Why is BJP feeling labour pain, asks Hardik

It’s time to gift BJP leaders pills to keep their blood pressure under control, said Jignesh Mevani even as Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakore wonder why BJP is so upset if the going is good in Gujarat

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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R K Misra

“Why is the BJP getting labour pain over my meetings”, wondered aloud Hardik Patel after Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani called him a ‘liar’ for denying that he had met the Congress VP Rahul Gandhi. The young Patidar leader candidly said that he had visited the hotel in which the Congress leader put up. But he claimed that his meeting was with former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, in charge of the Congress campaign.

CCTV footage showing him arrive and leave the hotel was confiscated by the police, ostensibly because of ‘VIP movement’ and part of it had promptly surfaced on select television channels.

An equally caustic Jignesh Mevani, the Dalit leader, quipped that the time had come to gift BJP leaders with pills to control their blood pressure. “They will need them in plenty in the coming weeks,” he added. Alpesh Thakore, the third leader of the triumvirate, claimed that booth level planning and support of people would ensure victory for the Congress.

Announcement of polling dates (December 9 and 14) by the EC on Wednesday has been welcomed most by the state’s beleaguered bureaucracy. Officials had been kept on their toes this month by frequent visits of the Prime Minister and mega events organised by the BJP. It was also becoming difficult, confided a senior bureaucrat, to cope with the incessant requests from BJP leaders for security, clearances and approvals. With the Model Code of Conduct kicking in, the bureaucrats have heaved a sigh of relief, the officer claimed.

Also within hours of the poll notification, former Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela announced the ‘acquisition’ of All India Hindustan Congress(AIHC) to contest the forthcoming polls. And the three young Turks-Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani heading the Patidar, OBC and Dalit ethnic groups- reiterated their resolve to work for the defeat of the BJP at the hustings.

Meanwhile a sessions court in the north Gujarat town of Visnagar on Wednesday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against PAAS leader Hardik Patel and Sardar Patel Group(SPG) leader Lalji Patel for not attending court hearings.

The police had filed the case against Hardik and 17 others for attacking the office of BJP legislator Rushikesh Patel during a protest rally in July 2015.

“I have been regularly attending court hearings except for this last one and have not heard of warrants being issued for a single absence”, Lalji Patel told mediapersons. Dinesh Bhambaniya, an aide of Hardik expressed similar sentiments.

“It is a measure of the government’s desperation and will further dim BJP’s chances. We will seek judicial redressal of our grievances”, said PAAS leader Atul Patel.

Shankersinh Vaghela, who had floated the Jan Sankalp Morcha as an informal third front, cemented his electoral ambition with the announcement that he was ‘allying’ with a dormant political outfit, All India Hindustan Congress(AIHC) with tractor as its poll symbol and registered in Jaipur.

“We do not have much of a base in Gujarat, so we have handed over our symbol to ‘Bapu’ as we sought to align with a tall leader,” said Anil Sharma, national general secretary of the AIHC. Vaghela’s outfit announced that it would contest all the 182 seats of the Gujarat Assembly.

Chief minister Vijay Rupani greeted the announcement by the Election Commission and exuded confidence. “Poll surveys indicating a BJP win are already saying what we have been pointing out for so long,” he added.

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Published: 26 Oct 2017, 3:16 PM