Gujarat assembly election: Why BJP, Congress are focusing on these 27 seats

Times of India | 2 days ago | 24-11-2022 | 09:42 am

Gujarat assembly election: Why BJP, Congress are focusing on these 27 seats

NEW DELHI: Top leaders of the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress besides the newcomer AAP have started campaigning throughout Gujarat with all their might for the upcoming assembly election. However, the BJP and the Congress are particularly focusing on 27 of the 182 seats in the state. Of the total 182 assembly seats, 13 are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 27 for Scheduled Tribes (STs), who are also called Adivasis. There are 13 other seats which get influenced by tribal votes. Both the BJP and the Congress are making all out efforts to woo the Adivasis. In the 2017 assembly election, the BJP retained office by winning 99 seats while the Congress bagged 77 seats. The Congress had a decisive edge over the BJP on the ST reserved seats. It won 15 seats while the BJP was victorious on 9. The Congress’s ally Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) bagged 2 seats while an independent candidate won the remaining seat. In other words, the BJP won only one-third of the seats reserved for STs. However, the Congress suffered a jolt with three of its Adivasi MLAs – Ashvin Kotwal, Jitu Chaudhary and Mangal Gavit – joining the BJP in the last five years. Another Congress MLA Anil Joshiyara and the independent MLA from Panchmahals died during this period. The BJP is also facing its share of worries. The Adivasis in South Gujarat tribal regions along the Tapi and Narmada rivers have opposed the Centre’s Par-Tapi-Narmada river-linking project. Led by MLA Anant Patel, the Congress organised five massive protests in the region. The Bhupendra Patel government assured the protesters that it would speak with the Centre to put the project on hold. The Congress has also stepped on the gas to maintain or even improve its performance in the tribal seats spread over north, central and south Gujarat. Both the parties are recounting their close association with the tribal people and the work they have done for them. It is clear from their action that both the BJP and the Congress are according top priority to tribal votes. BJPThe importance the BJP attaches to tribal votes could be gauged from the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his election rally on November 6 from the ST reserved seat of Kaprada in Valsad. Speaking at the rally, Modi expressed gratitude to the Gujarat BJP. The reason, he said, was that after the declaration of the poll schedule by the Election Commission on November 3, his first campaign programme was kept in the tribal seat. Modi said, “I am happy about it. For me A stands for Adivasi. My ABCD starts with A for Adivasi. I am fortunate to start my first rally of this election by seeking the blessings of Adivasi brothers and sisters.” Mentioning the works accomplished for the tribal people by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, the PM said, “From Umargram to Ambaji, in the whole Adivasi belt, several science colleges, professional education colleges, five medical colleges, ITI, Govind Guru and Bhagwan Birsa Munda universities, hospitals, multi-speciality hospitals and veterinary hospitals have been opened. Such a major change has been brought about in the Adivasi belt.” Modi said earlier, power used to be supplied for just six hours. Now, electricity supply is there for 24 hours. Boys and girls can study for longer hours. The water scarcity issue has also been ameliorated. Arrangements are being made to supply water through taps in households, he added. The PM said Gujarat was moving on the path of progress. People from Gujarat were earning fame throughout the world. “People will not accept those who spread hatred, who defame Gujarat, belittle Gujarat because the Gujarati people made the state what it is today. They have toiled day and night to build Gujarat. The people and Adivasis of Gujarat will not allow any harm to be done to the state. Gujarat is progressing under the leadership of the Adivasis,” the PM said. ગુજરાતની દીકરીઓ ગુજરાતનું નામ ઉજ્જવળ કરી રહી છે.આદિવાસી વિસ્તારમાં પણ ખૂબ વિકાસ થયો છે…. https://t.co/qpywO8sHn3— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1667748403000Last week, PM Modi addressed eight rallies in two days in the Saurashtra region which included several in tribal seats. On November 23, he was back in the tribal district of Dahod. He reiterated that in Droupadi Murmu, the BJP had appointed an Adivasi for the first time as the country's president. “Why did the Congress not do this? Now they are having stomach aches,” Modi said. Giving a personal touch to his association with the people of Dahod, Modi said, “A PM knows the names of all lanes and bylanes in Dahod. I have personal relations with Dahod.” Union home minister Amit Shah flagged off the fourth and fifth segments of Gujarat Gaurav yatra from Unai in Navsari district. The fourth segment of the yatra was called the Birsa Munda Tribal Yatra which passed through 14 tribal districts of the state covering 31 assembly constituencies. The yatra concluded at the temple town Ambaji in North Gujarat. Another yatra, which also began from Unai, concluded at Fagvel in Kheda district after covering 35 assembly constituencies. Addressing the people in the presence of Union tribal affairs minister Arjun Munda, Shah reaffirmed the BJP government’s commitment towards the welfare of tribal people. He reiterated that it was the BJP government which started a separate tribal ministry at the Centre. Among other accomplishments, he said Modi had launched Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana which was largely benefitting tribal families in the state. He said the BJP government had provided irrigation facilities to 11 lakh hectares of tribal land in the state. “During Covid 19 epidemic, PM Modi ensured free rations to the poor, especially the tribal families of the country. It is the BJP government in the state which has provided connectivity to 98 per cent of the tribal region,” Shah said. CongressThough the Congress was accused of maintaining a low profile, it remained active on tribal issues. Party MP Rahul Gandhi addressed the Adivasi Satyagraha Rally in Dahod on May 10. He said, “You made Gujarat, its infrastructure and roads but what did you get? You did not get anything. You did not get education, health, employment or anything else. That is why we have launched this agitation. We want to create an infrastructure for education and health in Gujarat. The BJP government will not give you these. You all will have to fight and take them from it.” Similar to Modi, Rahul too attached importance to tribal voters. As he is undertaking the 3,500-km Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started on September 7 from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, he did not campaign even for a single day in Himachal Pradesh where voting took place for 68 seats on November 12. Rahul has left the yatra once on October 26. It was to remain present in Delhi on the formal takeover of Mallikarjun Kharge as Congress president. The second occasion when he left the yatra was on November 21 and it was to address two election rallies in Gujarat – in Surat and Rajkot in the Saurashtra region. In Surat, he spoke at length on tribal issues to woo ST voters. He said the country belonged to the tribal people who should get rights, employment, health facilities and education. Narrating a personal anecdote, the Congress leader said his family had a deep association with Adivasis. “I was a small boy of six-seven years. My grandmother (former prime minister) Indira ji gave a book to me. That was my most favourite book. It was a pictorial book. The name of the book was 'Tendu, ek adivasi bachcha (Tendu, an adivasi child)'. I asked my grandmother what she thought about the book. She said it was about Adivasis who are the first and real owners of India. If you want to understand India, you should learn about Adivasis, their life and their association with ‘jal, jangal, zameen (water, forest and land),” he said. The Wayanad MP said Indira used the Adivasi word. “Adivasi means those who lived here the earliest. This country has been taken away from you,” he said. Hitting out at the BJP, Rahul said there was another ideology. “BJP leaders do not call you Adivasi. They call you Vanvasi. They do not say that you are the first owner of India but they say that you live in the forest. They do not want you to live in the cities and your children to become engineers, doctors, pilots and speak English. Further, they start snatching away forest from you. If this continues, all forests will be with their two-three industrialist friends and you will not have any place to live and you will not get education, health facilities and employment,” he said ये देश आदिवासियों का है और इस देश में आपको हक मिलने चाहिए, आपको रोज़गार मिलने चाहिए, आपके बच्चों को स्वास्थ्य और शि… https://t.co/jn2ppIkNG1— Congress (@INCIndia) 1669034400000The former Congress president said the UPA government had brought the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) and the Forest Rights Act to protect the Adivasi. He alleged that the BJP government did not allow these to be implemented. “We gave you MGNREGA, employment and scholarships to children. But they (BJP) did not give you. Worse, they only snatch land from you. You have to decide. On the one side there is Congress (which stands for the rights of) Adivasis, your land, education, health and employment. On the other side is the BJP (which stands for) vanvasi, sorrow and shattered dreams.” He said the Congress wanted the history of the Adivasis and their way of life to be protected. Election in Gujarat will be held in two phases – on December 1 and December 5. Counting of votes will take place on December 8.

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The Indian Express | 3 hours ago | 27-11-2022 | 03:50 am
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At farmers’ rally, Uddhav hits out at BJP, PM Modi
The Indian Express | 3 hours ago | 27-11-2022 | 03:50 am
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Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday slammed the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying industrial projects coming to Maharashtra are being diverted to neighboring Gujarat as Assembly elections are being held there. He also called the BJP a “party of imports” and “chor bazaar (flea market)”.While addressing a farmers’ rally at Chikhli in Buldhana, Uddhav also slammed Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for his “silence” over the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute, the alleged insult of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the government’s inaction on farmers’ plight in the state.After stepping down as chief minister in June this year, this was Thackeray’s first rally outside Mumbai. Last month, Uddhav had addressed party workers at its annual Dussehra Rally at Shivaji Park.“The BJP has lost its ideology and is only importing people from other parties. It has become a party of imports. If you enlist, you will find how many people they have taken into their party from other parties. Nothing is left with them so they are stealing people from other parties. Is it a political party or ‘chor bazaar’,” Uddhav said.Hitting out at Modi, Uddhav said the PM would not hesitate to break Maharashtra and hand over villages to Karnataka with polls in Karnataka next year. “The projects coming to Maharashtra were diverted to Gujarat owing to the elections there. Now Karnataka chief minister is staking claims over Akkalkot and Solapur of Maharashtra. Karnataka is going to polls next year, I am afraid that as the PM sent the projects to Gujarat, he won’t hesitate before breaking Maharashtra into pieces,” Thackeray said.Taking a dig at Shinde, Uddhav said, “This CM might even say that what is the harm in handing over 40 villages to Karnataka …. PM has promised to get Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and give us 100 villages…..”Further attacking Shinde who along with his MPs and MLAs went to Guwahati, Uddhav said, “Today all these 40 people have gone to Guwahati to take blessings. A weekago he (Shinde) had gone to visit an astrologer to know his future. He doesn’t know his own future. And he is going to decide our future? In fact, his future is being decided by people sitting in Delhi. He has to follow their orders,” Thackeray said.Claiming that nearly 1,000 farmers had committed suicide in Maharashtra since the formation of the current dispensation in the state in July this year, Uddhav said if he would have been the CM, he would not have allowed such suicides to take place.In response to Uddhav’s attack, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which held the reins of Maharashtra between November 2019 and June 2022, should explain where was its concern for farmers and the agriculture sector. Why did it fail to address the agrarian crisis?”

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The Indian Express | 6 hours ago | 27-11-2022 | 12:50 am
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Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday said that he is giving money to the people and “not taking it to Swiss bank”, replying to BJP’s accusations of him “squandering money”.“Ye mujhko BJP wale khoob galiyan dete hain…..Kejriwal sara paisa luta dega. Kejriwal janta ko hi toh paisa de raha hai (These BJP people curse me a lot…..Kejriwal will squander all the money. Kejriwal is only giving money to the public). Kejriwal is not taking the money to the Swiss bank, or building mansions or buying properties,” the AAP chief said in Bhavnagar.Kejriwal also repeated guarantees of free electricity, allowance for women, employment, unemployment allowance and raised the issue of paper leaks. The Delhi chief minister also claimed to reinstate the Old Pension Scheme by January 31 (2023), if they are voted to power. Asking just five years from his voters in the roadshow, the supremo said, “If I don’t work, then oust me.”AAP candidates from Bhavnagar West, Bhavnagar East, Bhavnagar Rural, Palitana, Gadhada, Botad and Talaja of Bhavnagar and Botad districts were present in the roadshow as well. All of these constituencies are the stronghold of the BJP, except for Talaja which is Congress dominated seat.Kejriwal also said that God will cause a miracle by sweeping the broom, the Aam Aadmi Party’s election symbol, and catapult his party to power in Gujarat.Raju Solanki, who is the AAP candidate from Bhavnagar West, of the two term MLA and Gujarat Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, who has been re-fielded from the same seat.When the “pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom”, the AAP national convener claimed.“In all of Gujarat, a heavy storm of change is brewing. The entire state has stood up. Some miracle is going to happen this time. It is said in Bhagavadgita that whenever the pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom. The Almighty has started sweeping his broom,” Kejriwal said.(With PTI)

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Ndtv | 8 hours ago | 26-11-2022 | 11:41 pm
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Arvind Kejriwal asked the people assembled to give him a chance. (File)Bhavnagar: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said God will cause a miracle by sweeping the broom, the Aam Aadmi Party's election symbol, and catapult his party to power in Gujarat, where the two-phase Assembly polls are scheduled for December 1 and 5.When the "pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom", the Aam Aadmi Party national convener claimed while addressing a roadshow in Bhavnagar in the poll-bound state."In all of Gujarat, a heavy storm of change is brewing. The entire state has stood up. Some miracle is going to happen this time. It is said in Bhagavadgita that whenever the pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom. The Almighty has started sweeping his broom," Mr Kejriwal said.He said people getting zero electricity bills for the usage of 24-hour electricity, as part of AAP's poll promise of not charging for 300 units of power, would be the "magic" people will experience once his party forms government in Gujarat."This is magic. This 24-hour, zero-electricity bill is magic. And only Kejriwal knows how to perform that magic. No other party can perform this magic. I have been specially blessed by the Almighty and this can only be done by Mr Kejriwal and no other leader," he said.He said the Bharatiya Janata Party had done nothing for the state in its 27-year rule and voting for the opposition Congress was futile as its legislators would defect to the ruling party post-elections.Mr Kejriwal asked the people assembled at the roadshow to give him a chance to see what can be done in five years, adding they could "throw us out" if promises are not fulfilled."Today, people are suffering due to inflation. They are unable to survive. I will give you relief from inflation. After the formation of our government, I will pay your electricity bill from March 1," he said.Mr Kejriwal said women above the age of 18 will get Rs 1,000 per month as an honorarium, while youth will get Rs 3,000 as an unemployment allowance till they land a job."If you want to keep your children unemployed, you want to be abused, then you vote for them (BJP). This has been going on for 27 years. But if you want employment for your children, then vote for AAP," he asserted.Slamming the ruling BJP, he said frequent exam paper leaks in major competitive exams meant there was the involvement of big leaders."All paper leaks since 2015 will be probed and these big leaders will go to jail. We will completely eliminate the atmosphere of fear in the business world. We will create an environment to do business with courage and peace. We will give every businessman the respect they deserve," he said.Mr Kejriwal said an AAP government in the state would be free from corruption, and Value Added Tax and other pending refunds will be paid within six months (of coming to power).PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe Goods and Services Tax will be simplified, he added.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayRow Over Karnataka Chief Minister's Border Remark Intensifies

"Almighty Started Sweeping His Broom": Arvind Kejriwal At Gujarat Rally