Gujarat School News

Nirbhaya Brigade to inform children about Pocso
Times of India | 20 hours ago | |
Times of India
20 hours ago | |

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat State Legal Services Authority (GSLSA) has launched a programme of building a cadre of high school children to spread awareness across the state about the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) and the rights of child victims. The GSLSA has named it Nirbhaya Brigade and nearly 300 children from high schools across districts have been selected. On Saturday, they will learn about important provisions of Pocso Act, sexual offences against children and punishment for these offences. The programme has been organized by the authority under the guidance of the Gujarat high court judges.

Nirbhaya Brigade to inform children about Pocso
  • Nirbhaya Brigade to inform childrenabout Pocso
  • Times of India

    Ahmedabad: The Gujarat State Legal Services Authority (GSLSA) has launched a programme of building a cadre of high school children to spread awareness across the state about the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) and the rights of child victims. The GSLSA has named it Nirbhaya Brigade and nearly 300 children from high schools across districts have been selected. On Saturday, they will learn about important provisions of Pocso Act, sexual offences against children and punishment for these offences. The programme has been organized by the authority under the guidance of the Gujarat high court judges. TNN

Modi counters AAP pitch: ‘We got you schools, clinics and power’
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

In what appeared to be a veiled counter to the Aam Aadmi Party’s campaign focus on health, education and electricity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked all three issues at his public addresses throughout the day, even stating at Dahegam that over the past 20-25 years, the BJP in Gujarat has managed to fulfill and accomplish the basic necessities of roads, electricity and water in the state.With electricity being a consistent plank taken by Modi at all four of his public addresses on Thursday, he said at Modasa that in the past 20 years, his government had worked towards ensuring round-the-clock electricity supply to farmers in villages.“Electricity is as important as water. Without electricity, development is not possible. None of you would be sitting with mobile phones here without electricity … We set up so many electricity generation units that today Gujarat is electricity-surplus … Because of consistent electricity supply, during the Covid-19 pandemic, children in villages could continue their studies on cellphones. This change has been brought about by the honest work of the BJP government … Today, we are producing electricity from wind and solar energy … We have made entire villages into electricity generation units by setting up solar panels on rooftops … Today electricity not only comes free, you even get to earn from it while sitting at home, selling the surplus electricity generated … We worked to bring this revolution to each household … You can now sell electricity the way you would sell vegetables. The era of producing cheap electricity is over, it is the era of selling surplus electricity and we are working on it.” Referring to solar energy initiatives for farmers in Gujarat, Modi also said that the BJP government has made farmers, ‘anna-data’, as well as ‘urja-data’.At Bavla, Modi added: “20 years ago, one could not even imagine electricity for 24 hours”, further pointing out that “today in villages, electricity supply is as good as in the cities” of Gujarat. At Dahegam, he said that Gujarat has already accomplished development on the issues of sadak-bijli-paani (roads, power and water) in the last 20 years. “There was a time when elections would have issues like corruption, casteism, nepotism. Then came the time when issues of sadak-bijli-paani (roads, power and water) became big. Today, because of the work done in the last 20 years, Gujarat has accomplished all that was there to be done in these areas. Gujarat has come out of the crisis. For 20-25 years, Gujarat concentrated on developing basic amenities and emerged as a leading state of the country. Today, 24 hours power is available for domestic use in Gujarat,” Modi said.At Dahegam and Bavla, Modi also exhorted BJP’s development work on the educational front, stating at Dahegam that the state government has “transformed the education sector in the region”.“Around 20-25 years ago,” Modi said, “Gujarat’s education budget was Rs 1,600 crore. Today, it has reached Rs 33,000 crore… The (entire) budget of many states isn’t as much.”He added that Gandhinagar was becoming a big centre of education in terms of higher secondary schools, engineering and diploma colleges, and other universities like a Children’s University, Forensic Sciences University, Pandit Deendayal Energy University, Maritime University, Rashtriya Raksha University, Gujarat National Law University, and the Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG).At Bavla, Modi said, “Twenty years ago, [finding] a school at the taluka level was a stroke of fortune. Otherwise, one had to go to schools at the district-level.” He added that, “Twenty years ago, there was hopelessness when it came to education… Twenty years ago, there was only one university in Ahmedabad district. Today, there are 23 universities in the district.”Saying that historically, Gujarat had a prevalence of malnutrition, and that his government had worked in the last 20 years to ensure nutrition, Modi claimed at Modasa, “Due to efforts of the past 20 years, with the ‘Double Engine Sarkar’, BJP has taken the initiative to defeat malnutrition. It has especially benefitted our tribal women… Not only that, to ensure nutrition during pregnancy, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana’s benefits reach over three lakh households in Gujarat.”Attributing the Chiranjeevi Yojana, introduced in Gujarat in 2006 to encourage institutional deliveries, as the reason behind fall in infant mortality rates in the state, Modi also hailed Ayushman Bharat for reducing out-of-pocket expenditures in his public addresses. Noting in both Modasa and Bavla that women often suppress their health problems even when they are in extreme pain “because if they express their pain to their children, they think the family will be drowned in debt if she gets treatment”, Modi cited the Ayushman Bharat scheme for easing such difficulties for women. He went on to mention Ayushman Bharat at three of his public addresses, at Palanpur, Modasa and Bavla.

Modi counters AAP pitch: ‘We got you schools, clinics and power’
Gujarat: Poll boycott threat turns into tool to mark protest
Times of India | 1 day ago | |
Times of India
1 day ago | |

Leaders of political parties use the phrase ‘Janta Janardhan’ while referring to the electorate. Loosely translated, it means the people are an image of the almighty. In a democracy, one way for people to assert their rights is the threat to boycott an election. As in earlier elections, declarations of poll boycott have been made from several quarters. The reasons range from unmet demands for train stoppages to poor roads; from protests against illegal mining to lack of action against bootleggers. In Dhrafa village, part of the Jamjodhpur assembly constituency in Jamnagar, residents called for a boycott, seeking separate polling booths for men and women. The village panchayat has shot off a letter to the district collector in this regard. According to villagers, separate booths for men and women havebeen set up in all elections since the Independence. Villagers say women cover their faces with a veil in front of unknown menfolk, and a common polling booth is an absolute no-no. Village sarpanch Dharmendrasinh Jadeja said, “We have two booths — one at the girls’ school where women vote, and at the primary school where men vote. This time, no such arrangements were made. ” On November 19, the villagers met and decided to boycott the poll. In Navsari district, Ancheli village plans to boycott the election if train stoppages are not increased. “Before Covid, 18 local trains used to stop here. Nowthere are only eight stops. This has affected some 15,000 commuters from 19 villages who use the trains to get to work,” said Hitesh Naik, a farmer. After villagers put up posters calling for a boycott, workers of political parties visited the village and promised to resolve the issue. At Abrama in Valsad district, residents are protesting the poor condition of roads. Residents of Sona Plot have put up banners announcing the boycott. These were subsequently removed by civic officials and police. Government officials say construction of the road has been approved but work could not begin. The 900-odd residents of Tankalpada and Modidabas villages in Dang district are upset about roads and bridges damaged during monsoon. The villagers installed banners announcing a boycott. Similarly, people at Jira village of Savarkundla taluka in Amreli district have threatened to boycott the election, as a protest against illegal mining and the free availability of country liquor. Village sarpanch Daksha Chovadiya decided this in the presence of 500 villagers at a specially convened meeting. A memorandum to this effect was submitted to local authorities. At Raiyoli village in Balasinor, where the government has set up a dinosaur park, the village panchayat met in October and resolved against voting as the government has not provided proper connectivity between other places and Raiyoli.

Gujarat: Poll boycott threat turns into tool to mark protest
Rajkot school installs war trophy T-55 battle tank on its campus
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

Battle tank T-55, a war trophy of the Indian Army, was unveiled on the campus of Rajkumar College (RKC) in Rajkot Thursday. Designed by Soviet Russia and considered the best in their class then, the T-55 battle tanks played a key role in India’s victory in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war that led to creation of Bangladesh.India had procured T-55 tanks from Russia, Poland and Czechoslovakia in various batches during 1966-67. The T-55s were later phased out from armoury and have since classified them as derelict and war trophies. While those classified as derelict are used for weapons training, others classified as war trophies are given for public display. RKC has procured the tank from the Central Armoured Fighting Vehicle Depot in Pune through the Directorate of Ordnance, Ministry of Defence.“We are sure the display of the war trophy tank T55 in the school campus will continue to motivate more students of our school as well as other youths from our city to join the forces,” the school stated in a release. With this, RKC becomes the first non-military school in Gujarat to have a war trophy tank installed on its campus.Sujan Chinoy, director general of Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, and former Indian Ambassador to Japan and Mexico, unveiled the tank in the presence of Lieutenant General KS Brar, the director general of armoured Corps of the Indian Army and officers of the National Cadet Corps.Incidentally, a Mig-27 fighter jet decommissioned by the Indian Air Force is on public display in Kotecha Chowk of the city. Thus, the T-55 battle tank became the second war trophy on display in Rajkot.Chinoy, an alumnus of RKC, said he felt getting a battle tank installed in the college after finding one in Rajkumar College, Raipur in Chhattisgarh last year.

Rajkot school installs war trophy T-55 battle tank on its campus
AAP firebrand Gopal Italia heats up Katargam as he guns for BJP over ‘freebies vs welfare’
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

It is well past 9 pm on Wednesday. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Gujarat president Gopal Italia arrives at Chikoowadi in the Katargam Assembly constituency in Surat district, from where he is the party’s candidate. A stage has been set up on a key commercial street there, where people have gathered. Italia, 33, inaugurates his election office and steps onto the stage.“This is a rehearsal…we are practising,” Italia tells the gathering as people cheer. He shows them an orange mobile pouch with a lotus symbol on it. “Look at this mobile pouch carefully, the BJP is giving this toy free.”Italia then holds up a hair band with with a lotus symbol. “This is for our daughters, from the BJP – free. And we are promising free education for our daughters,” he says. He also shows a lapel pin marked with a lotus. “This toy is also being distributed free by Bhajapa (BJP) among all houses of Katargam. Now you have to decide. They give mobile covers free and we give health and education free. They give free sarees… but why don’t they provide free schooling to our daughters? And if someone has a vice then they give that vice free too,” he alleges, telling the rally: “They have free toys, we have free schools, healthcare and they ask us where will we get the money from if we give everything free.”Italia then goes on to allege how “a BJP legislator’s associate got a Rs 11 lakh contract to manage Lake Garden of Katargam”. “The garden was closed for the past year for renovation. The SMC (the BJP-ruled Surat Municipal Corporation) spent Rs 10 crore from our tax money, our blood and sweat money, to give away the garden to a private company for Rs 11 lakh for 20 years. Who knows if we will even live for that many years? The company set up shops inside the garden and is making Rs 20 lakh per month from them. When we oppose Vinubhai (Vinod Moradiya, the BJP candidate from Katargam), his men abuse us.”“Mahaul aa loko nu chhe, pan jeetshe BJP (The atmosphere is theirs (AAP) but BJP will win),” says Mahesh Vyas after his eyes met Italia’s for a few seconds during his door-to-door campaigning. Vyas has been running a cold drink shop at a shopping complex at Hari Darshan no Khado in Singhanpore for the last 13 years. “This is what I think. Who will give votes to Hindu virodhi?” he says, referring to some viral videos of Italia where he purportedly made remarks against temples and spiritual leaders.A firebrand leader known for his oratorical skills, Italia is making his electoral debut in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections, with the Katargam seat, dominated by Patidars, all set to witness a fierce three-cornered fight involving him, Moradiya, the outgoing urban development and urban housing minister, and the principal Opposition Congress’s candidate Kalpesh Variya. While Italia and Moradiya are Patidars, Variya belongs to the Prajapati community (OBC).Katargam has been the ruling BJP’s stronghold from where Moradiya had won by about 80,000 votes in the 2017 polls despite the Patidar quota agitation.The leaflets that the AAP workers left on Vyas’s shop counter grab his attention, as Italia proceeds to another shop in the complex, then canvassing from house to house, wearing marigold garlands, folding hands, obliging fans with selfies.The drummer boys lead the Italia team into the local Panchvati residential society as the AAP activists follow shouting slogans like “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat”. Women and children shower flower petals on Italia, some put a tilak on his forehead, garland him, as his team waves flags, puts stickers on the walls and distributes leaflets among the residents. The women read the leaflets carefully.Hansaben Lakhani stands there with a bag of flower petals. “Savarno! (broom, AAP’s poll symbol),” she says cheering Italia, when asked who will she vote for. This becomes a chorus as a group of women and girls join in. Her daughter says, “Why not? we voted for them last time as well”. They don’t elaborate, just adding that “we are Patidars”.Outside another local shopping complex, where Italia has just finished canvassing, a group of men sits outside a car battery shop. “The youth will all go for AAP, because they want change,” says Dinesh Bhadekiya, a migrant from Bhavnagar who works in a diamond factory. When asked for reasons, he says, “It’s not that we don’t like the BJP, but the candidate here (Moradiya) has a lot of attitude.”Italia’s team accompanied by drummers move on, with their megaphone blaring: “For better schools, healthcare, for saving yourselves from fat power bills, one chance to Kejriwal (AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal).Vote for Badlaav (change).” A man wearing the AAP’s white cap holds up a broom while others hold cut-outs of the broom symbol.Italia makes sure he misses no one, his tall frame coming to his advantage. “I am your candidate, please vote for AAP,” he says. A handshake here, a namaste there make up the rest of his voter outreach.In some residential societies, women come out to put tilak on his forehead and garland him. The band and the megaphone-fitted truck do most of the messaging, besides the leaflets.A local councillor Kishore Ruparelia, who won the ward no 7 seat from Katargam on the AAP ticket last year, is one of the members of Italia’s team, who tie AAP scarves to the gates of the societies they enter. Some gates already have lotus flags on them.As Italia’s campaign team leaves the society to head to Prabhunagar, a mixed neighbourhood of migrants, Ruparelia clears the litter from the street outside.In last year’s SMC polls, the AAP put up a remarkable show, bagging 27 of the total 120 seats. Although the BJP managed to clinch the SMC, the Congress was decimated with the AAP replacing the grand old party as the principal Opposition in the civic body. Four AAP councillors, however, defected to the saffron party since.Italia ends up covering about 12 kms in his door-to-door campaign in Ved Road and Singhanpore areas of the Katargam constituency during the day.In neighbouring Varachha, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is doing a roadshow, riding a truck with the BJP candidates as well as Union minister of state for railways Darshana Jardosh. The truck has a trailer with speakers blaring and lights flashing that illuminate the streets packed with diamond workers leaving their workplaces for the day.

AAP firebrand Gopal Italia heats up Katargam as he guns for BJP over ‘freebies vs welfare’
Education to inflation, Gujarat youth confident about issues but not parties
The Indian Express | 4 days ago | |
The Indian Express
4 days ago | |

Right across the Sheth Damodardas School of Commerce on the Gujarat University campus in Ahmedabad, Chetan CR runs a tea stall that he has named the “Engineer Tea Bar”. A qualified textile engineer, the 25-year-old began selling tea about two months ago. He is from the village of Pratapara in Bhavnagar district, which is about 170-odd km from Ahmedabad, and has been voting since he got his rights.“Our village comes under the Talaja Assembly constituency and will vote for BJP candidate Gautam Chauhan, who is from our village. Last time too, he was fielded from the seat but lost by a narrow margin,” says Chetan but adds that he is not sure if he will vote for Chauhan or incumbent MLA Kanu Baraiya of the Congress who won by just 1.28 per cent more vote last time.Chetan is part of a constituency of voters, the youth, who have a major say on who will form the government. There are nearly 11.74 lakh first-time voters this time in Gujarat, up from 11.8 lakh five years ago. Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys a lot of support among the youth and, in a special appeal to first-time voters, said at a rally in Valsad on November 19, “It is not (simply) that you have completed 18 years and are voting … you are going to become a participant in the shaping of the destiny of Gujarat, you are to become a policymaker of Gujarat.”One such first-time voter is Neha Vaghela, a Master’s student at the School of Languages at Gujarat University. But the prospect has left the 20-year-old more confused than excited. “All the parties, especially the ruling party, just campaign to collect votes for a month just before the elections. They showcase their work and ask for votes. We are very confused,” she says.Her friend Pratham Solanki, who studies at the private National College of Commerce and will also be voting for the first time, says, “The Congress was not seen anywhere in five years except for now. And the Aam Aadmi Party cannot be trusted, it is an outsider.” But he also points out that the government did nothing about paper leaks for government recruitment exams, an issue the AAP has taken up vociferously.Vaghela also thinks that the government’s focus should be on education. “Otherwise, the ruling government is fine. Unemployment may be an issue, but education is a greater issue.”Down the street from Chetan’s stall, Gujarat University students eat snacks at a food stall. One of them, aged 22 years, is a first-time voter and turns out to be inclined towards the AAP. “I want to vote for the AAP, it seems good. I have visited Delhi and seen their work. They have done some good work in education. In my family too, the decision is going to be between the AAP and the Congress. The BJP has not worked.”At the Iskon Gathiya on SG Highway, where Modi once held a “Chai pe Charcha” in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that propelled him to power, 35-year-old Sheikh Abu Zar is a regular. Zar has always gone for the “None of the Above”, or NOTA option. “I don’t think any of these parties should come to power. The Assembly elections are sheer timepass,” he says, sipping his tea amid a crowd of other regulars savouring their bun maskas and gathiyas (a type of deep-fried snack).Zar has been running an automobile centre across the road for the last 15 years. “It is not about which party comes into power in a state but which party is at the Centre. All the policies the BJP claims to have brought were initiated by the Congress. Even in Gujarat, the issues such as education were brought to the fore by the Congress. The BJP merely followed its path.”Asked why he does not vote for the Congress if he admires the party so much, Zar says, “Well, the candidate is important too. There are no solid leaders at the local level, in our constituency, whom we can bank on.”For 24-year-old Veena Solanki who belongs to the Baori community of Rajasthan and makes a living by selling winter wear outside the LD College of Engineering, inflation is the biggest issue. “I believe the Congress in power will take care of this. I have heard this in my family too, even from relatives in Rajasthan, where the Congress is in power. But even the AAP looks promising as these issues are on their manifesto. It is tough to decide.”

Education to inflation, Gujarat youth confident about issues but not parties
‘Bengal has 3.68 lakh vacancies. Mamata will do what Assam did, abolish 8,000 posts’: CPM youth leader
The Indian Express | 5 days ago | |
The Indian Express
5 days ago | |

The CPIM’s youth and student wing, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), has been standing behind protesting students who claim they were unfairly denied government school teaching jobs in what has now blown up into the West Bengal TET (Teachers’ Eligibility Test) scam, from the very first day. The DYFI state secretary, Minakshi Mukherjee, is leading the movement from the front. Protesters often talk about her as the “captain” of this movement. She spoke to The Indian Express on a range of topics. Excerpts:Is there any data on how many people have landed jobs from these melas? An educated person will ask for the data. If I’m conducting a Rozgar Mela, won’t I have the data? If India is now “skilled”, as the Centre wants us to believe, what were Indians doing in Qatar, working as labourers to build the infrastructure for the ongoing football World Cup? What is worse, is to just go to any city in India and take a dip into the crowd. You will see someone speaking in Bengali. They were jobless in West Bengal, so they are going to other states.All I can say is that she must be examined for chemical imbalance in her brain. You will get your answer if you go to Singur and talk to the people now. The then-Opposition leader [Mamata Banerjee] filed a case in courts against the [then Left Front] government. By the time the court ruling came, she was the Chief Minister, and yet she lost the case. Her statement is like “Chit bhi meri, pat bhi meri (Heads I win, tails you lose)”.The government is not interested in a healthy debate, because, for that, it has to be honest and responsible. If the government’s policy is to encourage corruption and steal, there’s no liability and any fair discussion is not possible. That’s why the ruling class resorts to suppressing such movements for accountability, and that’s what this government is doing.Firstly, we want to take the movement forward. Secondly, we want to explore if there is any solution to this problem. Remember, this has been going on for 11 years. Let me recount a personal experience to explain the current stand-off. On the day we gave a deputation to the state education minister, he said, “I have heard that lakhs of boys and girls have sat for the exam, but only a few thousand are present in the Dharmatala protest!” What he wanted to say is that it’s not a widespread concern, that all the boys and girls who have appeared for the exam should come up at the protest for the government to sit up and take notice! In other words, the government is saying “Do what you can do. I don’t bother”.A lot of people who don’t have the qualification! We’re getting information that boys and girls who failed, landed jobs. It might be a job, but it comes with huge responsibility and requires accountability.Teachers sacrifice a lot to raise the profile of the school. Who do they sacrifice for? Those who go to government schools. Who goes to government schools? Common people, the poor, those who need mid-day meals in schools. If that is the case, the state’s working people will suffer. So they should also be included in the movement, and it will only intensify. This fight is not only for the children who are going to study in government schools. Those who don’t send their sons and daughters to government schools also pay tax. The government can’t do whatever it wants with their tax money just because their sons and daughters are not being educated by the government.The former state education minister is in jail. So are an MLA and many education department officers. So, the corruption was not carried out by a single man. The problem is with the government’s policy. In other words, this government needs to go.Our job is to stand beside these aspirants. In this fight, we have already lost our comrade Maidul Islam Middya. Many other comrades were jailed, or have false cases lodged against them. So, this is our fight too, and it will continue.The CBI and the ED did not spontaneously launch their investigations. Why did they have to be roped in? Because the job aspirants have been sitting on roads for 11 years. They have filed many cases, and many officials, including the chief minister, have promised them justice, but done nothing. People have started to lose faith in this government. Only after that, when the court ordered CBI to investigate, did the central agencies come and start their probe. We want the CBI and ED to follow the law. After all, they too are paid through our tax money. But we have to continue our fight, and won’t withdraw.West Bengal currently has 3.68 lakh vacancies in government jobs. But we know this state government will do exactly what the Assam government did. They just abolished 8,000 vacant posts. This government has already started saying it will abolish 50,000 vacant posts in our municipalities. We believe you have to create more new posts to give better service to the people. The government has appointed two lakh people on contract instead. Why were they not given permanent appointments? If this government can’t take proper policy decisions, we have to change it. So, this fight is a bigger fight. It’s not only to set the state’s education system right, but to challenge this government’s wrong policies in every sector. We decided that for such a big fight, we have to reach out at the booth-level, and knock on the doors of every resident of the state.This is not the scenario only in West Bengal, but across the country. The Centre has privatised everything, from railways, BSNL, coal, to airlines, transforming the people into modern slaves. In India, one in nine people are jobless. Meanwhile, after the bridge collapse in Gujarat [Morbi], the Prime Minister said it was God’s wish. When Assam was flooded, instead of relief, the state Chief Minister offered puja to the river with taxpayers’ money! It’s going on in every part of the country.

‘Bengal has 3.68 lakh vacancies. Mamata will do what Assam did, abolish 8,000 posts’: CPM youth leader
Morbi Congress candidate avoids using bridge tragedy for canvassing
The Indian Express | 6 days ago | |
The Indian Express
6 days ago | |

Jayantilal Jerajbhai Patel, the Congress candidate from the Morbi Assembly constituency, and a group of around 50 Congress workers hit the Vavdi Road in the town on a Friday morning. A DJ system mounted on a multi-utility vehicle announces Patel’s arrival even as workers of his party go from one shop after another and homes to distribute pamphlets and seek votes for their candidate.The mood is largely sombre in the tile town that is yet to recover from the Jhulto Pul suspension bridge collapse that had left 135 dead nearly 20 days ago. The Congress workers soon stopped at Kanaiya Tea Stall near Ramapir temple for a tea break. As the Congress leaders shower praises on the tea, Bharat Susra, the owner of the tea stall, merely smiles. But he turns serious at the mention of the Jhulto Pul suspension bridge collapse. “Whether it will have any bearing on the election, one can tell only after the results of the polls are announced,” he says. Patel, the incumbent president of Morbi district unit of the Congress, is trying his luck for the seventh time in the Assembly election. He had lost five consecutive elections from the seat between 1990 and 2007. Four of those—in 1995, 1998, 2002 and 2007—had come against Kantilal Amrutiya (the current BJP candidate from Morbi) after Patel lost his maiden Assembly election to Babubhai Jashbhai Patel, the former chief minister of Gujarat. After a gap of 13 years, the Congress fielded him in a bypoll in 2020 after Brijesh Merja, who was elected MLA on a Congress ticket, defected to the BJP and sought a re-election as a BJP nominee. But Patel lost by 4,649 votes.But the Congress leader, a commerce graduate, does not like to talk about his defeats and their reasons. “You look at the margin of my defeats. I lost all elections narrowly,” he tells The Indian Express.So what can change this time? “People have been fed up with the 27-year-long reign of the BJP. Look at price rise, unemployment levels and the way the youth are becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. These issues are grinding the poor and the middle-class,” says Patel, who runs ceramic factories and has interest in real estate business.When reminded that the BJP claims unprecedented development during its rule, the Congressman hits back. “You see what happened to Jhulto Pul and then talk about the unprecedented development said to have been achieved during the BJP regime. The BJP talks about the development even as Morbi’s pride (Jhulto Pul), which was built by the royal family 140 years ago, came crashing down, killing 150 (sic) residents. It’s been 18 days since and yet, no concrete step has been taken,” Patel says, underlining that the BJP is ruling Morbi Municipality that owns the bridge. “The first question the Gujarat High Court asked two days ago was why the municipality was not being superseded and why no one was being held accountable.”He also did not forget to target Amrutiya for the viral video of him trying to rescue people from the river. “The BJP is not respecting mrutyuno malajo (sadness caused by deaths). My rival was shooting videos in the river and getting his photos clicked. This is BJP’s reality. When the Prime Minister visits, instead of respecting the mood caused by deaths, the hospital is given a fresh coat of paint, new water coolers and new furniture placed… Nothing can be more tragic than this. This is an insult to not only Morbi but the people of Gujarat also.” He adds that Alpesh Kothiya, the president of Morbi Youth Congress, and his team also reached the site soon after and jumped into the river and rescued people. “We have photos to prove that. But unlike BJP leaders, we will never upload them on social media to seek political mileage,” the Congress leader says adding he too had reached the scene of accident within 20 minutes. That said, the Congress leader does not mention the bridge tragedy while campaigning. Instead, his pamphlets promise free electricity, free medical treatment up to Rs10 lakh, Rs 3,000 unemployment allowance, free bus rides and hostels to students from rural areas. “It (the bridge collapse) is not a poll issue as people have still not overcome the grief. People will never be able to forget it. So, in such a sombre mood, we are campaigning with simplicity and requesting people to support us,” says Patel. As the campaign resumes after the tea break, Bharat Bakutra, who owns a mobile phone shop adjacent to the tea stall, says he’s disillusioned with politicians. “The government primary school building in my village has been dilapidated for around a decade and the school has been running out of rented premises since. Nothing has happened despite repeated representations. It seems politicians don’t take their own words seriously. Therefore, the residents didn’t allow Amrutiya to campaign in the village a couple of days ago,” 34-year-old Bakutra, a resident of Nani Barar, a village around 50 km away from Morbi town, said, adding the villagers have decided to boycott the Assembly election. As the 66-year-old Patel goes ahead with the campaign, wearing a faint smile and shaking hands with people, Kanti Khokhar (65), a paan shop owner, says, “He is a good man with good ideas but has lost successive elections due to a lack of wider public support… But he might be able to break the jinx this time. The BJP has been winning this Assembly seat and Morbi municipality for the past 25 years but they have nothing great to show. The town lacks cleanliness. There are a few public urinals in the commercial areas. People are fed up with those who give big promises but do little substantial. The Jhulto Pul collapse has exposed them”.However, Bharat Surani, a 33-year-old hairdresser disagrees. “I vote for a good candidate from a good party who has the capacity to provide facilities like good roads, streetlights and drainage systems. Thanks to Modi, BJP looks pretty and Amrutiya has been winning here for the past 25 years, meaning people consider him a worthy politician. Patel is a good man but has been losing because he’s with the Congress. People love him but it’s just that BJP has been in power and the lady luck hasn’t smiled on Patel so far.” He feels the bridge collapse would not affect the election because people were also responsible for the tragedy as they crowded the bridge beyond its capacity.

Morbi Congress candidate avoids using bridge tragedy for canvassing
BJP losing, Cong to lose its deposit, AAP will form govt in Gujarat: Kejriwal
The Indian Express | 6 days ago | |
The Indian Express
6 days ago | |

Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday carried out a roadshow in Halol of Panchmahals district of central Gujarat where he repeated his claim that the AAP is going to form the government in Gujarat.“Bharatiya Janata Party haar rahi hain, Congress ki zamanat japt ho rahi hain, AAP ki sarkar banane ja rahi hain (BJP is losing, Congress will lose its deposit and AAP is going to form government),” he said, alleging that because of AAP’s “impending victory”, “the BJP has asked the media to not show Kejriwal… But you all do Facebook live, your camera is our TV camera”.Kejriwal was accompanied by two AAP candidates from Halol and neighbouring Chhota Udepur constituencies, Bharat Rathva and Arjun Rathva respectively.Reiterating AAP’s poll promises on free electricity, good schools, free medical treatment and unemployment allowance, Kejriwal said, “Those raising slogans ‘Modi, Modi’…raise slogans for whoever you want, we will win your hearts and bring you to our party one day. There is no party that talks about schools, medical treatment, employment… our only talks (are) about people’s issues… give me just five years…,” the Delhi CM said.Halol constituency is currently represented by BJP MLA and former minister Jaydrathsinh Parmar, whereas, Congress MLA from Chhota Udepur constituency Mohansinh Rathva resigned earlier this month as MLA and as primary member of Congress. The BJP has fielded Mohansinh’s son Rajendrasinh as its candidate from Chhota Udepur constituency.

BJP losing, Cong to lose its deposit, AAP will form govt in Gujarat: Kejriwal
Gujarat: Pro-Modi chants raised during Kejriwal’s roadshow, he says AAP will win hearts of slogan-shouters
The Indian Express | 6 days ago | |
The Indian Express
6 days ago | |

A group of people shouted slogans in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s roadshow on Sunday in Gujarat, where Assembly elections will be held next month.The incident took place at Halol in Panchmahals district in the evening, when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener was addressing a gathering during the roadshow.Responding to it, Kejriwal said they may shout slogans in support of whoever they want, but it is he who will build schools for their children and provide free electricity. He also said that the AAP will one day win the hearts of those raising pro-Modi slogans.Addressing the gathering during the roadshow, Kejriwal said, “Some friends are shouting ‘Modi, Modi’. I would like to tell them that you may shout slogans in support of whoever you want, but it is Kejriwal who will make schools for your children. However much you shout slogans, it is Kejriwal who will offer free electricity to you.” “We have no enmity with anyone. You may shout slogans in support of whoever you want. One day we will win your heart and bring your to our party,” he said.A large number of youths in the state were unemployed, he said while reiterating his party’s ‘guarantees’ of jobs and Rs 3,000 unemployment allowance to job aspirants.“There is no party that talks about schools. Did any party promise to build schools, hospitals and provide jobs and free electricity? It is only our party which talks about these issues,” he claimed.Kejriwal said that people may support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if they believe in hooliganism and like to hurl abuses.“If you want to get schools constructed, come to me. I am an engineer. If you need electricity, hospitals or roads, then come to me. Else go to them for hooliganism,” he said.“I am here to ask for five years. You gave them 27 years, give me five years. If I do not deliver, I will never come to you again,” he added.The AAP is contesting all 182 seats in Gujarat for the first time in the next month’s elections. The party has positioned itself as the main contender to the ruling BJP and Kejriwal has been campaigning aggressively for his candidates.

Gujarat: Pro-Modi chants raised during Kejriwal’s roadshow, he says AAP will win hearts of slogan-shouters
  • "One Day We Will...": Arvind Kejriwal On "Modi, Modi" Chants In Gujarat
  • Ndtv

    Mr Kejriwal said that people may support BJP if they believe in hooliganism.New Delhi: A group of people shouted slogans in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's roadshow on Sunday in Gujarat, where Assembly elections will be held next month. The incident took place at Halol in Panchmahals district in the evening, when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener was addressing a gathering during the roadshow.Responding to it, Mr Kejriwal said they may shout slogans in support of whoever they want, but it is he who will build schools for their children and provide free electricity. He also said that the AAP will one day win the hearts of those raising pro-Modi slogans.Addressing the gathering during the roadshow, Mr Kejriwal said, "Some friends are shouting 'Modi, Modi'. I would like to tell them that you may shout slogans in support of whoever you want, but it is Kejriwal who will make schools for your children. However much you shout slogans, it is Kejriwal who will offer free electricity to you." "We have no enmity with anyone. You may shout slogans in support of whoever you want. One day we will win your heart and bring you to our party," he said.A large number of youths in the state were unemployed, he said while reiterating his party's 'guarantees' of jobs and Rs 3,000 unemployment allowance to job aspirants."There is no party that talks about schools. Did any party promise to build schools, hospitals and provide jobs and free electricity? It is only our party which talks about these issues," he claimed.Mr Kejriwal said that people may support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if they believe in hooliganism and like to hurl abuses."If you want to get schools constructed, come to me. I am an engineer. If you need electricity, hospitals or roads, then come to me. Else go to them for hooliganism," he said."I am here to ask for five years. You gave them 27 years, give me five years. If I do not deliver, I will never come to you again," he added.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe AAP is contesting all 182 seats in Gujarat for the first time in the next month's elections. The party has positioned itself as the main contender to the ruling BJP and Mr Kejriwal has been campaigning aggressively for his candidates.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayMangaluru Auto Explosion "Act Of Terror", Pressure Cooker Found: Top Cop

Gujarat: Underprivileged children splurge on happiness at this unique mall
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

VADODARA/ANAND: It was nothing less than a visit to paradise for nearly 550 children from poor sections of the society studying in government schools when the 'Earth Mega Mall' opened its doors for them. The children splurged on the sizeable collection of toys, clothes, stationery, and books of their choice in milk city Anand, thanks to long-drawn efforts by the Voluntary Nature Conservancy (formerly known as Vidyanagar Nature Club) aimed at spreading smiles on these little faces. The collection drive had started before Diwali festivities was finally put together for the mega event organized inside the Maruti Solaris Mall in Anand. Through the collection drive, VNC's team had collected nearly 15,000 items which were segregated in 32 segments by 100-odd medical students. "The aim of putting up this mall was not only to help children from underprivileged sections of the society but also to reduce the pressure on Mother Nature to produce more," said Anirudh Vasava, executive director of VNC. "We believe in the principle of reduce, reuse and recycle to limit the pressure on Mother Nature for resources. We had started the drive accepting donations of items such as clothes, toys, bags, stationery which were in good condition and can be reused by keeping donation boxes at 15 elite schools of Anand region," he said. "On Friday, children from nine government schools most of them located on the outskirts of the city or besides slum areas were invited for the event," he said. "Each child was handed over a cloth bag consisting of 1,500 smiley points. Using the smiley points, they were able to buy things. There were many who stepped inside and got experience of a mall for the first time in their life. By giving the children the choice of selecting the items, we also wanted to ensure that their self-respect in maintained," he said. Students from Classes 6 to 8, in the age group of 12 to 14 years, were invited for the event which was promoted by VNC as an unique mall where happiness is sold against the smiles.

Gujarat: Underprivileged children splurge on happiness at this unique mall
Gujarat: GIFT to become Global City, its size to triple
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

AHMEDABAD: Home to the country's first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), the Gujarat International Finance-Tec (GIFT) City in Gandhinagar is all set to be identified as GIFT Global City, as it grows three-fold bigger. Sources privy to the development confirmed that the state government has cleared decks for GIFT City to increase its notified area from existing 1,000 acres to 3,300 acres. The decision was made in response to a proposal by GIFT Company Limited to expand the limits of GIFT City area. GIFT Urban Development Authority (GIFTUDA) is required to submit a draft development plan for the area over the next 12 months. Fresh investments of Rs 2.4 lakh crore are expected to pour into the GIFT City and this will strengthen Gujarat's position on the global financial services map, said sources. The state government plans to develop the expanse as GIFT Global City, a leg-up from its current identity of GIFT Smart City. The additional 2,300 acres of land will be a combination of state-owned land in addition to privately held land parcels, which will be soon notified by the state government, sources confirmed. GIFTUDA will also oversee development of the additional land. "Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, and GIFT City can be developed as a Tri-City. A huge section of the proposed land to be acquired belongs to the state and therefore, would be transferred under GIFTUDA. The private land will be earmarked for use, similar to a town-planning scheme, instead of acquiring it," said a senior official not willing to be named. Plans to develop schools, hospitals, recreational and commercial zones on the GIFT City campus will be extrapolated to the additional area too. A dedicated riverfront along the Sabarmati river stretch on the campus will also come up. Besides IFSCA, GIFT City is also home to two international exchanges with an average daily trading volume of $11 billion, 13 fintech entities and Indian and foreign banks.

Gujarat: GIFT to become Global City, its size to triple
Gujarat This Week: Vadodara heritage walks, stand-up comedy, film, theatre and much more
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Learn more about Vadodara’s threatened species, explore Laurie Baker architecture and watch Gujarat’s first female stand-up comic’s show in Ahmedabad. Here’s what is happening in Gujarat from November 19 to November 25.Event: Crocodile Watch on VishwamitriAbout the event: As a part of Vadodara’s People Heritage Festival, which celebrates the city’s 511th anniversary, join the walk by Siddharth Amin of the Life with Wildlife Foundation to spot marsh crocodiles, a threatened species, in the river of your city.Event: Unhealing WoundsAbout the event: An exhibition on the works of Somnath Hore, curated by K S Radhakrishnan, celebrating 100 years of one of the great artists of the 20th century. It is on his famous series of white-on-white prints—made using paper pulp and wax sheets that he slashed, lacerated, and bruised—which he called “wounds”.Venue: Arthshila Ahmedabad, Panjrapol, Ambawadi, AhmedabadOrganiser: Arthshila AhmedabadHow to attend: Open for allDate and time: November 20 (Sunday) to December 2022, opening at 6.30pmEvent: Mandi (Hindi)About the event: The 1983 Shyam Benegal film is based on Ghulam Abbas’s Urdu short story “Anandi”. Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Shabana Azami, Smita Patil, Soni Razdan, the film is a satire on the hypocrisy of society exploring the world of sex workers with empathy and respect.Venue: Arthshila Ahmedabad, Panjrapol, Ambawadi, AhmedabadOrganisers: Arthshila AhmedabadHow to attend: Open for allDate and time: November 19 (Saturday)- November 20 (Sunday), 11:30 amEvent: KathastropheAbout the event: Listen to the stories under the sky by Raam Mori, Preeti Das, Geetarsh Kaur and Harsh Dharaiya. Different genres will be narrated in Gujarati, Hindi and English.Venue: Natarani Amphitheatre, Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Ashram Road, Usmanpura, AhmedabadOrganisers: Natarani AmphitheatreHow to attend: Book hereDate and time: November 24 (Thursday), 9pmEvent: Laughgasm (stand-up comedy)About the event: Experience fits of laughter by Gujarat’s first female stand-up comic, Preeti Das, and a mix of other stand-up sets.Venue: Cafe Natarani, Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Ashram Road, Usmanpura, AhmedabadOrganisers: Natarani AmphitheatreHow to attend: Book hereDate and time: November 25 (Friday), 7pmEvent: Dang’s Oral Folklore-The Tale of KanasariAbout the event: As part of Express it Loud’s fourth edition of Abhivyakti, watch the theatre performance on Dang’s folklore by P S Chari.Venue: Amphitheatre, Upasana School of Performing Arts, Gujarat University campusOrganisers: Abhivyakti City Arts ProjectHow to attend: Open to allDate and time: November 19 (Saturday), 7.15pm; November 20 (Sunday), 9.15pmEvent: A Psychedelic JourneyAbout the event: As part of Express it Loud’s Abhivyakti, a dance performance by Jaimil Joshi—a curator at Abhivyakti City Arts Project and a faculty member of performing arts at Gujarat Law Society UniversityVenue: Platform, Upasana School of Performing Arts, Gujarat University campusOrganisers: Abhivyakti City Arts ProjectHow to attend: Open to allDate and time: November 19 (Saturday) and November 23 (Wednesday), 8.30pmEvent: Dariya DescantAbout the event: As part of Express it Loud’s Abhivyakti, a music performance by the Reflection bandVenue: Amphitheatre, Upasana School of Performing Arts, Gujarat University campusOrganisers: Abhivyakti City Arts ProjectHow to attend: Open to allDate and time: November 19 (Saturday) and November 23 (Wednesday), 9.15pmEvent: Hustle The ShuffleAbout the event: As part of Express It Loud’s Abhivyakti, a dance performance by Deepak Sharma.Venue: Platform, Upasana School of Performing Arts, Gujarat University campusOrganisers: Abhivyakti City Arts ProjectHow to attend: Open to allDate and time: November 20 (Sunday), 8.30 pm and November 22 (Tuesday), 6.45pmEvent: Marilynbai Monroe Cha TamashaAbout the event: As part of Express It Loud’s Abhivyakti, enjoy the theatre performance by Mahesh Godheswar, a National School of Drama graduate who has worked in films.Venue: Auditorium, Upasana School of Performing Arts, Gujarat University campusOrganisers: Abhivyakti City Arts ProjectHow to attend: Open to allDate and time: November 25 (Friday), 7.15pm

Gujarat This Week: Vadodara heritage walks, stand-up comedy, film, theatre and much more
Dhanraj Parimal Nathwani elected Gujarat Cricket Association president
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

AHMEDABAD: Dhanraj Parimal Nathwani was unanimously elected as the president of Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) on Saturday. Nathwani, who had held the post of vice-president, will take over the position left vacant by union home minister Amit Shah. GCA also announced that Hemantbhai Contractor will be the vice-president, Anilbhai Patel will be the secretary, Mayurbhai Patel will be the joint-secretary and Bharat Zaveri will be the treasurer with immediate effect. Commenting on his appointment, Nathwani said: "I consider it a great honour to be appointed as president of GCA. I am thankful to our former presidents, Amit Shah and Jay Shah and members of the association for having given me the opportunity to serve the noble game of cricket in Gujarat. "I am determined to accelerate their vision, and that of our former president and Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, of spreading the sport into remote areas of Gujarat and work towards developing infrastructure and creating opportunities for talented boys and girls at the grassroots level." An enthusiastic cricket lover, Nathwani played a key role in the development of the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad, which is spread across 63 acres and can accommodate more than 1.3 lakh fans. An alumnus of the Regent's Business School in London, where he studied International Business, Nathwani is an MBA with a specialisation in Corporate Law and Public Relations Management from the National Institute of Management.

Dhanraj Parimal Nathwani elected Gujarat Cricket Association president
IIM Ahmedabad appoints Pankaj R Patel as new chairperson
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) Wednesday announced the appointment of Pankaj R Patel as the new chairperson of its Board of Governors.Chairman of Zydus Lifesciences Ltd, Patel succeeds Kumar Mangalam Birla, who completed his four-year term Tuesday, November 15. Patel is the fourteenth chairperson of the IIMA since its inception in 1961. Patel has been a member of the IIMA Board of Governors for eight years.Sharing his views on taking on this all-important role, Patel said in a statement issued by the institute, “My appointment as a chairperson comes at an important juncture for the Institute when it is at the cusp of the next phase of its growth. I am excited to be a part of this esteemed institute and look forward to working with the Board of Governors, faculty members, students, staff members, the alumni group, and all other relevant stakeholders. The Board envisages a robust growth for the IIMA and has outlined plans to lead the Institute in this direction. I will be happy to support and share my expertise to help the Board in bringing alive our collective vision for the Institute.”Patel’s Zydus Lifesciences Ltd is a discovery-driven, global life sciences company with operations in 55 countries. He combines both research and techno-commercial expertise and has published over 100 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and is a co-inventor in more than 64 patents.Patel was recently also appointed as the part-time non-official director in the Central Board of the Reserve Bank of India. He is on the Governing Board of IIM Udaipur; Invest India and India Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. He is also a member of the CEO Advisory Committee of International Generics and Biosimilars Association (IGBA).Also a former president of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Patel officiates on the board of several not-for-profit and charitable institutions. Patel is the executive chairman, vice president and trustee of the Gujarat Cancer Society and chairman of the Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute, one of the largest cancer centres in India.Patel also officiates as the chairman of the Deaf and Mute School, Ahmedabad. He is also a director and chairman of the Board of Zydus Foundation, which set up Zydus Hospital and Medical College, Dahod.In recognition of his contributions to the healthcare industry in India, Patel is a recipient of several awards, including the Acharya PC Ray Memorial Gold Medal Award and the Eminent Pharmacist Award.

IIM Ahmedabad appoints Pankaj R Patel as new chairperson