AHMEDABAD: With polls around the corner, defection is a common occurrence in political parties. But switching gears to join camps of independent candidates is the new game plan this assembly election. Vadodara district is in the limelight following two strong BJP rebels contesting as independents on two seats. While Dinesh Patel aka Dinumama is contesting from the Padra seat, two other rebels – Dharmendrasinh Vaghela and Madhu Shrivastava – jumped in the fray from the Waghodia constituency. Both Patel and Waghela have workersfrom the BJP joining their camps in good numbers. It is Patel, who has been with both the Congress and the BJP, who seems to be hurting BJP the most, as senior party workers ranging from Padra taluka panchayat members to Padra municipality councillors joined him. Even persons holding prominent posts in the BJP have joined hands with Patel. Many young BJP members joined Vaghela after they were issued notices by the party for working for him. “They had been working for us for a while. We were hoping for a ticket but didn’t get one so Vaghela is contesting as an independent,” said an aide.
VADODARA: If you have received a friend request on Instagram from 'Alex', IGNORE if it's not a known person, warn cops. Why? It may turn out to be actually a cyber fraud gang, claim cybercrime sleuths who have busted an online racket and arrested two Nigerian nationals from Delhi. Interrogation of the duo, identified as 29-year-old Rawlings Oshuor and 28-year-old Yao Theopile, has revealed that they have duped many persons across the country. "We confiscated their mobile phones and checked the contents. They had made 73 different Instagram accounts to dupe people, especially women. Interestingly, names of all the accounts started with Alex," said Hardik Makadia, ACP (cybercrime). They used to download photos and videos of some good looking man called Alex and post his pictures on the bogus Instagram ids. "They sent friend requests to women from these bogus IDs and befriended them. Many unsuspecting users accounts and fell for it thinking they are genuine," Makadia told TOI. The accused then start sharing sob stories of their families or tell the victims that their wives had died. When the victim developed an emotional relationship, the accused used to take the next step and start talking about gifts. "They would tell the women that they were sending expensive gifts from abroad and asked the victims to pay for the customs or excise duty. Some women fell for the trick and paid the money," he said. After the victims transferred the money online, the duo cut off all contacts. They had targeted a woman in Vadodara who filed a complaint with the cybercrime police, "We tracked them in Delhi from where they were running this racket. We have seized 25 mobile phones too," Makadia said.
Yogesh Patel, the BJP candidate from Manjalpur in VadodaraVadodara: At 76, his appetite for a political fight has once again landed him in the thick of electioneering in Gujarat. When reminded by NDTV about the 75-year age-limit stipulated by his own party for its candidates, pat came the reply: "Look at Joe Biden. He's managing America at 80."Yogesh Patel, the BJP candidate from Manjalpur constituency in Vadodara, is contesting the Assembly elections for the eighth time and claims that his "hosh" (sense) and "josh" (resilience) will once again see him through, no matter his ripe old age.Reacting to a query on why was his party compelled to relax its own stipulation and field a candidate who is 76 years old, Mr Patel said: "I have always been in close contact with the people, even during times when I wasn't an MLA. That stands me in good stead."The BJP candidate, an MLA for 32 years, claimed that he has always worked for the people with all his heart and will be fighting this election in right earnest.When asked to comment about the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) and Congress candidates' claims that this time they will be successful in Manjalpur, Mr Patel said: "Just wait for the results on December 8.""I'm quite sure that the AAP and Congress candidates in my constituency will both lose their deposits," a confident Mr Patel told NDTV while campaigning from his open-top four-wheel drive that has kept him company since his first campaign as a candidate, three decades ago.Elaborating on why he considers himself to be young at heart, the BJP candidate said there are people in their 20s who'd be idling their time at home. "For me, that's 'ageing'. Now, consider Joe Biden. He's managing entire America at 80. So age doesn't really count."PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comHe further said that maintaining punctuality in every sphere of life has kept him going for so long.Elections are scheduled to be held in Gujarat on December 1 and 5. Votes will be counted on December 8.
Punjab Chief Minister and senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Bhagwant Mann Thursday said that the people of Gujarat did not have a party to choose other than BJP, but now they one — referring to AAP.“Earlier, you did not have a choice. Now you have a choice which cleans (broom, the party’s symbol),” said Mann in a roadshow in Nandod reiterating the the party’s guarantees of free electricity, employment, regularisation of outsource employees, and raising issues like paper leaks.Mann also attacked the media and their surveys that displayed less seats for AAP, terming them “godi media”.Mann on Thursday held roadshows in four constituencies of central Gujarat. Nandod, a reserved seat for the Scheduled Tribe communities, in Narmada district is currently represented by Congress MLA Premsinh Vasava.Mann also held roadshows in Karjan in Vadodara, and Sankheda and Jetpur in Chhota Udepur district.
The Gujarat BJP has suspended 19 of its rebel leaders so far for filing nominations against the party’s official candidates in the upcoming state Assembly polls.While most of such BJP rebels took the Independent route, three chose the Congress and one the AAP to contest the polls.Of the three rebels who bagged the Congress tickets – Khatubhai Pagi (Shehra seat), Chhatrasinh Gunjariya (Dhrangadhra) and Kuldeepsinh Raulji (Savli) – Raulji’s exit from the BJP in October after being “sidelined” by the party may hurt its prospects.A director at the Baroda Dairy and a leader who started off as a milk union leader, Raulji is popular in Savli. He first won as an Independent candidate in 2009. He went on to join the BJP in 2012, winning on its ticket that year and in 2017.The BJP rebel who switched to the AAP is Ketan Patel, a tribal leader from the Pardi constituency in Valsad district.In the Padra constituency of the Vadodara district, Dinesh Patel alias Dinu Mama, a former two-term BJP MLA from the seat, filed his nomination as an Independent. Padra has long been a bastion of the BJP, which has not lost a seat there since 1985 until 2017, when the Congress’s Jaspal Singh Thakor won it with a margin of 20,000 votes.Dinesh Patel is also on the board of Baroda Dairy and serves as its chairman. He first won as an Independent in 2007 and joined the BJP in 2012. Patel’s exit from the saffron party could impact the voting patterns in the Padra constituency, where he is still said to have a support base.Politician, actor and producer Madhu Shrivastav, known for his flamboyant image, is another leader to have gone the Independent way. Shrivastav, the sitting Waghodia MLA since 1995, joined politics in 1982 by winning the civic body polls of Vadodara.In 1985, he formed a political outfit called Lokshahi Morcha along with his cousin Chandrakant Shrivastav, who is currently a Congress corporator in Vadodara. He joined the BJP in 1996.During his tenure as MLA, Shrivastav has been in the public eye owing to a range of controversies, including scuffles with media persons. Shrivastav had also threatened to part ways with the party several times in the past, but the BJP had largely been able to placate him. Following one such episode in March 2019, he was appointed as the chairperson of the Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation Ltd (GIACL).BJP’s Harshad Vasava, a former two-time MLA and the president of its tribal cell, has filed his nomination papers as an Independent candidate from Nandod in Narmada district.In Lunawada of Mahisagar district, the BJP suspended SM Khant and JP Patel, both of whom filed nominations as Independents against sitting BJP MLA Jignesh Sevak. The party suspended Ramesh Zala and Amarsinh Zala in Anand for filing nominations against party candidates from Umreth and Khambhat constituencies respectively.In north Gujarat, comprising Mehsana, Patan, Banaskantha, Aravalli, Sabarkantha and Gandhinagar districts, the BJP suspended several party leaders including Dhavalsinh Zala, Ramsinh Thakor, Mavji Desai and Lebaji Thakor for filing their nominations as Independents from Bayad (Aravalli), Kheralu (Mehsana), Dhanera (Banaskantha) and Deesa (Banaskantha), respectively.Miffed with the party for being denied a ticket, Dhavalsinh Zala of the Bayad constituency has also filed his nomination as an Independent candidate. Zala, a close aide of OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, was elected on the Congress ticket from Bayad in 2017. He resigned from the party in 2019 to join the BJP with Thakor. Zala, however, lost the by-election held subsequently.In Keshod, Rajkot Rural, Veraval and Rajula constituencies of the Saurashtra region, BJP leaders Arvind Ladani, Bharat Chavda, Uday Shah and Karan Baraiya have been suspended from the party.
VADODARA: More than 500 students from across Gujarat will come to Vadodara to take part in the three-day conference as the city will host Gujarat’s biggest youth parliament. City-based youth platform Chhatra Sansad in association with a private school in Vasna is hosting the three-day conference starting on November 25. Students will take part in the conference where various committees will be formed and also discussions will be held on the current affairs. Agendas for the conference include the Indian environmental protection agency, the status of women in the workplace, extent and applications of the Weapons of Mass Destructions and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities Bill) 2022 as part of Rajya Sabha agenda. Declaring the Indian Ocean a zone of peace and the review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is part of the Lok Sabha agenda. “All the resolutions and the bills passed at the youth parliament will be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Niti Aayog and the United Nations. These bills will serve as a symbol of the changes that the young people wish to see in the nation,” said Aditya Vegda, vice president of Chhatra Sansad.
VADODARA: Shehra MLA and deputy speaker of the state assembly, Jetha Ahir aka Jetha Bharwad, courted controversy on Tuesday when he said that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal would be stripped and sent back to Delhi. Ahir was addressing an election meeting in Shehra, which was also addressed by national BJP president J P Nadda. Mentioning about Kejriwal in his speech, Ahir said that people in Gujarat have said that Kejriwal has come here (Gujarat). "So, we will send him (Kejriwal) back only with the clothes he is wearing. In fact, we will strip him and send him back to Delhi," said Ahir, who commented that "Kejriwal was indeed naked (literally translated)", when asked by the media to comment on his remark. "He only talks about giving free things, but we gave free grains for two years to the poor and also free vaccines. A friend was telling me that there is no electricity in Punjab, which is facing problems like drugs, mafia and arms," said Ahir, adding that Khalistanis were becoming active again. Ahir further stated that Kejriwal is dividing the country and he should go to Pakistan or Afghanistan. In his address to the gathering, Nadda slammed former Congress president Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' and said that he wondered if Gandhi was joining the nation or dividing it. "Rahul Gandhi stood with people who raised the slogans in support of Afzal Guru who was hanged for attacking the Parliament," he said. Nadda took a dig at Gandhi and said that he should instead join his party first. The BJP chief also came down on Gandhi for moving around with Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar. "She (Patkar) led to a delay of 15 years in construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam and delayed increasing its height. These people conspired against the development of Gujarat," he said.
Accusing the Election Commission (EC) for being hand-in-glove with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat, president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Jagdish Thakor on Tuesday said aircraft belonging to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was denied permission to park in Ahmedabad and had to be taken to Vadodara.Speaking to reporters, Thakor said, “Yesterday (Monday) we got permission to travel from Surat to Mahuva by two helicopters. Initially, permission was denied and after we informed the EC, we got permission. As soon as we reached the airport, permission for one of the helicopters was cancelled.”He added, “The Airport Authority of India told us that due to the rush caused by events of Prime Minister and Home Minister, the permission has been declined. It is our open allegation that EC operates on BJP directive.”“Some days ago, when Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot came, we were told that there was no space at the Ahmedabad airport to park his plane and that it should be taken to Vadodara. But there were only four private planes at the airport,” Thakor said. The GPCC president said a party gets only 3-4 passes to receive VIP guests at airports. “Yesterday when I landed at Ahmedabad airport, I saw at least 30 people waiting to receive a BJP minister near the VIP lounge,” he said adding that rules of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) should apply equally to all national parties.Thakor said tenders for putting up poll advertisements on electricity poles in Rajkot municipal area were given to the BJP without informing the Congress about the publication of the tenders. “We are going to file a formal complaint with the EC on Wednesday,” he added.The GPCC president said that the party was not getting permission to hold meeting in villages from sarpanches aligned with the BJP. He also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should publicise the names of all those who received the 71,000 jobs for which he gave out job-offer letters.
SEQUESTERING MLAs after elections is passe. The Aam Aadmi Party has made a head start on others in Gujarat. On Sunday, a day before the last day of withdrawal of nominations for the second and final day of polling in the state, the party is believed to have whisked away all its 93 candidates for that phase to a huddle in Somnath.Officially, the party’s stand was that the candidates had gone to the Somnath temple for “darshan”.Sources said the party was spooked after its Surat (East) candidate Kanchan Jariwala disappeared one evening, to emerge the next day and withdraw his nomination. AAP claims that he was “kidnapped” and forced to withdraw his nomination by the BJP, but has little substantial to back that up.By Monday, some of the AAP candidates were “back on the field”, as per what they told The Indian Express. Others admitted going to Somnath, but said it was for “prayers”.Om Prakash Tiwari, the AAP candidate from Naroda Assembly constituency in Ahmedabad, said they went for a party meeting to Veraval, Somnath. “We were there, so we did darshan at the nearby Somnath temple. I came back Sunday, some might be coming back today (Monday).”Sources said the party had information about some of the candidates coming under BJP pressure to withdraw. “Once the date to withdraw nominations passed, the candidates who were taken to a safe place were brought back,” a source in the party told The Indian Express.Other party candidates said they never went to Somnath. The party candidate from Deesa in Banaskantha district, Ramesh Patel, said he was “unaware” of any such pilgrimage to Somnath, and that he had been in his constituency for the past two-three days.Nikhil Savani, the vice-president of AAP’s youth wing, denied any herding of candidates by the party. “There is nothing like that. They are not here (Somnath) now, everyone is on the ground.”Candidates from two other seats — Manjalpur (Vadodara) and Ellisbridge (Ahmedabad) — who were believed to have camped in Somnath, could not be contacted.
Vadodara: Geeta Goradia, current chair of FICCI Gujarat Council, received the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) award 2022 during the 15th annual conference of IWEC that was held in Madrid, Spain between November 13 and 15. Successful businesswomen and other world class thought leaders from all over the world shared experiences, challenges and best practices in the conference titled ‘connecting women businesses globally — the transformational power of women in business’ that aimed to highlight power of women leadership.Headquartered in New York, IWEC was established in Barcelona in 2007, with the goal of connecting small and mid-size women business owners globally — those who are already in the global marketplace and want to expand or are ripe to get into the market and learn from other women leaders. tnn
Ahmedabad: Here’s a story of a princess with a divine lineage who chose a cowherd over gods as her partner — she has a boon because of which she can turn grains of sand into grains of finger millet (nagli) and bring prosperity wherever she goes. She loves to feed people, but what happens when her powers are envied by deities? Will she relent to end the miseries of humans?The story forms the crux of ‘Kansari,’ a production by Vadodara-based Triveni Theatre Group, which was staged at the ongoing Abhivyakti Festival at Gujarat University on Saturday evening with 20 artists. P S Chari, the director of the play, said that the age-old story of the goddess of fertility who brings new stems of grains has been adapted for stage for the first time as a play with elements of Bhavada, Mandal and Katha-Kathan traditions of tribal communities of Dang.“The most eye-catching aspect is Bhavada masks which are often 3 feet long and weigh over 2kg. An artist keeps it just above the head and balances it on the shoulders with two strings on two hands,” said Chari. “The larger-than-life masks served as a depiction of deities in the play and also provided an easy spectacle to a large group of viewers when it was performed in Dang and parts of Nashik.” Chari added: “It’s not easy for the performers to act with such huge masks, but it adds an element of awe.”The tale — known by different versions throughout the tribal belt of Gujarat and the adjoining states — is adapted for stage by Dahyabhai Vadhu, whose father was a ‘Bhagat’ for Bhavada performances. “Little is known about this tradition outside of the tribal areas, and thus we decided to make a play with elements of different performing arts of the region,” said Chari, adding it’s a message to conserve nature and nurture it for the generations to come. Chari added that the play is in Kukana, its traditional language, along with Gujarati.
The BJP’s candidate from Viramgam, Hardik Patel, had gathered a crowd of 20 FIRs after leading legions of Patidars in the agitation to demand the OBC quota. He even spent nine months in prison on sedition charges. Hardik quit the Congress and joined the BJP. Now, his sway over voters seems to have subdued the seriousness of the FIRs. “He is a well-known, publicly accepted leader and has been in a responsible position attached to social service”, the party has said to justify Hardik’s selection. This statement was published in the media recently, in line with the direction of the Election Commission of India (ECI). In this poll season, political parties have been specifically ordered to clarify their decisions in selecting candidates with criminal records. Acting on the directives of the Supreme Court to highlight criminal charges faced by candidates, the ECI had told political parties to explain to the public through mass media why other candidates could not be found. The ECI’s instruction was ostensibly a tool to deter parties from fielding candidates named in FIRs. But parties are willing to endure some shame in their pursuit of nominees with ‘winnability’. Alpesh Thakor, another Congress turncoat in the BJP, has also had the FIRs against him disregarded in the winnability scheme of things. Of the six FIRs againstThakor, five were filed for his role in agitations and three when he was with the Congress. Now he has the BJP ticket for Gandhinagar South. The BJP’s Babu Jamnadas Patel, seeking his seventh term fromDaskroi, is charged with cheating, forgery, and criminal conspiracy. The party says the accusations have “no substance”. His popularity is cited as the reason for picking him over any untainted candidate. The BJP uses that defence for other nominees who have cases against them. They include sitting minister Parshottam Solanki, Jamalpur-Khadia candidate Bhushan Bhatt, Shehra candidate Jethabhai Bharwad, and Porbandar candidate Babu Bokhiria. The Congress’s rationalization for its choices is not different from the BJP’s. The Congress’s Arjun Modhwadia will take on Bokhiria in Porbandar. Modhwadia, who is fighting a defamation case, is hailed by his party for his “seniority, merit, and social service”. The twoterm BJP MLA from Mahuva, Kanubhai Kalsaria, is now the Congress candidate. The Congress says that “he was falsely implicated in two cases”. The AAP, a relative newbie in the Gujarat poll game, has mastered the old expedience. Its Thakkarbapanagar candidate, Sanjay Mori, is accused of trespassing and assault. “He is a man who will fight for justice,” the party says. The party says that it did not find any other candidate with “similar stature and zeal”. The AAP’s Vadodara City candidate, Jigar Solanki, has cases filed against him for recording a video at a police station and for protesting in violation of a government notification. “He is the most deserving candidate,” the AAP says.
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.
The ruling BJP has deployed a team of street dancers to campaign for the party in each constituency in Gujarat ahead of the forthcoming Assembly polls in the western state.Donning T-shirts with an image of Narendra Modi, a team of young street dancers has begun campaigning in the 141-Vadodara City Assembly constituency, where sitting MLA and Cabinet minister Manisha Vakil is seeking a third term.The team performed certain Bollywood songs that contain the word, Namo, besides the BJP’s own election songs. At the end of the performance, the team also sought votes for the BJP.According to BJP leaders, the party’s state executive committee decided to rope in street dancers to break the monotony of usual political campaigns. BJP Vadodara city unit president Dr Vijay Shah said: “A team of dancers – about eight of them – has been assigned to each Assembly constituency for three days… A team arrived in Vadodara Friday only to perform in the 141-Vadodara city constituency and will leave on Monday. Thereafter, another team will arrive to campaign in other constituencies.”Shah added that the aim of the move was to convey the BJP’s message to the voters through dance performances. He said, “Dance is a very powerful expression. We want to convey the message of the good work done by the party under the leadership of Narendra Modi. It can be conveyed very effectively through dance and can strike the right chord.”Shah added that across the state, each such team will spend three days in every Assembly Constituency assigned to it and spread the BJP’s messages of ‘inclusive development and good governance’.The elections will be held next month in two phases in Gujarat – December 1 and 5. The counting for the polls will be conducted on December 8.
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
VADODARA: Two girl students of St Kabir school gave a scare to their parents after they disappeared for a few hours on Friday. Both the girls, studying in Class 4, were eventually found hanging out in a garden in Diwalipura area. The police said that the girls had planned to go out in the city on Thursday. “One of the girls called up her mother and told her that she is going to her friend’s house after school hours. After an hour, when she called up her daughter’s friend’s mother, she learnt that both girls were missing,” said Kuldeepsinh Jadhav, Gotri police inspector. The two girls first went to a mall on Gorwa Road and then went to the old city. “They then went to a garden in Diwalipura where the security guard got suspicious. He enquired from them and learnt that they had come to the garden on their own. He then contacted their parents,” Jadhav told TOI.
Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who arrived in Vadodara Friday, slammed the BJP for setting up a model of “crime, commission, and corruption” in Gujarat, equating the BJP’s election catchphrase attributed to Prime Minister Modi — “I made Gujarat” to the “ego of Ravana”.Singh, addressing reporters in Vadodara, said, “Narendra Modi is drowned in ego and obsessed with self. The way he says, ‘I made Gujarat’, does he mean to say that Gujarat did not exist before he was born; that there was no Gujarati pride (Asmita) before his being? This level of ego is like that of Ravan, which led to his end. Similarly, Modi’s ego will also not survive.”Speaking about the Congress’ Bharat Jodo yatra led by Rahul Gandhi, Singh said that the RSS had been “forced to accept realities” because of the success of the yatra. Singh said, “Mohan Bhagwat (RSS supremo) started going to the mosques and madrassas within a month of the Bharat Jodo Yatra because they can see its success… Dattatray Hosabale (RSS General Secretary) has accepted that the poverty is increasing in the counrty in two months of the yatra.”Singh also said that it was the BJP that had deployed the Aam Aadmi Party and AIMIM in Gujarat to damage the Congress. Singh said, “AAP is the B-team of the BJP. This is a party that has supported the BJP in every decision except, maybe, the Farmers’ Bill. Kejriwal had launched India Against Corruption and UPA government instituted the Lokpal but has Kejriwal ever promised a corruption-free country or approached any Lokpal? Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM, on the other hand, only enters elections to create communal discord.”
In a major setback to the BJP in Vadodara, rebel leader Dinesh Patel, along with 16 elected members of the Padra taluka panchayat, resigned from all posts and primary membership Friday. Patel, who has filed as an independent from the seat, has claimed that he has the support of at least 15 members of the Padra Municipality where the BJP is in majority right now.Patel alias Dinu Mama, a two-term MLA, said he was upset as the BJP gave tickets to candidates who had allegedly worked against the party in 2017. “In 2017, this candidate (Chaitanyasinh Zala) had resigned from the party and worked for the Congress candidate who won the seat. They worked to ensure that I lost my seat. This time, the party has chosen them to contest the polls,” Patel told The Indian Express.Patel, who had first won the election from Padra in 2007 as an independent, later joined the BJP. In 2012, Patel contested as BJP candidate and retained his seat; however, he lost to Congress’s Jaspalsinh Thakor in 2017. Patel, who is the chairman of Baroda Dairy, said, “Now that I am contesting as an independent and my nomination form has been accepted, I have resigned from the party on moral grounds. I will continue to retain my seat as Baroda Dairy Chairman because it is not a party post.” With 16 supporters who are elected members of the Padra Taluka Panchayat following his suit, the BJP is in a spot as its tally in the 28-member panchayat has gone down to zero. The 16 members plan to continue the functioning of the panchayat as independents. “The president and Vice-President are among the 16 members who have resigned. Tomorrow (Saturday), more supporters who are currently members of the Padra Municipality will submit their resignations. They will continue to work as a united group of independents in the taluka panchayat and municipality,” Patel said.In February 2021, the BJP won 15 of the 28 seats of the Padra taluka panchayat, thus retaining its control. An independent candidate later joined the BJP, taking its tally to 16. In 2015, the Congress had won the taluka Panchayat but lost power in the mid-term when the BJP formed the board.It is no secret that since September 2021, Patel has been facing the animosity of the elected BJP MLAs who are members of the Baroda Dairy board. Following a public spat with Savli MLA Ketan Inamdar over the issue of the dairy remuneration to milk producers, Gujarat BJP chief CR Paatil stepped in to resolve the differences after which the Baroda Dairy conceded to the demands raised by Inamdar and other MLAs. BJP leaders in Vadodara say that the party has been in a fix over Patel’s “obstinate rebellion”. A leader said, “The party has continuously tried to reach out to Patel several times in the past week but he has snubbed all leaders. Today, when CR Paatil announced that the party would initiate action against the rebel leaders, he resigned. The resignation of the other members of the local bodies from the party is definitely worrying.”
After the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused rival BJP of “kidnapping” its Surat East candidate Kanchan Jariwala and “forcing” him to withdraw from the poll race, the Election Commission in Gujarat stated “the candidate happily withdrew his nomination form”.“When the incident was shown by the media, the Election Commission had informed the Chief Electoral Officer, Gujarat and a report was also sought from the District Election Office (in Surat). The DEO sent reports containing videos from Returning Officer, General Observer and the Gujarat Police. Through this report, it has come to light that the candidate had come to the office of the Returning Officer and had happily withdrawn his (nomination) form. His withdrawal has been accepted. Currently, he is not in the poll race,” said Kuldeep Arya, additional chief electoral officer, in response to a question during a media interaction if the Returning Officer in Surat had mentioned the “kidnapping” aspect in his report submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer, Gujarat.Asked if any political party had lodged a complaint with regard to the incident, P Bharathi, chief electoral officer, Gujarat, said, “We had received a complaint from Aam Aadmi (Party). The Election Commission had also sought a report and so we, in turn, had sought a report from DEO.”Watch how police and BJP goons together – dragged our Surat East candidate Kanchan Jariwala to the RO office, forcing him to withdraw his nominationThe term ‘free and fair election’ has become a joke! pic.twitter.com/CY32TrUZx8— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) November 16, 2022After withdrawing his nomination forms, AAP candidate Jariwala had said that he had voluntarily withdrawn due to internal conflicts with party leaders and workers.When quizzed if CEO, Gujarat had sought a report about Vadodara BJP MLA Madhu Srivastav issuing threats in public, Arya said, “A report has been sought from the district collector of Vadodara.”Talking about the seizures made while enforcing the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), Bharathi said so far seizures worth Rs 177 crore have been made, including Rs 22.41 crore in cash, Rs 8.06 crore of gold and silver, Rs 61.56 crore of drugs and Rs 8.9 crore of liquor. The seizures also include Rs 76.14 crore of Chinese toys, motorcar, motorcycle, mobile phones, tobacco and pan masala.The Gujarat Police has also seized 51 illegal weapons and 274 cartridges. So far, officials said, no connection has been established between the seized cash and liquor with political parties or their candidates. Of the total cash seized, Rs 18 crore has been seized by the Income Tax officials from Kutch and another Rs 1.6 crore from Surat. The police have also seized an additional Rs 1.43 crore from Surat.
NEW DELHI: In a dramatic development, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Surat (East) constituency Kanchan Jariwala on Wednesday withdrew his nomination from the forthcoming assembly election. The development has dealt a severe blow to Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP which governs Delhi and Punjab. Alleging that the ruling BJP was behind the withdrawal, AAP petitioned the Election Commission (EC) to act on their complaint. AAP Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha tweeted a video clip and alleged that the local police and BJP “goons” forced Jariwala to withdraw his nomination. “Watch how police and BJP goons together - dragged our Surat East candidate Kanchan Jariwala to the RO (returning officer) office, forcing him to withdraw his nomination. The term ‘free and fair election’ has become a joke!” he said. Watch how police and BJP goons together - dragged our Surat East candidate Kanchan Jariwala to the RO office, forci… https://t.co/lpfzxIFwni— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) 1668583076000Kejriwal, the Delhi chief minister, earlier accused the BJP of trying to get Jariwala’s nomination rejected. He also expressed the apprehension that the AAP candidate had been kidnapped on November 15. In a tweet, the AAP supremo said, “Our candidate from Surat (East), Kanchan Jariwala, and his family missing since yesterday. First, BJP tried to get his nomination rejected. But his nomination was accepted. Later, he was being pressurised to withdraw his nomination. Has he been kidnapped?” Our candidate from Surat (East), Kanchan Jariwala, and his family missing since yesterday. First, BJP tried to get… https://t.co/7GMDCrjwrw— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) 1668576611000Led by Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, a team of AAP leaders and workers demonstrated against the BJP at the Central Election Commission headquarters at Delhi. They demanded swift action in the matter. Sisodia alleged that Jariwala was kidnapped and his nomination was withdrawn at gunpoint. “What can be a bigger emergency than this for the Election Commission? That is why we have come to the door of the Central Election Commission with a request for immediate action,” he said. कैंडिडेट का अपहरण हो गया. गनपोईंट पर उसका नामांकन वापस कराया. चुनाव आयोग के लिए इससे बड़ी एमेरजेंसी क्या हो सकतो है… https://t.co/ZDlyLupxZj— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) 1668584813000Why AAP’s strong protestAmong all the seats that AAP is contesting in Gujarat, which goes to polls in two phases on December 1 and December 5, it stands the brightest chances of winning in Surat. Jariwala’s withdrawal of nomination from Surat (East) has dealt the most severe blow to the party which is aiming to wrest power from the BJP or at least replace the Congress as the principal opposition party. Contesting for the first time in the municipal elections held in eight corporations of Gujarat – Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Gandhinagar and Junagadh – in 2021, AAP performed decently in Surat and registered its presence in Gandhinagar and Rajkot. Of the 120 seats in Surat Municipal Corporation, BJP won 93 while the Congress failed to open its account. AAP, securing 28.58 per cent of the votes, won 27 seats and replaced the Congress as the opposition party. In the 2016 election, BJP had won 80 out of 116 seats while the Congress had 36. In the 44-seat Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation, BJP won 41, Congress two and AAP won one seat. The Congress garnered a vote share of 27.97 per cent against 46.93 per cent in 2016. AAP grew at its expense, securing 21.7 per cent of the votes. In Rajkot Municipal Corporation, AAP secured 17 per cent of the vote share. With these results in the civic polls, AAP is expecting to damage the BJP in the urban areas. Its promises of free electricity and water and cheap healthcare facilities are aimed at wooing the urban voters. On the other hand, even though Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders may be conspicuous by their absence, the Congress is expected to display a decent performance in the rural areas. The BJP leaders are aware of this. While addressing a rally last month, Modi said the Congress leaders were holding "khatla baithaks (meetings on cots)”. "I want to warn you. The Congress has made a new strategy. They are not in newspapers and social media... The Congress's new strategy is to go village by village and fill poison amongst villagers," he said. Without naming AAP, the prime minister said the Congress had suddenly gone silent and outsourced the contract of creating fracas and abusing him to others. AAP is expected to give some kind of a fight to the BJP in urban areas, particularly in Surat. Therefore, it has suffered a major jolt with the withdrawal of nomination by its Surat (East) candidate.
The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday claimed that its Surat (East ) candidate, Kanchan Jariwala, is being forced to withdraw his nomination from the Gujarat Assembly elections. This came hours after the party alleged that Jariwala was kidnapped by the BJP as he and his family have been missing since Tuesday.Tweeting a video showing Jariwala surrounded by police officials and unidentified persons, AAP leader Raghav Chadha alleged, “Watch how police and BJP goons together – dragged our Surat East candidate Kanchan Jariwala to the RO office, forcing him to withdraw his nomination (sic).”“The term ‘free and fair election’ has become a joke!” he added.Watch how police and BJP goons together – dragged our Surat East candidate Kanchan Jariwala to the RO office, forcing him to withdraw his nominationThe term ‘free and fair election’ has become a joke! pic.twitter.com/CY32TrUZx8— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) November 16, 2022“He is being forced by the police and goondas to withdraw his nomination. India has not seen such goondaism. What is the meaning of elections? It’s the end of democracy,” tweeted AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal.गुंडों और पुलिस के दम पर उम्मीदवारों को अगवा करके उनका नामांकन वापिस करवाया जा रहा है।इस क़िस्म की सरेआम गुंडागर्दी भारत में कभी नहीं देखी गयी। फिर चुनाव का क्या मतलब रह गया? फिर तो जनतंत्र ख़त्म है। https://t.co/wff4CMihx8— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 16, 2022https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsEarlier, in his previous tweet, Kejriwal claimed that Jariwala and his family have gone missing and asked if he has been kidnapped. “Our candidate from Surat (East), Kanchan Jariwala, and his family missing since yesterday. First, BJP tried to get his nomination rejected. But his nomination was accepted. Later, he was being pressurised to withdraw his nomination. Has he been kidnapped?” Kejriwal tweeted.Read this story in Gujarati (ગુજરાતી) hereOur candidate from Surat (East), Kanchan Jariwala, and his family missing since yesterday. First, BJP tried to get his nomination rejected. But his nomination was accepted. Later, he was being pressurised to withdraw his nomination.Has he been kidnapped?— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 16, 2022Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged that the BJP has kidnapped Jariwala fearing a loss in Surat (East). “Kanchan Jariwala is missing since yesterday. His phone is switched off. His family is missing. He was last seen at the RO office yesterday, where he had gone to get his nomination scrutinised. The BJP’s goondas (thugs) tried to get his nomination withdrawn. However, Jariwala refused and when he left the RO office, the BJP goondas kidnapped him,” Sisodia said in a press conference.“This is a danger to democracy. This raises questions on the Election Commission (EC),” Sisodia added.Chadha in a previous tweet called Jariwala’s “kidnapping” a murder of democracy. “Murder of democracy! Our candidate Kanchan Jariwala from Surat East seat has been kidnapped by BJP. First BJP unsuccessfully tried to get his nomination papers rejected, then coerced him to withdraw his candidature and now kidnapped him. He is missing since last afternoon,” said Chadha.The AAP announced Jariwala’s candidature along with nine others on November 3 in its 10th list of candidates for the Gujarat polls.Jariwala is up against the BJP’s Arvind Rana, the incumbent MLA in Surat (East).The two-phase Gujarat elections are slated to be held on December 1 and December 5. The AAP has so far declared 130 candidates in 11 lists for the 182-member Assembly. The BJP, meanwhile, has declared 160 candidates in its first list.On Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah dismissed AAP, saying that the battle in Gujarat was between the Congress and BJP.
Unhappy with his living conditions in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar, Mahendrabhai Patni, a labourer, 35, filed his nomination as an Independent from the Gandhinagar North seat. He had carried two sacks of Re 1 coins to file his nomination fee of Rs 10,000 at the Election Commission office.Asked why he collected the coins, Patni said: “I am a labourer without steady employment. We do not have a house, access to drinking water, or electricity. Families in my neighbourhood agreed to support me as I do not have enough resources to file a deposit. I spent three days collecting the coins from people who promised to vote for me.”Patni said his house was among the 521 huts that were demolished by the government to build The Leela, a five-star-hotel, and to revamp the Gandhinagar Railway Station in the city. “We continue to live in the slums without basic amenities, “ said Patni, claiming that no compensation has been given by the state government yet. He now stays in Gokulpura Vasahat located across the road from the security cabin of the hotel.After studying till the seventh standard at his native village in the Patan district, Patni moved to Gandhinagar in 1999.“We initially lived in the slums where the Salt Mound (Dandi Kutir) stands today. We then moved to the rear of the Gandhinagar Railway Station in 2010,” Patni said.The Gandhinagar Railway Station was reconstructed by the Gandhinagar Railway and Urban Development Corporation Limited (GARUD), a joint venture of the Government of Gujarat and the Indian Railway State Development Corporation. The Leela hotel construction was part of the project. Government officials told The Indian Express that “the hutments had to be removed as they stood on land belonging to the Indian Railways.”Patni is among the 28 candidates who have filed nominations from Gandhinagar North. The constituency polls in the second phase of the state elections to be held on December 5.Patni’s affidavit has zero assets and no bank account details. “I opened a zero-balance bank account with Bank of Baroda only on November 14 because it was necessary for election purposes,” he said.Patni lives with his parents, wife and two daughters in a modest kaccha house with few household items and a 12-volt battery that powers an LED bulb at night. He is a Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holder – one among the 31.56 lakh families in the category in the state as on August 2021.Patni, however, is not the only candidate to have filed his nomination using Rs one coins. An AAP candidate from the Sayaligunj seat in Vadodara, a wedding planner named Swejal Vyas, also took a sack full of coins to file his nomination.Vyas said: “When I stood as a candidate for polls, people began asking me what they can do for me. I asked them to give me Rs one as their blessing for deposit. I had collected most of the money through Google Pay and the response was overwhelming. The entire amount was collected in just three hours.” Vyas’s affidavit shows Rs 2.5 lakh in cash and a house worth Rs 55 lakh.
VADODARA: Chaitar Vasava, a fiery tribal leader and former close aide of veteran MLA Chhotu Vasava, is expected to give the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) a major scare on the Dediapada seat. The 34-year-old’s decision to contest as an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate on this tribal seat is widely believed to be the reason behind Chhotu’s son and sitting Dediapada MLA Mahesh Vasava to change his constituency to Jhagadia. Mahesh, who had filed nomination as a BTP candidate from Jhagadia to take on his father and BTP founder Chhotu Vasava, withdrew his nomination on Thursday. “He knew that I would give him a tough fight and win from Dediapada. He wanted to save himself the humiliation of defeat on this tribal seat and hence he moved out. I don’t know why he suddenly withdrew his nomination,’’ Chaitar told TOI. Chaitar, who had joined BTP in 2014, admitted that his decision to quit that party and contest from AAP has left Mahesh in the lurch but he holds the father-son duo responsible for it. “Chhotu and Mahesh used to take all the decisions on their own without consulting other party leaders. They kept changing party affiliations from AIMIM to AAP and then back to JD(U). My prime concern is welfare of the tribals,” Chaitar claimed. He, though, added that Chhotu’s decision to not field him from Dediapada this time pushed him to join AAP. “We played a key role in Mahesh’s victory from Dediapada in 2017 assembly polls and worked hard for the tribal rights here. I was promised a ticket in this election but it didn’t happen so I decided to contest from AAP,” Chaitar, a farmer from Bogaj village in Dediapada, revealed. “I have a huge support among the tribals as I always fought for their rights and though I am contesting a poll for the first time in my life, I am confident of making my debut in the assembly this year,” he said.
Vikram-S, the first of a set of launch vehicles developed by Hyderabad-based company Skyroot, soared into space on Friday (November 18), marking the entry of the Indian private sector into the space launch market. Mission Prarambh is successfully accomplished, the Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO) announced after the launch.Skyroot’s rocket is named after Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space programme. Friday’s launch affords an opportunity to recall the life and achievements of one of the stars of a remarkable generation of India’s pioneering space scientists.Mission Prarambh is successfully accomplished.Congratulations @SkyrootACongratulations India! @INSPACeIND pic.twitter.com/PhRF9n5Mh4— ISRO (@isro) November 18, 2022The late President APJ Abdul Kalam had famously termed Vikram Sarabhai as the “Mahatma Gandhi of Indian Science”. By the time he was found tragically dead in a hotel room in Kovalam in Kerala in 1971 at the age of 52, Sarabhai had founded 38 institutions that are now leaders in space research, physics, management and performing arts. Almost all of India’s space scientists who came after him owe a debt of knowledge, leadership and gratitude to Sarabhai.Committed to freedom of thinkingBorn to Ambalal and Sarla Devi, Ahmedabad’s leading textile-mill owners, Vikram Sarabhai showed creative promise early. He was 15 when he built a working model of a train engine with the help of two engineers, which is now housed at the Community Science Centre (CSC) in Ahmedabad. The CSC was Vikram’s way of providing other children the privileges he had, of experimental research.“He was essentially a researcher, and believed that people, especially children, should be allowed to think freely and come up with solutions on their own,” Sarabhai’s son Kartikeya, who founded the Centre for Environment Education in 1984, had told The Indian Express earlier.Vikram Sarabhai’s daughter and Indian classical dancer Mallika recalled how, as children, they were at the centre of every family decision. This freedom helped “garner convictions early in life and to take a position. You were never too young to be able to be involved in what was going on or what affected you,” Mallika said.Tagore, Raman, and BhabhaAfter studying from Gujarat University in Ahmedabad, Sarabhai went to study physics and mathematics at Cambridge University, with a reference from Rabindranath Tagore, but was forced to return when World War II broke out.He completed his post-graduation at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru under Dr CV Raman, where he also met Dr Homi Bhabha, and returned later to Cambridge for a PhD in cosmic rays.When Sarabhai and Indian classical dancer Mrinalini Swaminathan married in 1942, the Quit India movement had broken out and his eldest sister Mridula had been arrested. None of the family could attend the wedding except Vikram’s driver, Lala, Kartikeya recalled.The PRL, ISRO’s predecessor, the Indian National Committee for Space Research as well as the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad are the cradle of India’s space programme, and continue to be a critical part of the country’s missions. Sarabhai’s research-and applications-based approach singled him out as a scientist and entrepreneur who lived ahead of his time.Space, nuclear science, broadcastingGiving flight to Sarabhai’s dream of probing the atmospheric regions for space research, was the first sounding rocket that was launched from Thumba, in Kerala, in 1967.Sarabhai convinced Parliament and the Planning Commission in 1969 on the merits of “decade profile”, as he envisioned the Indian nuclear programme. In 1966, when Sarabhai took over as Atomic Energy Commission chairman after Homi Bhabha’s death in a plane crash, he started a dialogue with NASA that formed the base for Satellite Instructional Television Experiment.Launched in 1975 from village Pij in Gujarat’s Kheda district, it would beam TV programmes to villages and was the first Indo-US space venture using technology for education. This was how the Krishi Darshan programme for farmers on Doordarshan was conceived.Sarabhai extended his research emphasis even to business, when he founded Sarabhai Chemicals in Vadodara in 1943, and subsequently the Sarabhai Research Centre and the Operations Research Group.
Defending his party falling back on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Gujarat Assembly election campaigns, Union Minister Parshottam Rupala Thursday said there was no confusion that the BJP was contesting under Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel. “…but Narendra Modi and (Union Minister) Amit Shah have been our Ranji players who are now playing the nationals. If the world is using his (Modi’s) name, why will we not use it? He is from Gujarat and we are proud of it,” he said before party candidate Kamlesh Patel’s nomination rally at Petlad in Anand district.Rupala also asked the media and opposition to stop questioning why the BJP is using the brand name of Narendra Modi for elections. He went on to draw parallels when former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in Gujarat to address one of the Assembly election campaigns in the past. The Union Minister narrated an incident when the former PM was apparently misled by a Congress party worker who handed him over an outdated speech.“Did they (Congress) forget that their PM used to come to hold rallies here but their own people wouldn’t give him proper information? In one of his Ahmedabad rallies, he said the Gujarat government was not using the funds sent by the Central Government and hence, the people of Gujarat were facing a water crisis,” Rupala said. Reportedly, Rupala later found that “an old leader from former CM Amarsinh’s (Chaudhary) time” went to receive Manmohan Singh “wearing an old coat which had an old letter in the pocket”.“Water trains were a reality before Modiji became the chief minister. Under his chief ministership, we only sent milk trains to Delhi. Because we send you milk, you can eat pedas,” Rupala continued. Rupala, who later, also joined the nomination rally of the party’s Sayajigunj candidate and city Mayor Keyur Rokadia in Vadodara, praised PM Modi for accepting the Presidency of G20.The minister also had a word of caution for the party workers, urging them to avoid using social media unless for party work.
Three leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Vadodara city and Aravalli district have rebelled against the ruling party by filing their independent candidatures for the Gujarat Assembly elections after they were denied party ticket. The leaders are Dinesh Patel and Madhu Shrivastav from Vadodara and Dhavalsinh Zala from Aravalli.Meanwhile, party state president CR Paatil said that if the three do not withdraw their independent candidatures, then they will be suspended from the party.Patel filed as independent from Padra whereas Shrivastava did it from Waghodia constituency, while Zala filed his candidature from Bayad constituency of Aravalli.Both Patel and Shrivastav refused to meet Minister of State Harsh Sanghavi on November 12 after announcing that they would contest the polls independently.Shrivastav, who met Paatil at Vadodara airport in the presence of local leaders Wednesday afternoon, did not relent while Dinesh Patel claimed that the BJP leaders “did not approach him”.Shrivastav, who has held the Waghodia constituency from 1995, took out a rally with his supporters and appealed to other BJP leaders of Waghodia to join his campaign.Speaking after filing his nominations, Shrivastav said, “The voters of Waghodia know who stands with them… I have been a sincere BJP leader all my life and have ensured that the party wins even the smallest of seats in the local elections. It was due to my hardwork that the party got seats in the Waghodia taluka and Vadodara district panchayat… I appeal to all party workers and leaders who had joined the BJP because of me to come and join my campaign.”Shrivastav has been miffed that the party dropped him and fielded its district unit president Ashwin Patel from his seat.In Padra, Dinesh Patel has been replaced by Vijaysinh Zala, president of Padra municipality. Dinesh Patel who first won the election from Padra in 2007 as an independent later joined the BJP. In 2012, Patel contested as a BJP candidate and won but le lost the seat in 2017 by 20,000 votes to Congress candidate Jaspalsinh Thakor. Patel is also the chairman of Baroda Dairy.Dhavalsinh Zala was a close aide of Thakor community leader Alpesh Thakor. In 2017, Zala won assembly elections from Bayad constituency. However, in 2019, he cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha elections and then resigned from the Congress and the assembly. The two then joined the BJP.Zala and Thakor were fielded by the BJP from Bayad and Radhanpur constituencies respectively in the by-elections in 2019. However, both lost to Congress candidates Jasubhai Patel and Raghu Desai respectively.This time, Zala was denied a BJP party ticket as the party fielded a woman candidate Bhikhiben Parmar from Bayad. Zala protested and hundreds of his supporters also visited state BJP headquarters Shree Kamalam to register their protest.Speaking with The Indian Express, Zala said, “In 2019 (by-election), I lost by 700 votes. This time, they did not give me ticket though I had worked hard for three years. More than 80 per cent people supported me… I made a representation to the party. But there was no change.”Zala added that he has not thought of withdrawing his candidature as independent.Congress has fielded Mahendrasinh Vaghela, son of former Chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela, from Bayad constituency.Choosing to play down the rebellion in the party, Paatil said, “It is natural that workers of a strong party are more excited and demand tickets… as it is natural that if given ticket they will win. There are 1.18 crore BJP primary members in Gujarat and 82 lakh are page committe members. We have around 2 to 2.25 crore workers… they can feel bad and can express their dissent. They have the right to express their opinion… I congratulate them as they have set an example that despite not getting the ticket, they put their opinion and and went back to work.”On protests by some BJP MLAs who were not given tickets, including Madhu Shrivatsav and are conesting as independents, Paatil said that for 182 seats, 4,100 candidates demanded tickets and all are capable. “Similarly, for 9,000 seats in the local body elections, two lakh had demanded tickets but the remaining worked for the party. There is time for withdrawal and if they do not (withdraw), the party will take action and suspend them the same evening.”
Ahmedabad/Surat: There is still a fortnight to go for the first phase of voting for the assembly poll in Gujarat, but the police have already made more than 25,000 preventive arrests in Ahmedabad and Surat alone.The cops seem to be extra cautious as they charged into action, arresting people under sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA) since the poll schedule was announced on November 3. The arrests were being made on the state election commission's orders to instil a sense of safety among voters and organize free and fair polls in Gujarat.Among the major cities in the state, Surat reported the highest number with 12,965 preventive arrests; Ahmedabad followed with 12,315 detainees. "Most of those detained were those caught with knives or sticks. Then, there are people who were earlier arrested in criminal cases, including those related to bootlegging," said a police officer from Surat.Surat police arrested 828 persons booked in multiple cases recently under PASA and externed 93 persons for their involvement in bootlegging cases. P 3 & 4In Ahmedabad city, the police detained 12,315 persons under preventive arrests. The police detained 38 people under PASA in less than a fortnight. A police officer from Ahmedabad said, "All these detainees were allegedly involved in committing bodily offences – including murder, attempt to murder, and hurting someone – in the past or were involved in some anti-social activities."According to Ahmedabad city police records, 156 persons were detained on November 3. This rose to 2,217 on November 14. In the same period, 38 persons were booked under PASA. Twenty-six of them were detained between November 8 and 14.In Vadodara city, police have made over 1,600 preventive arrests, including seven under the PASA. "Most of those taken into preventive custody were accused of committing bodily and property crimes, apart from those booked under the prohibition cases," said Abhay Soni, DCP (Zone II), Vadodara.