The Indian Express | 1 day ago | 25-11-2022 | 07:50 pm
MOST BJP workers accompanying Amit Popatlal Shah, 63, the former mayor of Ahmedabad, struggle to match his energy and fast pace of walking, as the current chief of the Ahmedabad BJP unit hits the campaign trail across the Ellisbridge Assembly constituency. Shah is adamant the AAP won’t make a dent at any of Ahmedabad city’s 16 Assembly seats. He is also confident of personally winning by over 80,000 votes. Once elected, he has vowed to resolve all disputes related to the Disturbed Areas Act in the Paldi area of his constituency.At a Navrangpura rally on November 23, the second of the day for Shah in which he and his entourage covered nearly four kilometres on foot across residential societies as part of his pre-poll outreach, the public reception was mixed, often lukewarm. At times, Shah could be seen waving at empty balconies, with intrigued shopkeepers and bystanders reluctantly waving back, that too, intermittently.At New Asmita Apartment, past the Commerce Six Roads Metro station, a resident angrily shooed away Shah and his entourage of BJP workers and dhol players, making evident his displeasure with the cacophony they were making. “Perhaps someone is sick at their home, so they are getting disturbed by the noise,” added a BJP worker sheepishly, even as Shah quickly apologised and made a U-turn from the society.“Before elections, it is important to make oneself visible among the public. I’m walking 18,000 steps every day and even after the election, I’ll keep my jan sampark going on Sundays. We have committed voters and I feel it’s necessary to meet them individually at their homes to build the connection. You see, we’re distributing pamphlets, because voters should know about my candidature, and that I had visited their homes. As a corporator, I would make it a point to share booklets of the work I have got done through the year, every year. The public should know what their elected representative is doing for them,” Shah told The Indian Express.At Dev Apartments, sexagenarian Arunaben Shah, along with other ladies, accost Shah as soon as he enters the society with his team. “Men often urinate on the side of the road opposite our society gate. We had also complained to Rakeshbhai (Shah, incumbent Ellisbridge BJP MLA), but nothing was done.” Shah assured them he will alert civic body officials to have a public toilet set up in the vicinity.A lawyer by qualification who never practised, he was accompanied by his family—daughter and wife—at the rally. A party loyalist, he has been a councillor at AMC for five consecutive terms, holding various posts—octroi chairman, water supply vice-chairman, member of the AMC standing committee for five years during Congress rule in AMC, and Leader of the Opposition from 2000 to 2005.Shah, who was the mayor of Ahmedabad between 2005 and 2008, has a more popular namesake as the Union Home Minister sitting in New Delhi. He says the confusion over two people with the same name was short-lived. “Initially, there used to be some confusion. In 1995, when Amit (Anilchandra) Shah (the Home Minister) became the Gujarat State Financial Services (GSFC) chairman, company officials had once landed up at my place with flower bouquets. I was a councillor at the time, and I told them I’m not the person they were seeking. Thereafter, I never really encountered such confusion,” says Shah.Notably, Amit Shah the mayor was a deputy accountant with Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, where Amit Shah the current Union Home Minister was chairman in 2005.On the campaign trail, the warmest welcomes are extended by residents who claim to be affiliated to the RSS, or to have known Shah from his mayoral days. Shyam Gopaldas Shah, a retiree with a precast concrete technology business, rushes out of his house as Shah’s rally passes by. He says, “We have been friends for decades, and I’ll definitely vote for him. BJP hi aani chahiye, aur kaun aayega? [BJP should win, who else can?]”With declared moveable and immovable assets totalling Rs 3.15 crores, Shah also faces a criminal case for attacking activist Medha Patkar in 2002 during the Narmada Bachao Andolan, whose trial is still ongoing before an Ahmedabad magistrate’s court. Along with Vinai Saxena—the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor (LG), Amit Thakar—the current BJP candidate from Vejalpur, and BJP leader Rohit Patel, Shah was charged with offences under IPC pertaining to unlawful assembly, rioting, voluntarily causing hurt and criminal intimidation. “She (Patkar) did not appear before the court for 10 years. Eventually, Magistrate bhi sharma gaye ki mayor aata hai par woh (Patkar) nahi aati hai, and exempted me from appearing before the court. Gujarat’s public wants Narmada water. Patkar opposed increasing the height of the dam. We had demonstrated against her. It was nothing wrong,” says Shah.Ellisbridge has been a prestige seat for the BJP, with PM Modi having aspired for the seat once. The party has maintained control over the seat since 1998. As the city BJP chief, Shah is also tasked with managing wins in all 16 Assembly constituencies within the city’s jurisdiction. He candidly says he is banking on the Hindu vote, and that the party is not canvassing in Muslim areas. In fact, Shah’s Navrangpura rally started from the Jain temple of Dada Saheb Na Pagla, and went via the Shri Siddheshwar Hanumanji Temple.“At Ellisbridge, the Congress has never won (the last non-BJP candidate to be elected was in 1995, an Independent), and our victory margin has only gone up over the years. I believe this year’s margin will be above 80,000. We have meticulously planned our ‘page samitis’ in Hindu areas. We have not gone to Muslim areas because we don’t get their votes, so we don’t even bother working for them. We will give a bada jhatka (huge jolt) to the Congress this time. AAP is not even in the picture,” said Shah.
The BJP will never implement a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in Gujarat, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said on Saturday, dubbing the saffron party’s poll promise as “fake”.The reaction of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party came after the ruling BJP released its manifesto for the Gujarat polls, promising the implementation of a UCC in the state if it retains power.“The BJP has ruled Gujarat for 27 years. After remaining at the helm for more than two decades, it is still making promises,” the AAP’s co-incharge for Gujarat, Raghav Chadha, told reporters.“If it was indeed their intent, they would have implemented it much ago,” Chadha said, asking, “Why didn’t they implement it?” “It is a fake promise. The BJP will never implement it (UCC),” he added. On October 29, the Gujarat government announced that it would form a committee for the implementation of a UCC. Other BJP-ruled states, such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, have also promised to implement a UCC. Chadha said neither the BJP nor the Congress is talking about the real issues in the run-up to the Gujarat polls. The AAP is the only party that has come up with a “model for the economic uplift” of the people of Gujarat, he said.
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?”
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)
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
AHMEDABAD: The movement of several trains will be affected at Vangaon and Dahanu section stations from 09.40 am to 10.40am on November 27 and from 9am to 9.40am on November 28 in connection with DFCCIL work. According to a release the details of the trains affected are as under: Trains affected on November 27, 2022: 1. Train No. 12934 Ahmedabad – Mumbai Central Karnavati Express will be regulated by 30 minutes at Dahanu Road station. 2. Train No. 12489 Bikaner – Dadar Express will be regulated by 10 minutes at Gholvad station. 3. Andheri – Dahanu Road Local departing from Andheri at 07.51 hrs will be short terminated at Vangaon station and hence will remain partially cancelled between Vangaon and Dahanu Road. 4. Dahanu Road – Virar Local departing from Dahanu Road at 09.37 hrs will depart from Vangaon and hence will remain partially cancelled between Dahanu Road and Vangaon. 5. Churchgate – Dahanu Road Local departing from Churchgate at 07.42 hrs will be short terminated at Vangaon station and hence will remain partially cancelled between Vangaon and Dahanu Road. 6. Dahanu Road – Virar Local departing from Dahanu Road at 10.10 hrs will depart from Vangaon and hence will remain partially cancelled between Dahanu Road and Vangaon. Trains affected on November 28, 2022:1. Train No. 12479 Jodhpur – Bandra Terminus Suryanagari Express will be regulated by 10 minutes at Dahanu Road station. 2. Train No. 22956 Bhuj – Bandra Terminus Kutch Express will be regulated by 15 minutes at Gholvad station. 3. Andheri – Dahanu Road Local departing from Andheri at 07.51 hrs will be short terminated at Vangaon station and hence will remain partially cancelled between Vangaon and Dahanu Road. 4. Dahanu Road – Virar Local departing from Dahanu Road at 09.37 hrs will depart from Vangaon and hence will remain partially cancelled between Dahanu Road and Vangaon.