Gujarat assembly polls: In Bapu’s birthplace fishermen hold the key to assembly
After Rahul’s meeting with the fishermen community, it is being claimed the downfall of BJP’s 22 years of misrule will begin from the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi
Disappointed with the BJP, fishermen, the second largest community in Porbandar assembly seat is looking for an alternative. After the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with the community members on Friday, it is being claimed the downfall of BJP’s 22 years of misrule will begin from the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.
The leader of the fishermen community and president of the Porbandar Machhimaar Boat Owners Association, Bharatbhai Modi explained why the stage is set for the revival of the Congress in Bapu’s birthplace.
“Our community (Kharva) has a feeling that we are lagging behind in the race of development. BJP has been ruling the state for 22 years, but our problems stand unresolved. As many as 500 people and 1,000 boats were apprehended by the Pakistani authorities but the BJP government has done nothing so far,” he said, adding that the anger prevailing among fishermen community may convert in to “negative voting” for the BJP.
However, in same breath, in said that Modi still rules the heart of common Gujaratis. Bharat Bhai Modi was a dedicated BJP worker until he was suspended a couple of days ago. BJP has suspended Modi for his alleged anti-party activity. According to the allegation, Modi met Rahul Gandhi and praised him when he visited Porbandar on Friday.
Analysts feel that Bharatbhai Modi’s statement against BJP has special significance as it reflects the brewing resentment among own BJP’s rank and file against the party leadership.
Recalling the events of the day, which led to his suspension, Bharat Modi said that Rahul Gandhi came to Porbandar on a very short visit on Friday. He was not addressing any rallies, he just came to visit Kirti Mandir, where Mahatma Gandhi was born, and listen to the concerns of fishermen at the port. “I was also present at the meeting. I got up on the stage and highlighted some of the grievances that fishermen in Porbandar have,” he added.
Following a protest from the community, BJP has revoked Modi’s suspension. But the damage has already been done, said a senior journalist in the condition of anonymity.
“What stopped BJP from raising the issue of fishermen with the Pakistan. Since BJP is ruling both the state and the centre, they cannot escape from their responsibility,” said Modi. He acknowledges that he is indoctrinated in RSS-BJP philosophy but this time he feels the change in the air.
In Porbandar assembly seat where Kharva is the second largest community, 35,000-40,000 voters hold the key to power, observed a senior journalist. With BJP not paying any heed to the demands, Congress has every reason to hope for the revival.
“BJP has stopped the compensation which the Congress government had paid. Congress government had paid ₹20 lakh as the compensation to the fishermen whose boats were apprehended and 3 lakhs to the families of those who were detained,” said Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia.
In 2012, BJP wrested seat from the Congress with Babubhai Bokhariya becoming the MLA. The Kharvas in 2012, and again in 2014, stood firmly with the BJP. But Ahmedabad watchers feel that the ripples created by Rahul Gandhi's visit has thrown the debate over which way the community will lean open.