whatever it might be, I was not attending that function. As soon as I came to know about the incident, I jumped into the river.Are not people angry over the disaster?No, they are not angry with me and you are observing it as I campaign.But with the BJP?Neither that also. You see how much effort the government put in. The Prime Minister called up within half-an-hour. We got double the equipment that was needed. Same with the number of rescuers. Kudarati bainu chhe (It happened naturally) but the government and we all responded to it.The Opposition alleges that the bridge collapsed due to government’s negligence.The Opposition is performing its duty, isn’t it? With me, workers of Congress or Aam Aadmi Party should also have jumped into the sewage of Machchhu river. But did anyone of them did that? They were all sitting on the river bank and giving interviews.Oreva Group (Ajanta) of Jaysukh Patel was given the contract of operations and maintenance of the Morbi bridge. While campaigning, you are telling people how his father Odhavji Patel had offered financial resources to you for rescue and rehabilitation work after the 2001 earthquake.The government will certainly make decisions that have to be made. Odhavjibhai was dedicated to public service. He has rendered distinguished services in Morbi district. There is no doubt about that. It doesn’t mean that his contributions go waste because of this incident.The BJP has fielded you in place of Merja, a minister. While it may not be mandatory, he is not seen campaigning with you. Is there any discord?Brijeshbhai is our senior karyakarta (worker) and we need his services. He attends my campaign meetings and delivers speeches. The rest of the campaigning is our responsibility.You have been elected MLA five times already. What are your goals now?I want to continue serving people in my style, touring my constituency, helping people. Bypasses to national highways, some bridges, making drinking water arrangements, making water available to industries – these are some of the big tasks I want to undertake after becoming an MLA. I don’t make false promises. You must have observed that people are not giving me lists of problems they are facing. Nor are they seeking accounts of work I have done. That is because they have trust that I will go back to them after the election and do their work even as others made only promises to them for three-four years but did little work.Do you think you deserve to be made a minister should you win?That is for the party to decide.
The government’s EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) quota policy has got the seal of constitutionality from the apex court. Two of the five justices — part of the majority decision in the 3:2 split verdict — said that they were in favour of “revisiting” the caste-based reservation regime. This proposition suggests that 30 years after the Mandal verdict, caste is not responsible for the kind of social inequalities that, according to the Supreme Court in 1992, justified the positive discrimination policies in place in India since Independence — even before. As the remarks of the two judges have generated much debate, it is pertinent to scrutinise them in light of available evidence.Justice J B Pardiwala argued that the gaps between groups that existed when the country attained independence have been bridged: “As larger percentages of backward class members attain acceptable standards of education and employment, they should be removed from the backward categories so that attention can be paid toward those classes which genuinely need help.” This opinion is not supported by any empirical evidence. In fact, all available data show that, though the gap between upper castes and lower castes is not as large as it was immediately after Independence, caste-based inequalities have persisted. According to the 2018 NSSO Periodic Labour Force Survey, the percentage of graduates amongst Scheduled Castes (18 per cent) was less than 50 per cent of what it was among upper castes (37 per cent). Similarly, SCs represented 33 per cent of the casual workers (while they form only 16 per cent of the population), while the upper castes represented 15 per cent of the total of casual workers. These proportions have not changed since 1999.One could argue that pan-Indian aggregates are irrelevant because castes are regional realities. Fair enough. Let’s look at some of the state-level data generated by the India Human Development Survey: In 2011-12, the per capita mean income of SCs of Maharashtra was almost 50 per cent lower than that of the Brahmins (Rs 26,172 against 44,638). One may then argue that since Dalits are at the bottom of the social pyramid, data related to other beneficiaries of reservation, OBCs, should be factored in the equation. But then the Brahmins are not the richest everywhere. Let’s look at the Gujarat figures from a different perspective: The OBCs’ annual per capita income was about 50 per cent lower than the Patels’ (Rs 23, 692 against Rs 51,045). In Haryana, Jats earned Rs 63,679 , OBCs Rs 31,027 and SCs Rs 20,566. In Andhra Pradesh, the Kammas had an annual per capita mean income of Rs. 38,232 while the OBCs earned Rs 21,172 and Rs 18,345.This confirms the finding of the Sinho Commission Report — recognised by the dissenting judges — that 82 per cent of the poor belong to SC, ST or OBC communities. While there have been improvements in the absolute attainments of the marginalised sections, the reparative role of positive discrimination programmes has not been fulfilled. Caste stigma remains a major handicap for Dalits, as evident from scientific surveys, including those conducted by Sukhdeo Thorat: When the same CV with a Brahmin name and a Dalit name is sent to potential employers, the latter will call the Brahmin for an interview much more often than the Dalit. Narendra Jadhav, the son of an Ambedkarite and an economist, who worked for 31 years at the RBI, notes in his autobiography that he remained a Mahar in the eyes of his colleagues. Caste-based reservation is necessary to overcome this stigma — a prejudice that affects even the middle class Dalits.Those who have remained poor suffer the same stigma in a different, more violent way. Discussing the latest statistics of crimes against SCs, and STs, the dissenting judgment records that as per the ‘Crime in India’ report released by the NCRB, Scheduled Castes were victims of 45,961 crimes in 2019, 50,291 in 2020, and 50,900 in 2021.Justice Bela Trivedi, in the verdict under review, suggests that caste quotas should be phased out to create a casteless society. This argument has a long lineage. Kaka Kalelkar, the chairperson of the First Backward Class Commission, had raised alarms about the spread of casteism. But reservation has not invented caste and concealing caste is unlikely to diminish caste-based inequalities or conflicts. On the contrary, positive discrimination has promoted upward social mobility in India. This emancipatory achievement has contributed to the development of the country not only in social but also in economic terms. Elite groups who fear the rise of backward communities are trying hard to preserve their domination. The Hindu nationalist movement, which once looked at the Mandal moment as “a Shudra revolution”, is the instrument of a counter-revolution today. If caste politics is the main rival of this movement, a frontal opposition to it could revive the “Mandal spirit”. Therefore, the party claims that the real enemy of the lower castes are not the upper castes but the Muslims. Diluting reservation is its second strategy.That said, a debate on reservation policies is needed. Certain reforms — sub-classification of beneficiaries, for instance — are necessary to enhance equal access to quotas which have been cornered by certain jatis for generations. Secondly, if class, and not caste — as the anti-reservationists argue – can be the basis of determining beneficiaries, why not religion? In the face of overwhelming evidence of religious discrimination, prejudice and disadvantage against deprived minorities like Muslims, this question deserves urgent attention.Dhawan is a New Delhi-based legal researcher; Jaffrelot is senior research fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS, Paris, professor of Indian Politics and Sociology at King’s India Institute, London, and non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Kalaiyarasan is assistant professor, MIDS, Chennai
If the influential Patidar community played a key role in determining the outcome of the 2017 Gujarat Assembly election, the 2022 Assembly polls in the state may turn out to be no different. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), whose entry into the Gujarat fray has created ripples, is also looking to garner votes of this influential community by fielding many Patidar candidates.The outgoing 14th Gujarat Assembly had 44 Patidar MLAs, of the total 182 – slightly less than 48 in the 13th Assembly. Thus Patidar MLAs represented 24.17% and 26.37% of the total seats, respectively. This is much higher than their proportion in the state population which, by the community’s estimates, stands at about 18%.Of the 111 outgoing MLAs of the ruling BJP, 31 are Patidars. These include four of the 17 originally elected on Congress tickets in 2017, who later crossed over.In the coming elections, of the 181 candidates announced by the BJP so far, 44 are Patidars. In the Saurashtra-Kutch region, which accounts for 54 seats and votes on December 1, the fight for the Patidar vote is expected to get tougher, with AAP nominating 19 Patidars, the BJP nominating 18 and the Congress 16.Citing past elections, Congress leader Paresh Dhanani says the Patidars exercise influence in 106 Assembly seats, of which 48 are dominated by the community. Of these, 33 generally witness a contest between two major Patidar candidates, splitting their votes, with the winner ultimately decided by other communities, he claims. However, in 58 other seats, the Patidar votes are decisive even though other communities account for the largest chunk.Arguing that ultimately, more than such numbers, “what matters more is the general influence you exercise over all communities in a given seat” Dhanani says: “The Congress has always tried to unite the society and country, unlike the BJP.”The 2022 elections will witness parties doing the delicate balancing act even between sub-castes, as these votes could also matter given the three-way split.Jeram Vansjaliya, trustee of Umiyadham, Sidsar, which is among the largest organisations of Kadva Patels, says the Patidar influence is not surprising as they dominate industry and trade, “the sectors which provide employment on a large scale”. “Parties may give 25% of their tickets to the Patidars. But they can win 30% of the total seats in the Assembly.”Of the 17 chief ministers Gujarat has had so far, five have been Patidars, including the incumbent CM Bhupendra Patel.Leuva Patels account for about 80 % of the community, with Kadvas making up the remaining. While Leuvas are concentrated in Saurashtra and pockets of central and south Gujarat, Kadvas are mainly in north Gujarat and a few pockets in Saurashtra. The BJP’s current list of candidates has 24 Leuvas and 20 Kadvas.The Shree Khodaldham Trust (SKT), a religious organisation founded by industrialist Naresh Patel, has a huge influence on the Leuva Patels. Naresh Patel, who was unavailable for comment, had earlier announced his intention to take the political plunge, but later backtracked, although two SKT members are contesting — Ramesh Tilala on the BJP’s ticket from Rajkot (South) and Dharmik Malaviya on the AAP’s ticket from Surat’s Oldpad.Largely an agrarian community till a few decades ago, Patidars started establishing their dominance in politics and economy of Gujarat from the 1980s as they united in the wake of the KHAM (Kshatriya, Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims) social coalition formed by the Congress.Since 1995, the BJP has established a virtual monopoly in Gujarat’s electoral politics as the Patidars have by and large stood by the BJP and voted unitedly as a community. The Kolis who, unlike the upper-caste Patidars, are OBCs are numerically stronger than Patidars, but they are divided into many sub-caste groups and scattered across the state. Nor do they have the financial heft of Patidars.The only time the BJP-Patidar alliance came under severe strain was in 2015-17 when Hardik Patel, through his Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), launched an agitation, demanding OBC quota for the Patidars.This time, a BJP leader told The Indian Express, “The Supreme Court clearing the 10% quota for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) has made the Patidars happy.”Hasmukh Lungariya, the SKT’s spokesperson, agrees, adding: “Not only that, the EWS quota, for which credit should go to the Patidars, will win the BJP additional votes from upper-caste voters since they will also get benefits of this new reservation category.”Vansjaliya too says it is difficult to accurately predict voting trends in this election in the absence of any wave or dominant issue. “It remains to be seen whose vote share AAP eats into and where.”Lungariya believes some of the issues at the heart of the quota stir persist. “Many will say that farmers are getting record prices for cotton and groundnut this season. But prices of fertiliser and diesel are also record high, offsetting any potential real gains,” says the Leuva Patel leader.The PAAS, meanwhile, has virtually become defunct. According to Dinesh Bambhaniya, one of its convenors, about 30 of the organisation’s leaders are fighting the polls as candidates of various parties, including Hardik (BJP), Gopal Italia (the state AAP president), sitting MLAs Lalit Vasoya and Pratap Dudhat (Congress) and Agriculture minister Raghavji Patel and Harshad Ribadiya (BJP).Bambhaniya believes a significant chunk of the 2017 Patidar vote that went to the Congress will return to the BJP. “Ninety per cent of our community members vote for the BJP. In 2017, that came down to 40% . Around 20-25% of it has now shifted back to the BJP. So, this time, the BJP will get more Patidar votes, though not as high as before 2017. It is to be seen where the remaining Patidar votes go, to AAP or not.”Bambhaniya, for his part, plans to campaign for all Patidar candidates, irrespective of their political leanings, on behalf of the PAAS. “We will support those who supported our agitation. Our aim is to have maximum community members in the Assembly. It does not matter which party they belong to.”
AHMEDABAD: Union home and cooperation minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday that the BJP ended “appeasement politics” and established the rule of law over two decades of its governance in Gujarat. He said this while participating in an election rally that was held before chief minister Bhupendra Patel filed his nomination papers from the Ghatlodia seat for the upcoming assembly election. Shah alleged the Congress used to mock the BJP and its cadres over the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. He asked Rahul Gandhi to visit the temple, which he said will be ready for inauguration in January 2024. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has solved this 550-year-old dispute peacefully,” he said. Shah also praised the PM for abrogating Article 370 (which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir) and bringing a law banning the practice of triple talaq. After the rally, Shah and Patel led a roadshow up to the Sola area where Patel submitted his nomination papers to the authorities. “The people of Gujarat had seen the days when communal riots were common, especially between 1985 and 1995 (under non-BJP governments). Curfew remained imposed for 250 of 365 days (a year). Women used to pray for their family members whenever they used to visit the Walled City areas,” Shah said. Shah said the BJP governments improved the situation because of which no one dares to create disturbance now.
Mr Jadeja has been batting for his wife ahead of the state elections.New Delhi: Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja announced on Wednesday that his wife Rivaba Jadeja, a candidate in the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections, has joined Twitter.Rivaba Jadeja has been fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to contest the Jamnagar (North) seat."Official account @Rivaba4BJP," Mr Jadeja wrote on Twitter.Official account @Rivaba4BJPpic.twitter.com/L261kB67ly— Ravindrasinh jadeja (@imjadeja) November 16, 2022The Indian all-rounder had said on Monday that his wife wanted to follow the path of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "work for the people"."It is her (Rivaba Jadeja) first time as an MLA candidate and she will learn a lot. I hope she will progress in this. She is of helping nature and has always wanted to help people and hence joined politics. She wants to follow the path of PM Modi to work for the people," the cricketer said as quoted by news agency ANI.Mr Jadeja has been batting for his wife ahead of the state elections.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"The Gujarat election is here and it's like a T20 match. My wife is making her grand debut in politics on a BJP ticket! Tomorrow she will file her nomination. I appeal to the people of Jamnagar and all the cricket lovers to come in large numbers to support her," Jadeja said in a video on Sunday.Rivaba Jadeja became the face of the BJP for the Jamnagar (North) seat after sitting MLA Dharmendrasinh Jadeja was denied a party ticket.Featured Video Of The DayPM Modi, Xi Jinping Greet Each Other At G-20 Dinner, No Meeting Scheduled
Earlier on Sunday, Jadeja urged the people of Jamnagar to vote for his wife Rivaba Jadeja.Jamnagar (Gujarat): Indian cricketer Ravindra Jadeja today said that his wife Rivaba Jadeja who has been fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Jamnagar (North) seat in the state assembly elections wanted to follow the path of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work for the people.Ravindra Jadeja attended an event on Monday where he said that Rivaba would learn a lot from her first-time candidature in the assembly elections."It is her (Rivaba Jadeja) first time as an MLA candidate and she will learn a lot. I hope she will progress in this. She is of helping nature and has always wanted to help people and hence joined politics. She wants to follow the path of PM Modi to work for the people," the cricketer said.Earlier on Sunday, Jadeja urged the people of Jamnagar to vote for his wife Rivaba Jadeja.Jadeja tweeted a video urging the people of Jamnagar and cricket fans to vote for his wife."The Gujarat election is here and it's like a T20 match. My wife is making her grand debut in politics on a BJP ticket! Tomorrow she will file her nomination. I appeal to the people of Jamnagar and all the cricket lovers to come in large numbers to support her," Jadeja said in the video in which he was speaking in Gujarati.Rivaba replaces sitting MLA Dharmendrasinh Jadeja as the BJP face for the Jamnagar (North) seat, who was denied a party ticket in this election, according to sources.Earlier on Sunday, the BJP announced one more candidate for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly election. So far the party has released the names of 167 candidates for the Gujarat polls.The party fielded Jagdishbhai Makwana from the Wadhwan Assembly constituency.Earlier on Saturday, BJP released the second list of six candidates. In the second list of six candidates, BJP has given tickets to two women.It has fielded Mahendrabhai Padaliya from Dhoraji, Mulubhai Bera from Khambhalia, Dheliben Maldebhai Odedara from Kutiyana, Sejal Rajiv Kumar Pandya from Bhavnagar East, Hitesh Devji Vasava from Dediapada (ST) and Sandeep Desai from Choryasi.On Thursday, the BJP announced the first list of candidates for 160 candidates out of the 182 constituencies for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections.The first list of 160 candidates includes 14 females, 13 from scheduled caste, 24 from the scheduled tribe and there are 69 candidates who have been repeated.The Assembly elections in Gujarat are scheduled for two phases on December 1 and December 5. In the first round, 89 of the total 182 Assembly seats will go to polls and prominent political parties have declared their candidates for almost all these constituencies.The BJP has drawn up a list of star campaigners for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections. Topping the list is Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The other prominent names on the list include BJP national president JP Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and fellow Cabinet colleagues Smriti Irani, Dharmendra Pradhan, Mansukh Mandaviya and Purushottam Rupala.Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, who is seeking a fresh mandate from the Ghatlodia Assembly segment, also features in the star campaigners list along with BJP state president CR Patil and state Home Minister Harsh Sanghvi.The ruling party seeks its seventh straight term in power in the ensuing state polls. The state has been a BJP stronghold for a long and the party has set its sights on returning to power with a handsome majority this time as well.However, it faces a stiff electoral challenge from the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has named Isudan Gadhvi as its chief ministerial candidate.The Congress is also hoping to put its best electoral foot forward to unseat the BJP government.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe BJP has been in power in Gujarat for the last 27 years and it is considered a BJP bastion.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayAkhilesh Yadav Says This As Wife Enters Contest For Mulayam Yadav's Seat
Ravindra Jadeja congratulated wife Rivaba and wished her the best for the poll contestIndian cricket star Ravindra Jadeja today congratulated wife Rivaba on being picked as a BJP candidate for the upcoming Gujarat elections and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for giving her the opportunity.Jai hind 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/JWdbV0brab— Ravindrasinh jadeja (@imjadeja) November 10, 2022In a social media post, Mr Jadeja wrote, "Congratulations to my wife on getting a BJP ticket for the Vidhan Sabha elections. So proud of all the effort and hardwork which you have put in. My best wishes to you, may you continue to work for the development of the society.""I also wish to thank our honourable PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji and Shri Amit Shah Ji for believing in her abilities and giving her a opportunity to do noble work (sic)," he added.Rivaba Jadeja is the BJP's choice for the Jamnagar North seat in its list of 160 candidates released today. The party dropped sitting MLA Dharmendrasinh M Jadeja.Ravindra Jadeja, a star all-rounder in the Indian men's cricket team, missed out on the ongoing T20 World Cup in Australia due to a knee injury he suffered during the Asia Cup this year.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comRivaba Jadeja is a mechanical engineer by education. A relative of Congress veteran Hari Singh Solanki, she married Ravindra Jadeja in 2016. Banking on the family's Rajput heritage and ex-royal lineage, she has been an active politician in the Jamnagar-Saurashtra region.Over the past few months, she has been travelling across villages to rally support.Featured Video Of The DayNirav Modi To Be Extradited: Justice In India's Biggest Bank Fraud Case
Rivaba Jadeja, a mechanical engineer by education, married cricketer Ravindra Jadeja in 2016. (File)New Delhi: Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja's wife Rivaba Jadeja, who joined the BJP three years ago, is among those likely to get the party ticket for the Gujarat assembly polls, sources said, as the BJP Central Election Committee is to meet today to decide finalise candidates.The party, in power in Gujarat for 27 years now, may not field some of its senior leaders, such as former chief minister Vijay Rupani and former deputy chief minister Nitin Patel. Those who've crossed 75 years of age will be ineligible, it is learnt, as will be relatives of MPs and MLAs.Rivaba Jadeja is a mechanical engineer by education and is related to Congress veteran Hari Singh Solanki. She married Ravindra Jadeja in 2016. She has been a leader of the Karni Sena, a Rajput community outfit, too. View this post on InstagramA post shared by Ravindrasinh jadeja (@ravindra.jadeja)Congress imports Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor will be among the younger leaders to get the BJP ticket, sources said, while a large number of sitting MLAs will not be on the list this time.The panel will meet under the chairmanship of party chief JP Nadda, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister will be among the attendees.PM Modi and Amit Shah's home state, Gujarat is scheduled to vote on December 1 and 5. Results will be out on December 8, along with those of Himachal Pradesh, where too the BJP is hoping to retain power.The party's core group for Gujarat met in Delhi on Tuesday — for three hours at JP Nadda's house — and names were discussed as a preparatory step towards today's meeting. Members of that group include Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, state unit president CR Patil, and Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya among others.The elections are turning out to be a three-way fight. While the Congress, which increased its vote share and seats last time, has kept its campaign low-key — it says that's intentional — the Aam Aadmi Party has mounted a mega campaign, determined to disrupt what it calls "a friendly match" between the two main parties.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe BJP, at its meet today, is likely to finalise all 182 candidates that it will announce over the next few days, sources said.In 2017, the BJP won 99 seats and Congress got 77. After defections and resignations from the Congress, at present the BJP's strength in the assembly is 111.Featured Video Of The DaySalman Khan Dances To His Iconic Song With Boxer Nikhat Zareen
In a show of strength before the assembly elections in Gujarat, nearly two lakh Anjana Chaudhary community members gathered at Charada village in Gandhinagar and pledged support to Vipul Chaudhary, former home minister and former chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy, who is currently in jail.The influential community, which has a significant presence in over 30 assembly seats in North Gujarat, however, did not reveal their political allegiance for the upcoming polls and decided to wait for Vipul to step out of prison later this month. Vipul was arrested in September 2022 for alleged irregularities worth Rs 800 crore during his tenure as Dudhsagar Dairy chairman.Around two lakh members of the community from 1,253 villages who are largely into farming and milk production gathered under the banner of Arbuda Sena, formed by Vipul a year ago. The occasion was the 103rd birth anniversary of Mansinh Chaudhary, Vipul’s father and the founder of Dudhsagar Dairy.“Vipul bhai continues to be a member of the BJP but we have not been told about the political stance for upcoming elections. Arbuda Sena has members from the BJP, Congress and the AAP, but we will all follow his decision,” said Moghji Chaudhary, a close aide of Vipul Chaudhary and a former chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy in the adjoining Mehsana district.“He has not instructed us that he will fight polls. He is our chief and whatever decision is made by him, we will stand by it,” said Moghjibhai adding that the community would like him to contest and represent them in the legislature. “We are expecting that Vipulbhai will step out of jail on November 21,” he said after the event concluded. When asked why some speakers were not allowed to make political comments from the stage, Moghji said, “It was a social event to celebrate the birth anniversary of Mansinh Chaudhary. It was not a political platform and so if someone says anything that would be inappropriate. We have been operating this organisation for last two months in the absence of Vipul Chaudhary, and so it is our responsibility to see that nothing goes wrong.” Speaking at the event where a garlanded white turban was placed on a seat kept reserved for Vipul Chaudhary at the centre of the dais, Moghji said, “Many people even tried to see that this gathering does not happen. I am confident that our lion (Vipul Chaudhary) will come out (of prison). Someone with a party’s mandate is not our leader.” He, however, did not name any party.The Dudhsagar Dairy is being ruled by members associated with the BJP and in the past both Vipul Chaudhary and Moghji Chaudhary have agitated against the present leadership in the dairy, which is one of the largest in the country. After Vipul’s arrest, the Congress rallied behind the former party member (Vipul had quit Congress in September 2007) and organised an event in his support at “Ma Arbuda Bhavan” campus in Mehsana in October 2022. Leaders of Arbuda Sena from Banaskantha, Patan, Sabarkantha, Mehsana and Gandhinagar also spoke at the event Tuesday and asked the community to stand united behind Vipul. “The Sena was not formed for politics. But with elections round the corner, the community cannot stay away from politics,” said Shankar Chaudhary from Patan.
Stating that political decision that Gujarat makes has a repercussion in the country, Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar Tuesday said people of the state should ask why three chief ministers were replaced one after the other.“In this election, we do not want to lecture to people. People of a state belonging to Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel are knowledgeable enough. But I can make an appeal to them for a new beginning in this country’s politics,” said Kumar while addressing reporters at Congress headquarters in the city here.“Even Lord Ram’s exile ended in 14 years. You have given chance to just one party for 27 years and all the results are before you. A Gujarati knows best the truth about Gujarat model. The event in Morbi have stigmatised Gujarat and people in Gujarat should think about it,” he added.Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kumar said, “As soon as the Chief Minister became the Prime Minister, he abandoned Gujarat. The direct result of it is that the state had three chief ministers. People of Gujarat should ask Modiji that if he selected a wrong person (as the chief minister ). What was wrong with Anandiben Patel and if there was an issue, why was she selected. She was replaced by Vijay Rupani and what was wrong with him. He was replaced by Bhupendra Patel… This is a insult of a constitutional post.”Further launching an attack on Union Home Minister Amit Shah, he said that the PM gives lectures about dynastic politics. “Why home minister Amit Shah doesn’t take cognisance of what the Prime Minister says and remove his son (Jay Shah) from the post of BCCI,” he said adding that BJP has given tickets to more than 10 children of their leaders.He said the BJP does not talk about jobs, salaries, prices, etc. “What kind of a message goes in the society when someone praises a person accused of rape,” Kumar said, without mentioning developments in the Bilkis Bano case.
NEW DELHI: Former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Monday attacked Asaduddin Owaisi, accusing him of doing "communal politics" and creating a divide in society. While talking to ANI, the BJP leader said that politics is not part-time tourism, but a full-time effort. "Some people just wear a 'Secular Shervani' and carry out 'Communal Karastani'. They do part-time politics and full-time 'Pakhand'. They carry out communal politics to create differences and conflicts in society. But now all these people have got exposed and they will never succeed in their aim," he said. Earlier during the day, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM)leader Asaduddin Owaisi had to suffer a heavy backlash from a group of people. Some people waved 'black flags' and shouted 'Go Back' and 'Modi Modi' slogans. The former Union Minister further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his eight-and-half-year tenure has never discriminated against Muslims. "When our PM didn't discriminate for development, then why should one discriminate for votes? We want people from all social sections to be included in mainstream development. So, we want that people from all communities, including those from minority community to support us. Because, till now they have only been "politically exploited" and not socially empowered," he said. On being asked about whether the Muslim votes will tilt more towards the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as compared to AIMIM, Naqvi said, "This trend is breaking now, along with all sections, the minority community is also standing with Narendra Modi and his leadership." The assembly elections in Gujarat are scheduled to be held on December 1 and 5, and the counting of votes will take place on December 8. The BJP has been in power in Gujarat for the last 27 years and the state is considered a BJP bastion.