Times of India | 4 days ago | 25-11-2022 | 07:51 am
VADODARA: The battle of the ballot has kept Timla village of Chhota Udepur district in a tizzy over the past few days with swarms of netas keeping their sleepy hamlet abuzz with campaigning. While Timla is high on poll fever, its next-door neighbour, Sajanpur, is surprisingly calm. No banner, no bugle or poll gossip under the village banyan tree! Reason? Though geographically in Gujarat, Sajanpur is affiliated with Madhya Pradesh! So, it's business as usual in this village spread over two-and-half square km. Every heart in Sajanpur having a population of about 1,200 people beats for its parent state MP. "Sajanpur is a unique village that is geographically surrounded by Gujarat but administratively it is under MP. So, politicians from Gujarat rarely visit our village, not even during the elections," Gamji Hiraliya, former sarpanch told TOI, adding that residents though go to adjacent villages to watch the campaigns out of curiosity. Sajanpur comes under the Alirajpur district of MP and is located about 3km off the MP border. Most of the signboards in Sajanpur are in the Hindi language. "We have to pass through Gujarat villages to reach our state," Gamji, a 50-year-old farmer, added. "We speak some Gujarati at home while for administrative work we have to learn Hindi too,” said Vikram Rathwa, a 24-year-old farm labourer from Sajanpur, who added that their village shares amicable relations with adjacent Gujarat villages and also discuss civic and other issues. “When polls in MP happen, ours is the only village that sees campaigning in Gujarat,” Rathwa said, adding that the Sajanpur residents have no complaints again st the MP government and ar e well looked after despite being cut off from that state. Dadra is another such village spread over a foursquare-kilometre ar ea that sits between Dungra and Lavachha villages of Gujarat but owes its a llegiance to the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. While adjacent villages are caught in the poll tornado, Dadra, a separate region from Nagar Haveli, remains unruffled.
With only two days remaining for the first day of polling in the Gujarat Assembly election, as many as 11 BJP leaders will campaign for the party in various parts of the state Tuesday. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is at the helm of the party’s preparations for the elections, is scheduled to address four rallies in Dahod, Kheda and Ahmedabad city.Party’s national president JP Nadda will address two public rallies in Dahod and Vadodara city, and hold a roadshow in Bhavnagar. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel is scheduled to hold a roadshow in Patan.Union Minister Parshottam Rupala will address four public meetings in Amreli, Mehsana and Ahmedabad, while his colleague Mansukh Mandaviya will address two group meetings in Gir Somnath.Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, among the star campaigners, will address public meetings in Mahisagar, Anand and Vadodara. He will also lead a roadshow in Godhra.Other senior party leaders who are scheduled to campaign in various parts of the state include Union Minister Smriti Irani, party’s youth wing president Tejaswi Surya, sitting MLA and Gujarati film actor Hitu Kanodiya, former MP and film actor Paresh Raval and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Savant.
Former Union minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad questioned the absence of Rahul Gandhi from the election campaign in Gujarat saying the “Congress has declared itself defeated” in the state.“In 2017, he was in Gujarat all the time and visiting temples. But this time, why has he shown so much apathy for Gujarat? It is because the Congress knows that it cannot win in Gujarat,” Prasad, who arrived in Vadodara as part of the campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly polls, said.He also attacked the Congress for supporting Medha Patkar, who had stalled the construction of the Narmada Dam.“As a lawyer, I got lots of opportunities to argue important cases—I am the lawyer of Lord Ram and also Narmada Dam in the Jabalpur High Court and even SC. I have also exposed the fodder scam, for which Lalu Yadav is languishing in prison now. Medha Patkar and company tried hard to ensure that Gujarat does not get water.Manmohan Singh’s government was standing in their support. Not just Sardar Sarovar but also Indira Sagar dam in Madhya Pradesh—they wanted to oppose the entire project… Today, thanks to Modiji, the water has reached Saurashtra and Kutch,” he said.He also attacked Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge for his comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kharge “cannot be compared to a world leader like Modi”, he said.
Miffed with the party for being denied tickets in the coming Assembly polls, several BJP leaders in Gujarat either shifted base or filed their nominations as Independents.In the constituency of Padra in Vadodara district, this could prove to be costly for the BJP and hamper its chances of wresting control of the seat from the Congress. After longtime party leader and former Padra MLA Dinesh Patel, popularly known as Dinu Mama, quit the party on November 17, 15 elected members of the area’s municipality resigned along with 11 taluka panchayat members. This effectively ended the BJP’s hold on power at the local level in the area, a development that the party admitted was “definitely a setback”.In the panchayat elections in February 2021, the BJP found support from the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP) party. It won 15 out of the 28 seats in the taluka panchayat. An Independent joined the party shortly after, helping it reach the majority figure of 16. With all of its leaders resigning now, the ruling party has lost control of the body.In the 28-member municipality, the BJP won 20 seats. Five RSP members also extended support to the ruling party. With 11 BJP members quitting, the BJP’s tally is now down to nine. They also claim to have the support of the RSP leaders.Padra Municipality councillor Paresh Gandhi was among those who quit the civic body in support of the BJP rebel. “A total of 11 BJP councillors resigned this week in support of Dinu Mama … We have the support of five RSP councillors. After the Assembly polls, we will stake a claim as Independents to form a board. We have already been suspended by the party and we are fine with it. Dinu Mama has been our leader and the party has treated him unfairly by denying him a ticket,” he said.A two-term MLA from the seat, Patel is contesting as an Independent and has been suspended by the BJP. He told The Indian Express, “I won as an Independent in 2007. I am returning to my roots. The people are with me. My supporters are firmly behind me. Once we win the constituency, they will form an Independent board in the taluka panchayat and municipality. The candidate chosen by the party this time is the one who worked against the party to have me defeated in 2017. There is no way I can compromise.”Patel, who is also the chairperson of Baroda Diary, first won the election from Padra in 2007 as an Independent. He joined the BJP in 2012 and retained his seat after winning on a BJP ticket. He lost in 2017 by 20,000 votes to the Congress’s Jaspalsinh Thakor. He will now contest against Thakor and the BJP’s Chaitanyasinh Zala. The president of the Padra municipality is Mayursinh Zala, the brother of Chaitanyasinh.Since September 2021, Patel had been having differences with other elected BJP MLAs of the Baroda Dairy board. Following a public spat with Savli legislator Ketan Inamdar over remuneration to milk producers, state BJP president CR Paatil stepped in to resolve differences between the two. The board then conceded the demands raised by Inamdar and his group of MLAs.While district BJP leaders did not comment on the recent developments, Dinesh Thakkar, the media convenor of the BJP’s Vadodara district unit, said, “The party has suspended a total of 48 members from the Padra taluka unit … These include office bearers of the party as well as the elected representatives. Losing the taluka panchayat and the municipality is definitely a setback, but the party is firm that it will not entertain rebellion. There is a strong reason why the party suspended the leaders even after they resigned.”Thakkar added, “The matter will now be referred to the development officer of the taluka, who will decide whether the rebels should be granted the status of a separate party to stake a claim in the respective local bodies or whether they should be disqualified… We cannot comment on what can happen in this issue.”The BJP is also witnessing a similar rebellion in Waghodia, where six-term MLA Madhu Shrivastav has filed his nomination as an Independent. He has also taken along several members of the taluka unit of the party. In Savli, Inamdar is up against Congress candidate and former BJP leader Kuldeepsinh Raulji, the director of Baroda Dairy.
Vadodara: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath will hold a road show and a public meeting in Godhra on Tuesday. This will be his first visit to Godhra, the ground zero of 2002 Gujarat riots.The road show to campaign for BJP candidate from Godhra C K Raulji will kick off from Vishwakarma Chowk and culminate at the Lalbaug Tekri ground in Godhra town. Yogi is expected to address a public meeting at the ground. Yogi has been campaigning extensively in the state and has held road shows as well as public meetings. Yogi’s visit to Godhra comes days after AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had visited the town. Owaisi had slammed BJP’s Assam chief minister for giving a communal colour to Delhi’s Shraddha murder case. Owaisi had also criticised the state government for releasing the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.
AHMEDABAD: Para swimmers from Gujarat continued to shine at the national level, bagging 29 medals -- 18 gold, six silver and five bronze -- at the recently-concluded 22nd National Para Swimming Championships, 2022 in Guwahati. The championship was hosted by the Paralympic Association of Assam under the aegis of Paralympic Committee of India. Thirty-two para swimmers from across the state had represented Gujarat at the meet and 13 of them returned with at least a medal. Three para swimmers each from Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot and one each from Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Junagadh and Porbandar clinched medals of various hues. Vadodara’s Garima Vyas, who won three gold medals, was adjudged the best para swimmer in the senior women’s category. The 21-year-old won gold in 50m freestyle, 50m breaststroke and 100m breaststroke. Garima won the gold in the S-5 category by setting a new national record of 1:45.98. In 50m breaststroke, she came first after finishing in 1:59.15 while in 100m breaststroke, she rewrote the national record, claiming the yellow metal in 4:15.41 Ahmedabad’s Vyom Pawa won three gold medals and broke one national record. The 15-year-old won the gold in 200m freestyle with a record-breaking timing of 10:34.80 in the S4 category. He also clinched the top position in the 50m and 100m freestyle, by registering timings of 2:32.56 and 5:31.18 respectively. Surat’s Jaynish Sarang too was in red hot form, eclipsing two national records. He won the gold medal in the 50m breaststroke in 41.15 seconds in the SB8 category while in the 50m butterfly, he finished the race in 38.68 seconds to set a new timing record and win the yellow metal. Surat’s Abizer Dodia and Devanshi Rana too bagged three gold medals. Ahmedabad’s Sursinh Solanki won two medals - a gold and a bronze, while Dinesh Kanzariya won a bronze. Rajkot’s Niti Rathod bagged two gold and a silver while a gold and a silver was claimed by Jigar Thakker of Rajkot. Porbandar’s Keshu Bhima won a bronze while Junagadh’s Burhan Modiya claimed a silver. Rajkot’s Indresh Palan won three silver medals while Gandhinagar’s Harshil Shah won a bronze.