Cracks in Gujarat BJP ahead of state polls as AAP challenge lomms large

AHMEDABAD: Recent sharp interactions within the Gujarat BJP have shown the cracks within the ruling party ahead of the assembly elections due later this year.

Union Minister of State Devusinh Chauhan has chided the state chief whip Pankaj Desai, an MLA from Nadiad on social media for hogging the credit for road repairs in his constituency.

On the other hand, Gujarat Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Purnesh Modi is finding it difficult to keep his corporators with him in Surat.

In an embarrassment, only two corporators of the total 16 turned up at a meeting called by Purnesh Modi in his Surat (West) constituency.

Sources said most absentees were loyalists of BJP chief CR Patil.

“Aware of the ongoing cold war between Patil and Purnesh Modi, they stayed away,” said a source.

Surat BJP chief Niranjan Zanzmera feigned ignorance about the meeting called by Punesh, saying he had been ill for some days.”
Meanwhile, Paatil on Wednesday termed activist Medha Patkar an “urban Naxal” and a “staunch anti-Gujarat person”, and claimed the AAP is planning to project her as its chief ministerial face in the upcoming state Assembly elections.

However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) refuted Paatil’s claim and accused the ruling BJP of spreading rumours.

Last week, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel had also termed Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar as an “urban Naxal” for opposing the ambitious Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river in Gujarat, and claimed that she had also received political support in the past.

Notably, Patkar had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Mumbai North East as an AAP candidate.

“That AAP gave a Lok Sabha ticket to a person who committed the sin of depriving parched regions of Kutch and Saurashtra region of the Narmada water for nearly 15 years. That person, Medha Patkar, is an urban Naxal,” Paatil said while addressing party workers in Vadodara on Wednesday.
Urban Naxal’ term is often used by some segments of the political spectrum to describe sympathisers of the Naxalism cause as well as certain social activists.

“Patkar had once said that she will make sure that the Sardar Sarovar dam never gets completed. She tried hard to stall the project. And when the dam got completed, she vowed to stop the water from reaching Kutch and Saurashtra,” Paatil alleged.

“AAP is now planning to project such a staunch anti-Gujarat person as the party’s CM face in Gujarat. We must not let such a party enter (win elections in) Gujarat. I appeal to all of you to stay alert,” the BJP MP from Navsari said.

Assembly elections in Gujarat are expected to be held in December this year.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has already announced 29 candidates for the 182-member Gujarat House.

AAP’s Gujarat unit president Gopal Italia categorically denied that his party is planning to project Patkar as the chief ministerial face of the state.

“I outrightly refute this rumour that Patkar is our CM face in Gujarat. She has not been with the party for the last seven years. She neither holds any post in AAP nor is she active in public life. By spreading such rumours about such a person proves that the BJP is left with no real issues,” Italia said.

He added that AAP will never entertain any anti-national or anti-Gujarat people.

The party on Wednesday released its third list of 10 candidates for the Gujarat Assembly elections due later this year.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP had earlier announced 19 candidates for polls to the 182-member Assembly in BJP-ruled Gujarat.

No other party has so far declared its candidates for the state elections due in December.

During his recent visits to Gujarat, AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal announced a host of pre-poll guarantees related to electricity, jobs, unemployment allowance, women and tribals if the AAP is elected to power in the state.

As per the list released on Wednesday, the AAP has given ticket to its Gujarat unit treasurer and former Congress leader Kailash Gadhvi from Mandvi Assembly seat in Kutch district.
The party has selected Dinesh Kapadia as its candidate for Danilimda seat in Ahmedabad and Ramesh Patel for Deesa seat in Banaskantha.

Social activist and former Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) leader Praful Vasava, known for fighting for tribals affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project, has been nominated for Nandod seat in Narmada district.

Lalesh Thakkar has been chosen for Patan seat, Kalpesh Patel for Vejalpur seat in Ahmedabad and Arvind Gamit for Nizar seat in Tapi district.

Vijay Chavda has been given ticket from Savli seat in Vadodara and Bipin Gameti from Khedbrahma seat in Sabarkantha.

Jeevan Jungi, a local leader of the fishermen community, has been selected to contest from Porbandar seat in the Saurashtra region.
(Massage of humanity)

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