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Author: Chintan Acharya

Support pours in for ‘slighted’ Deputy CM Nitin Patel

The BJP government in Gujarat is passing through a critical situation after deputy CM Nitin Patel exhibited his disagreement on the portfolios allocated to him. Instead of assuming charge, Patel remained at home on Friday and Saturday. From Saturday morning, a flock of supporters and many BJP dissidents started pouring in at his house in Thaltej.They all sympathised with Patel and demanded that he should get respectful portfolios in the government. Former minister and veteran leader Narottam Patel was first to reach. He was an MLA from Udhna seat in Surat in the last term and had expressed before the party that he did not want to contest polls. However, he wished to contest the Assembly polls later but was not given a ticket. Though he turned dissident, he supported Nitin Patel in the polls in Mehsana. The Deputy CM has been given R and B, health and family welfare, medical education and Narmada portfolios this time.Talking to mediapersons, Narottam Patel, said, “Nitin Patel has been treated in a disrespectful manner. He has been given less important portfolios, and whatever he has demanded is not wrong. The party high command should consider his demands and give him the portfolios that he wishes.”The surprise entry was of husband of former CM Anandiben Patel, Mafatbhai. He told mediapersons, “Amit Shah is responsible for all this. He has been given responsibility to handle political affairs in Gujarat, and now he should devise a solution. Patel community has great importance in Gujarat politics and that should not be ignored by him.” Several supporters of Nitin Patel in Ghatlodia area of Ahmedabad, Mehsana and his hometown Kadi also staged several protests showing solidarity for their leader. LEADERS LINE UP “Amit Shah meted injustice to Anandiben Patel in the past and now he is doing the same to Nitin Patel,” said Mafatbhai Patel, husband of former CM Anandiben. Ex-MLA and Anandiben Patel’s supporter Pragji Patel, former PAAS leader who defected to BJP recently Ketan Patel, former BJP leader Kirit Patel, Mehsana BJP president Kaushik Vyas and others also paid visit.

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Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quit

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel has threatened to resign if he is not given all the portfolios he possessed in the previous government. The senior BJP leader wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday evening listing his demands.”In his letter, Nitin Patel, mentioned that he felt insulted as he has been given less significant portfolios. He has told the PM and Shah that he should get all the portfolios, including Finance and Urban Development, within two to three days or else they should accept his resignation,” said a BJP source.However, Patel has denied writing any such letter, but accepted that he has expressed his disagreement.Speaking to DNA, Patel said, “There is nothing wrong in asking for my portfolios back as it is about my self-respect. What is the point of being the deputy chief minister if I hold less important portfolios. I have aired my disagreement to the right person. I do not want to talk much on the issue, but will reveal everything when the time is right.”Sources said Patel also held closed door meeting with former chief minister Anandiben Patel. It has been learnt that she has assured him her support. “Anandiben was stung by Amit Shah and Vijay Rupani. Now, she would take this anti-Shah-Rupani movement into her own hands in the days to come,” said a senior BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

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Ministers wait for portfolios

Generally in Gujarat government, portfolio allocation is made soon after the swearing in and the Chief Minister calls for the Cabinet meeting the same evening. This time, however, it’s been two days since, but neither the Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has convened his first cabinet meeting, nor has he distributed ministries.While no one is saying it, it is believed that Rupani is waiting for an auspicious time for the portfolio allocation as there was bad omen just before the swearing in ceremony when a small accident occurred between Rupani and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s convoys. A BJP leader confirmed this, but requested anonymity.When asked why the allocation had not taken place yet, the deputy CM Nitin Patel said, “I do not know why. That is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. I assumed charge and started work soon after the swearing in. The cabinet members were also in Gandhinagar until the evening, but the cabinet meeting was not called.”When pressed for a reason, Patel speculated it could be because the PM and party chief Amit Shah were busy with Himachal Pradesh swearing in. “I believe it will happen soon after consultation with the party high command,” he said.The wait is however is too much to handle for the new ministers. “This is very suffocating as I do not know what portfolio I am going to get. There was no meeting and there is no message when it will be, so I left for my constituency where my supporters have organized for a felicitation programme. I will now return to Gandhinagar only next week,” said one minister.

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Shashikant Pandya, Deesa MLA and BJP Hindutva face, may find place in cabinet

The BJP in Gujarat polls played a soft Hindutva card but many strong Hindutva faces were in fray this time. Among these, Deesa’s winning candidate Shashikant Pandya, 54, is believed to be a dark horse. Pandya, a RSS Pracharak, is a bachelor and is believed to be very close to PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.Pandya was among the Karsevaks who participated in demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Pandya said, “I had gone in 1990 for Kar Seva, but we were dragged by police in riverbed of Sarayu near Ayodhya. Mulayam Singh Yadav kept us in jail for many days. All Kar Sevaks had to face very tough time in Tihar prison. Then, I was one of the crowd who climbed up to the peak of the controversial structure of Babri Masjid and demolished it.”Pandya had also participated in BJP’s movement to unfurl the Tricolour in Lal Chowk of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir during the tense days. Keeping the Hindutva image of Pandya in mind, BJP leaders offered him the ticket for Assembly polls from Deesa constituency in Banaskantha.Pandya said, “Deesa was hit by massive flood in July this year and people faced a lot of hardships. I and other RSS volunteers camped in the affected areas and helped locals. This was the turning point, and perhaps the high command considered me to be a candidate for the Deesa seat. Over 50 RSS Swayamsevaks stayed put in Deesa for poll campaigning and that helped me win against Congress sitting MLA Gova Rabari.”A senior BJP leader in Gujarat said, “Pandya is very promising leader. He is very close to PM and Amitbhai. It is possible that he may get berth in Vijay Rupani’s cabinet and may become minister of state for home. His Hindutva image makes him a dark horse in the race of Gujarat politics.” Pandya was a standing committee chairman in Deesa Municipality. He is an Arts graduate and is associated with the construction business and agriculture activity. He won with a margin of more than 14,500 votes against Rabari.A BJP leader from Banaskantha said, “Some senior leaders of BJP did not want Pandya to win and they tried a lot to make him lose in the polls. However, Pandya is a grassroot level worker and has been associated with RSS and BJP for more than 30 years. It was his Hindutva image and work that earned him the victory, walking against all odds.”

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Likely faces in Vijay Rupani’s cabinet

With the BJP all set to form the government in Gujarat for a sixth consecutive term, top party leaders are busy carryingout the cherry-picking exercise to select the faces for Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s cabinet.Including Rupani as the CM and Nitin Patel as his deputy, sources said, seven other members are likely to be picked as cabinet rank ministers, while 11 to 12 may be selected for state-level minister rank.The final list will be release on December 26, moments before the swearing-in ceremony of the cabinet members in Gandhinagar.In the meanwhile, sources said, senior party leaders, including BJP state chief Jitu Vaghani, CM Rupani and Dy CM Patel, are going to meet for a couple of times to work out a list keeping factors like castes, regions and gender in mind. Here are the names that are likely to find a place in the BJP’s final list of cabinet ministers and ministers of states:GANPAT VASAVAThe tribal face of the BJP and former minister of tribal and forests in Rupani’s government, Vasava is a promising figure. No other tribal leader from BJP of his cadre has been elected in recent polls. He can get the same portfolio again.BABU BOKHIRIADefeated Congress stalwart Arjun Modhwadia for the second time. He was a cabinet minister in last term and is a strong OBC leader in Saurashtra. He can get water supplies and water resources portfolio once more.RC FALDUA former Saurashtra BJP president and a senior leader from the Patel community, Faldu can become the agriculture minister. His clean image and docile nature can earn him a position in Rupani’s cabinet.SAURABH PATELThe industrialist had been dropped last time. But in the absence of other strong leaders, Rupani won’t be able to ignore him this time. Patel is credited with making the Vibrant Gujarat Summit successful. Finance and energy are his forte.JAYESH RADADIAHe and his father Vitthal Radadiya have good hold over the Patel community in Saurashtra region and that is needed more now to placate Patels who are up in arms against the BJP With 2019 polls nearing, can retain civil supplies.DILIP THAKOROBC leader from North Gujarat. May get a berth ahead of 2019 polls. May get social justice and empowermentKAUSHIK PATELFormer revenue minister in Keshubhai Patel’s government, Kaushik Patel is a Kadva Patel leader from North Gujarat. Likely to enter the cabinet and get the revenue portfolio.PRADIPSINH JADEJAA Kshatriya Rajput leader from Ahmedabad, can be elevated to cabinet minister from MoS. Jadeja is believed to be close to BJP president Amit Shah. May get legal and justice parliamentary affairs and urban development portfolios.BHUPENDRASINH CHUDASAMAIf not chosen for the cabinet, he can be made the speaker in Gujarat assembly, thanks to his experience and knowledge of proceedings of the House. His soft-spoken nature can also bag him the new job.

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Vijay Rupani’s journey from student leader to CM for second time

Born on August 02, 1956, in Rangoon of Myanmar, in a Jain Bania family from Rajkot, Vijay Rupani is a leader who has played different roles through out his political career. He was the seventh and youngest boy among his siblings. His family moved back to Rajkot on 1960 after political instability in Myanmar.He studied BA and LLB from Saurashtra University. He began his political career as student activist and RSS Swayamsevak and became the chief minister of Gujarat on August 08, 2016. Meanwhile, entire story of making of the Gujarat CM for Vijay Rupani remained full of ups and downs, but a persistent by nature, Rupani remain non-challent in his life.Vijay Rupani began his political career as a student activist with Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a student wing having ideology similar to BJP and RSS. He joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and then Jan Sangh in 1971. In 1976, he spent 11 months in jails in Bhuj and Bhavnagar during the emergency when he was booked under MISA Act.During 1978 to 1981, Rupani worked as Pracharak of RSS and traveled across Gujarat. He met Anjali, his wife, in Ahmedabad. Meanwhile, her family was working for RSS and both got married. He was elected as a corporator of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) in 1987 and became the chairman of drainage committee. He served as the chairman of standing committee of RMC from 1988 to 1996. He was again elected to RMC in 1995 and remained mayor of Rajkot during 1996 to 1997.He became Gujarat BJP’s general secretary in 1998 and served as the chairman of manifesto committee during chief ministership of former CM Keshubhai Patel.He was appointed as a chairman of Gujarat Tourism in 2006. He was a member of Rajya Sabha from 2006 to 2012. He served as BJP’s Gujarat unit general secretary four times and also became the chairman of the Gujarat Municipal Finance Board in 2013.In August 2014, when the incumbent speaker of Gujarat assembly Vajubhai Vala resigned after being appointed as Karnataka Governor, Vijay Rupani was nominated by the BJP to contest his vacant seat. He won the bypoll on 19 October 2014 by a huge margin. He was inducted as minister in the first cabinet expansion by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in November 2014 and held the ministry of transport, water supply, labor and employment.

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Rajkot eagerly awaits Vijay Rupani’s return as CM

Chief minister Vijay Rupani resigned on Thursday and has been serving as caretaker of state, until the new CM is elected by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Rupani met the Governor with his ministers, and around 240km way from here in Rajkot, the BJP workers and supporters of Rupani are eagerly waiting for the announcement of the name of CM.The observers Arun Jaitley and Saroj Pandey will conduct the procedure on Friday. The Rajkot BJP workers are keeping their fingers crossed, with a hope that their leader Rupani becomes the CM again.A party worker from Rajkot said on condition of anonymity, “We believe that Rupani only will be the CM but we are also hearing that other leaders are also under consideration. Let us see what happens but I am keeping my finger crossed for Rupani.”On the other side, the Rajkot BJP is preparing for the grand celebration of victory of Rupani in city once he returns to hometown after the formality of oath taking. The leaders are also confident that Rupani only will become the CM of Gujarat.A BJP leader from Rajkot and very close friend of Rupani, Nitin Bhardwaj said, “I have no doubt that Vijay Rupani will be the CM of Gujarat again. Amit Shah had given clear indication during campaigning that Rupani will continue as CM. We are waiting for the announcement of his name as it is a formality only.””We had prepared a slogan during poll campaign here, Rajkot ka beta, Gujarat ka neta- meaning Rajkot’s son is to be leader of Gujarat. We will hold a grand celebration once his name is officially announced. We had celebrated for Narendra Modi, Anandiben Patel and Vijay Rupani when they came here after becoming the CM. We also offered grand welcome to Amit Shah when he came here after his appointment as BJP chief,” added Bhardwaj.BJP spokesperson Raju Dhruv said, “Rupani was in Gandhinagar as he is the CM and could not come to Rajkot due to regular courses, but we all celebrated his victory here in his absence. Once he comes again to Rajkot, we will celebrate it with more enthusiasm.”

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Poll loss a blip for Shankar Chaudhary

Shanker Chaudhary, the candidate of BJP from Vav seat, who bit the dust in latest Gujarat polls against Alpesh Thakor-supported Congress candidate Geniben Thakor, has great plans for his future. Chaudhary is a promising leader of BJP from OBC community and has a good hold over the party organisation. Leaders in BJP see him at another important position by 2019 LS polls.A senior leader of the party said on condition of anonymity, “Shankarbhai’s defeat is a great surprise with shock for all of us in the party as he lost to the Congress candidate who had not that huge clout. I see Chaudhary on a big and important position in Gujarat’s politics in days to come. He can become the party president before 2019 polls. It is also possible that he can be the Lok Sabha candidate from Banaskantha district.””Shankar Chaudhary has good relations with Narendra Modi and he is one of the close confident of PM in Gujarat. There are many arch rivals in BJP of him only because of the reason that he is close to Modi. He was party general secretary before he was in Gujarat government’s cabinet and has good organisational skill and popularity in masses,” added the leader.Chaudhary can also become the minister in Modi’s cabinet, if high command decided that he should contest the Rajya Sabha polls in near future, further added the leader.Though Chaudhary lost in polls by 6,655 votes from Vav seat in Banaskantha, he held a great show on Wednesday which was attended by thousands of people. Chaudhary addressed the gathering and said, “I accept the mandate, people of Banaskantha have given but my defeat in polls has not weakened my commitment to serve the people here. I would always remain with you to solve your issues. As I was easily available to you when I was the minister, anyone can knock my door at the darkest moment in the night whenever needed.”

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BJP rebels who contested could not fare in polls

The Gujarat BJP’s rebels have to bite the dust who contested assembly polls going against the party’s mandate. There were four such members who contested the polls but none of them could win. Even their effectiveness also could not be proved as baring one, BJP candidates won on two seats, while Congress won over other two.The Gujarat BJP had suspended as many as 24 members of party including several influential leaders following to their rebelious activities against the party candidates. The party chief in Gujarat Jitu Vaghani had suspended them all on December 02. These 24 leaders were not happy after they did not get the tickets in different constituencies, although only four contested the polls.Former Ahmedabad district president and former Viramgam MLA Kama Rathod had expressed his delinquency as he did not get the ticket from Sanand seat in the latest polls. He had lost from the same seat in assembly polls held in 2012 agaisnt Congress’ Karamshi Patel. Patel, however, defected to BJP before the polls and party gave ticket to his seat Kanu Karamshi Patel. Rathod contested as an independent candidate and claimed that he would defeat Kanu but failed.The same was the incident with former minister in Keshubhai Patel’s government and leader from central Gujarat Bimal Shah. He expected ticket from Kapadvanj but party did not gave him ticket. He contested the polls as independent and lost too. Shah received more than 46,000 votes and Congress candidate won with the margin of more than 27,000 votes against BJP candidate. Shah had expressed his displeasure in 2012 polls too when did not get the ticket and had reached BJP’s state office but then was placated by other leaders.The BJP district president in Panchmahals Dr Jaswantsinh Parmar also wan not happy after BJP gave ticket to Congress’ turncoat and former MLA from Godhra CK Raulji. Parmar contested as independent but Raulji won with thin margin of 258 votes and is likely to get berth in Gujarat government’s cabinet now.The BJP worker in Gandhinagar city Rohit Nayani, who was believed to be very close to CM Vijay Rupani was expecting a ticket. However, Nayani got the indication that he would not get the ticket and contested polls under the banner of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) from Gandhinagar North seat. Unfortunately, he got only 772 votes and Congress candidate CJ Chavda won here.Sanand Seat :Kanu Karamshi Patel (BJP)- 67,692Pushpa Dabhi (Congress)- 59971Kama Rathod – 37,795Kapadvanj Seat:Dabhi Kalabhai (Congress)- 85195Kanu Dabhi (BJP)- 57969Bimal Shah- 46,928Godhra Seat:CK Raulhi (BJP) : 75,149Rajendra Parmar (Congress)- 74,891Dr Jaswantsinh Parmar Independent – 18856Gandhinagar North Seat :CJ Chavda (Congress)- 80,142Ashok Patel (BJP)- 74,406Rohit Nayani – 772

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TINA factor may help Vijay Rupani to stay on as Chief Minister

The BJP has said that Vijay Rupani will remain the Chief Minister, but some other names are also being whispered in the state’s power corridors, especially after the “below expectation” results. Observers attribute this to the TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor. The party is set to form government for a sixth straight term, but the celebration is muted as it got 16 seats less, compared to the 2012 Assembly elections, as the Congress improved its tally despite the loss. The names doing the rounds for the post of Gujarat CM are Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Smriti Irani, and her Cabinet colleague and Minister of State for Roads and Transport, Mansukh L Mandaviya.But dominant thinking is to continue with Rupani, at least for a year.The party does not need to change the CM,” a senior BJP leader said.The leader said party president Amit Shah has also said that Rupani would continue as Gujarat CM. “He is Shah’s close confidant, so he is likely to continue, unless the high command has some different ideas,” he said.The name of Patel leader Ranchodbhai Chanabhai Faldu is also doing the rounds. Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani did not comment on the issue.There is also a murmur in the Gujarat BJP that the party may not appoint a Deputy Chief Minister this time. Nitin Patel held the post in the last government. The party may now make him the Assembly Speaker.”Nitin Patel and Rupani did not share good relations and that is why the party may decide against appointing a Deputy CM. The party needs somebody to handle business in the Assembly. Patel can be the Speaker because of his long experience,” said another senior leader.”Former Speaker Ganpatsinh Vasava is also there but no other Scheduled Tribe leader has been elected who can become a Cabinet Minister. The party needs a senior Scheduled Caste MLA who can be in the government. The BJP high command can keep Vasava in the Cabinet and Patel could be the Speaker,” said the senior leader.The BJP’s Parliamentary Board meeting is likely to be held this weekend. The Board has deputed Maharashtra in-charge Saroj Pandey and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to discuss Gujarat’s leadership issue.No dy cm in guj?There is also a murmur in the Gujarat BJP that the party may not appoint a Deputy Chief Minister this time. Nitin Patel held the post in the last government.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP, Congress undecided on CM face

While several exit polls are predicting a clear victory for BJP in the Gujarat Assembly elections, not many are betting on who will be the next CM. There are many who believe that there may be a change of guard even if the BJP comes back to power. The race is also wide open in case the Congress pulls off a surprise win.Rupani was a surprise pick as CM after Anandiben Patel’s abrupt resignation last year. Rupani has done fairly well, and his tenure has largely been controversy-free, but in spite of the party showing faith in him, it is not certain that he will be leading the government once the results are announced.”If BJP wins more than 150 seats, it would mean that Patel community has strongly supported the party. In such a situation, the party is likely to install a Patel leader as the CM. This would tip the scale in favour of someone like (deputy CM) Nitin Patel or Bhikhubhai Dalsania, another non-controversial leader,” said a BJP leader requesting anonymity.Some others see Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who too is a Patel, as one of the contenders.CM Vijay Rupani’s comments in an exclusive interview with DNA before the elections that he would be happy with the role assigned to him also sparked off speculations. “I never expected any position. I have been saying since the day I was appointed CM that I am here to play a 20-20 match. Our high command will take a call on the issue,” Rupani had said.However, what could work in Rupani’s favour is that he remains grounded, and his tenure has been free of controversies.”Our national president Amit Shah has repeatedly said that Vijay Rupani will be CM and Nitin Patel deputy CM. The BJP has absolute clarity on this,” BJP’s Gujarat in-charge Bhupender Yadav, said.In case the Congress wins, a host of party leaders would be in the race for the CM’s post.Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki is seen as a contender for the post even though he did not contest in the elections. The fact that he had served as Union minister in the UPA government, and comes from a political family, hands him the advantage.Senior Congress leader and son of former CM Chimanbhai Patel, Siddharth Patel, who contested from Dabhoi seat, is also seen as a potential candidate for the top post. He is a Patidar, and if Congress wins, it would be to a great extent to support from the Patidar community.Two-term MLA Paresh Dhanani, who too belongs to the Patidar community, and one of the vocal critics of BJP government, could be a pick for CM if the party wins.Senior MLA Shaktisinh Gohil, who had served as minister in an earlier Congress government in the state, too seen by many as a potential chief ministerial candidate. He is the Congress’s national spokesperson, and had served as leader of opposition.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Voters may have last laugh in these seats

Though the exit polls have given a clear majority of more than 50% seats to BJP in the Gujarat Assembly polls, the candidates of both the parties have kept their fingers crossed for Monday, the day of counting. There is a possibility that bigwigs can lose with a thin margin.Vatva: While BJP has fielded Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja, Congress candidate is businessman Bipin Patel. The seat covers a portion of Ahmedabad city dominated by Patel, OBC and Muslim communities and and rural outskirts which has as huge population of Thakor community. Political observers say the Patel community could vote against Jadeja as two people from the community in this area were killed in open firing by police during reservation agitation. Jadeja may get a breather as polarisation in Muslim votes is likely as two Muslim candidates are in the fray.Sayajigunj: This seat of Vadodara city has been a BJP bastion but this time, it is witnessing a triangular contest among BJP candidate Jitu Sukhadia, Congress candidate Narendra Ravat and local front of Rashtriya Samajvadi Party’s (RSP) candidate Rajesh Ayre. Ayre defected from BJP following a controversy and formed a new forum challenging the BJP. In the local government body polls, RSP candidates won in good number that shows that Ayre could create dent in BJP’s fort in Assembly polls too.Varachha Road: Majority of voters here have voted for BJP in the past. The Patel agitation and impact of Hardik Patel over voters in cities from Saurashtra and North Gujarat region could upset the BJP here.Mangrol (ST): The triangular contest could dim victory chances of BJP candidate and cabinet minister Ganpat Vasava, a tribal leader. Though there was electoral understanding between Congress and South Gujarat’s tribal leader Chhotu Vasava’s Bhartiya Tribal Party, both fielded candidates here. The Congress candidate is Narsinh Vasava while the BTP candidate is Uttam Vasava. The polarisation of votes could go in favour or against any of the candidates on this seat.Bhuj: This seat in Kutch region seems to be slipping from the hands of BJP due to anti-incumbancy against BJP candidate Dr Nima Acharya. There were reports of corruption and illegal and forceful land grabbing complaints against Acharya and her son. On the other hand, Congress gave ticket to social worker Adam Chaki who could get the support of Muslim community. Only BJP organisation’s hardwork could save Acharya here.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP confident of victory, but won’t celebrate till results out

The array of Gujarat BJP leaders, ranging from current CM Vijay Rupani, party chief Jitu Vaghani to national leaders like PM Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah are confident that the saffron party will win the state assembly polls that concluded on Thursday. However, in a bid not to be seen as counting the chicken before they are hatched, it has been quite restrained and anxious.Party spokesperson Jagdish Bhavsar said, “There is nothing like celebration in the party, as it is not the right time yet. We are confident the party will win with more than 150 seats, but there is no need to show exuberance at this moment. We will celebrate on the day of results and that would be statewide. We will not need too much time to prepare for the celebration.”The election has been a closely fought one, as there were many weighing factors.There were issues like community agitations, Rahul Gandhi’s extensive campaigning and temple visits, anti-incumbency in rural parts of state and focus of Modi and Shah on local issues that could turn the tide.A senior party leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “I agree that the party can win in Gujarat, but it will be hard to predict how many seats it will ultimately get. Congress has also worked hard and to an extent, convince many voters of Gujarat. This could lead to upsets and that is why the party is not celebrating till the results. We are keeping fingers crossed. “Meanwhile, the state party leaders are going to meet on Saturday at the party headquarters in Gandhinagar. The meeting will focus on analysing the poll results and discuss other poll-related issues. The party leader also will prepare an account of the poll expenses of party and candidates individually. State Party chief Jitu Vaghani will head the meeting, and will be attended by Rupani, Nitin Patel and other senior leaders.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | If BJP wins, we will intensify our agitation: Hardik Patel

Even as exit polls predict an easy victory for the ruling BJP in Gujarat, the road to power might turn out to be anything but smooth for the party. Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel has now declared that if the BJP comes to power, the reservation agitation will continue with greater intensity. “We have not stopped the agitation. It will not be stopped until our goal is achieved. In the event the BJP comes to power, we renew the agitation for reservation with more vigour,” said Patel.”Goli maarna hai to maar de, mein jaan deene ko taiyaar hu,” said Hardik about his plan to agitate if BJP comes to power. He, however, also insisted that the Congress would win over 100 seats. “There is a lot of anger among the people against the BJP,” adding that the Congress formula was acceptable to him and the party would implement it when it came to power. “If the Congress fails to do so, we will continue the agitation against them too,” said Hardik.Even before the elections, Hardik held several rallies and meetings, urging the people to vote for Congress, stating that it was important to teach the BJP a lesson. Almost all his rallies were well attended, but it remains to be seen if his appeal to the voters worked or not.Additionally, he has also planned a Gujarat yatra in the coming days, where he will meet people and discuss their problems. He will also seek to fortify support for the reservation cause. “I will visit places I haven’t gone to and revisit places that I have already been to and meet people,” said Hardik. He said his plans will include rallies, otla panchayat (small meetings) roadshows, etc, all in an effort to widen his appeal beyond the Patidar community. In the meantime, in the run up to the 2017 election results, the leader is holding meetings in Gandhinagar to decide the future course of action.

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Gujarat elections 2017: All eyes on these seats, will exit polls create any upsets?

The exit polls give a clear majority of more than 50 per cent seats to BJP in the Gujarat Assembly polls, but the candidates of both parties kept their finger crossed for D-Day, to be held on Monday. There are possibilities that upsets can happen in some seats.Rajkot West: This is a high-profile seat in Gujarat as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will face one of the richest candidates in Gujarat, Indranil Rajguru. The BJP organisation under the guidance of Rupani worked hard but this won’t be a cake walk. Though the BJP tried to establish a bond with Rajkot, Rajguru also ran an effective social media campaign here. Dalits, Muslims and the Patels would have preferred the Congress candidate in these polls. This could spoil the mathemetical game for Rupani.Bhavnagar West: Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani is contesting from this seat and the rival candidate from Congress Dilipsinh Gohil who comes from Rajput community. Alike Rupani, Vaghani also is facing Patel fury. Moreover, Rajput community was up in arms. Other communities like upper castes and OBC could be with the BJP but there will be neck and neck rivalry.Mehsana: Poll battle in this Patel dominated seat is between BJP candidate Nitin Patel and Jivabhai Patel, a millionaire who contested on a Congress’ ticket. Tje youth and women from Patel community would have voted for Congress under the influence of Patidar reservation agitation impact. Moreover, Nitin Patel is an outsider for the voters of this constituency as he belongs to Kadi town. He, however, can bank on the local BJP workers’ hard work.Porbandar: BJP candidate Babu Bokhiria been challenged by senior Congress leader and former Opposition leader Arjun Modhwadia. Modhwadia had lost the earlier polls by more than 17,000 votes but focused more over the local issues and corrected errors. This will weigh on Bokhiria. On the other side, Bokhiria has focused more on Kharva(fisherman) community here besides Mehr voters that could add up to the total tally of votes for him.Radhanpur: Alpesh Thakor is contesting polls here on Congress’ ticket while BJP candidate is sober and low profile Lavingji Thakor. This is Thakor community dominated area and the might of both the party candidates is to be tested here. Alpesh Thakor has gained sympathy of women voters after he ran the drive for stict implementation of prohibition in state and youth also supported him.Vadgam: Dalit agitation leader Jignesh Mevani contested the polls as an independent candidate supported by Congress. BJP candidate Vijay Chakravarti is facing the challenge. The Dalits consider Mevani as an outsider here. Chaudhary community domi9nates the region and could vote for BJP.Vatva: Home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja is contesting polls here as BJP candidate and the Congress candidate is Bipin Patel. The Patel community could vote against Jadeja, who may get breather as polarisation in Muslim votes are likely.Sayajigunj: This Vadodara seat was almost BJP’s fort but the triangular contest among BJP candidate Jitu Sukhadia, Congress candidate Narendra Ravat and local front of Rashtriya Samajvadi Party’s candidate Rajesh Ayre are contesting polls.Surat city: Surat city again was under the influence of BJP and majority of urban voters here voted for BJP always here. The Patel agitation and impact of Hardik Patel over the voters in city from Saurashtra and North Gujarat region could create upsets for BJP here.Mangrol (Surat): Congress candidate is Narsinh Vasava while the BTP candidate is Uttam Vasava. The polarisation of votes could go in favour or in opposite to any of the candidates on this seat.Bhuj: This seat in Kutch region seems slipping from the hands of BJP, after the anti-incumbency factor prevailing against candidate Dr. Nima Acharya. On the other side, Congress gave the ticket to social worker Adam Chaki who could get the support from Muslim community. Only BJP organisation’s hardwork could save Acharya here.CLOSE CALLSIn Bhavnagar West, Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani is contesting from this seat and the rival candidate from Congress Dilipsinh Gohilc, which will be a close fight. In Radhanpur, Alpesh Thakor is contesting polls here on Cgress’ ticket while BJP candidate is sober and low profile Lavingji Thakor.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Will Vadodara give a shocker to the ruling party this time?

Vadodara, the cultural city of Gujarat, has a typical pattern of politics and is believed to be an invincible fort of BJP. After delimitation, it has five seats and all five had gone to BJP in the in 2012 polls which were held for the first time after the realignment. Congress has been in opposition in civic body polls since long, and no caste equation dominates here as the city has the mixed population of upper caste, OBC, SC, ST, minorities and others.Besides Gujarati, Maharashtrian community also lives in Vadodara for centuries as the princely state Baroda was ruled by Gaekwad dynasty. However, the Hindu-Muslim rivalry becomes evident many times in a year and many pockets are categorised as sensitive. The communal clashes are more often inspired by political rivalry and that is why the politics in Vadodara is peculiar in nature. Amidst this, BJP has successfully retained the position here.Even in local government body, BJP has been exceling. It was only once, a third party came to power in Vadodara Municipal Corporation and that was Savdhan Party formed by former IPS officer Jaspal Singh. Later, Singh also joined BJP and then elected as MLA thrice from Sayajigunj seat in 1990, 1995 and 1998 polls.This time Rajesh Ayre, former BJP leader has been posing challenge on the same seat as his party has good hold over the poor community and Maharashtrian voters. However, this could worry both Congress and BJP as polarisation of votes does not have fix design giving benefit to any of the two parties.Besides, Sayajigunj, there are other four seats: Vadodara city, Akota, Raopura and Manjalpur. The Congress has been trying to raise the local issues and the ordeals citizens of Vadodara passed through and that was bad roads, water logging during monsoon, and lack of cleanliness.The vice-president of Congress, Maulin Vaishnav said, “Vadodara seems BJP’s fort but there are local issues that people of this city are reeling under. We have tried to raise these issues in Vadodara this time.”The MP of Vadodara and city BJP president, Ranjan Bhatt said, “There is no impact of agitation here and all Patel voters from North Gujarat, Saurasthra and Central Gujarat are with BJP. The local government body ruled by BJP has made many developmental work and people are happy. Booth level workers are easily approachable. That is why we are confident that all five seats will be of BJP again.”

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | How BJP made inroads into Central Gujarat voters

Central Gujarat, once a Congress’ fort, is slipping from its hands gradually. The lower voting in Saurashtra has worried the ruling party and it now plans to compensate a part of its loss from central region of the state.It is dominated by the Patel and Thakor (OBC) communities and both are going edge to edge having socio political importance in this region considering Kheda, Anand and some part of Vadodara districts, whereas tribal communities are big in number in Dahod, Panchmahals and Chhota Udepur districts.In 2007 Assembly polls, the region excluding Vadodara city’s three seats had 41 seats of which Congress got 22 seats and alliance party NCP got two seats, while BJP got 16 seats and one went to independent candidate.After new delimitation, 35 seats excluding Vadodara’s five urban seats were formed and first polls were held in 2012. BJP won 16 seats and an independent came in support to the party, while Congress and NCP alliance got 18 seats with Congress’s 17 seats. This indicates that BJP gained in this region.Looking at caste equations, 10 seats in central Gujarat are reserved for ST candidate and tribal voters have remained Congress supporters as seven candidates of party won here while BJP got three seats in 2012 polls. Senior Congress leaders like Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh have kept visiting the area in the past to keep the vote bank intact.The young leader of BJP and in-charge of this tribal belt in Dahod and Panchmahals district, Amit Thaker, said, “The situation in Dahod and Panchmahals is in favour of BJP this time. Local party workers have done a meticulous work here to swing the votes towards BJP. Former CM Modi has done a lot for this region.”The party is also claiming recovery in Kheda and Anand districts where Patel and OBC dominate. Hardik Patel led reservation agitation and Alpesh Thakor’s movement here had little impact but locals have high regard for local leaders of their community and would vote for them.Kheda MP Devusinh Chauhan said, “After 2007, BJP has emerged as popular party in these two districts. We started with local government bodies where BJP came to power. MLAs like Ramsinh Parmar and Mansinh Chahuan are senior leaders of Congress who defected to the BJP and now will help us get more seats in Central Gujarat.”Congress, however, has been trying to save its fort and pitch government’s failure. The party does not agree that defection of two senior leaders would affect its prospects.The vice-president of GPCC, Maulin Vaishnav, said, “No other factor matters as our president Bharatsinh Solanki belongs to this region. People from Central Gujarat love Congress and our leaders have good reputation here. We have been focusing over BJP government’s failure in last 22 years. I foresee a great performance by Congress in Central Gujarat this time.”The land of AmulThe White Revolution began in form of Amul Dairy, a cooperative milk producing society, from this region. It is also the native of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and former CM of Gujarat, Madhavsinh Solanki, who had floated KHAM theory to finish dominance of upper class communities including Patel by uniting Kshatriya, Harijan(SC), Adivasi(ST) and Muslim communities.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Lower phase 1 turnout leaves parties anxious

A lower turnout in the first phase of the Assembly elections in Gujarat has left both the ruling as well as the main opposition party perplexed. A lower than expected voting percentage is a sign that voters were not swayed by any wave, may it be pro or anti to any party, feel the parties. Nearly 67 percent of the eligible voters in the state cast their ballot on Saturday, down from 72 percent in 2012.Opposition Congress was expecting a huge turnout in the Patel-dominated Saurashtra region. The party had pinned its hopes on the unrest among the Patels over reservation and their perceived anger against the BJP.A senior Congress leader from Saurashtra called it a “suffocating” situation. “We are not in position to make out what the voting pattern indicates. This shows that no wave worked this time, be it pro BJP or anti BJP. We were expecting that the Patel community would vote against BJP. If they were determined to topple the BJP, they would have voted in large numbers.”While the BJP is relieved at the news from Saurashtra, it too is in a quandary. The party is unsure if a sizeable number of OBC voters, who have supported the BJP, came out to cast their ballot. This factor could swing the equations, feels the BJP.A senior BJP leader said their target of 150+ will be “next to impossible” if the second phase numbers throw up a similar pattern. “We can heave a sigh of relief considering that the Patel community did not vent our its angst through the EVMs. But when we consider OBC seats, it is not that high. So if we go with the theory that a higher turnout benefits the ruling party, that doesn’t augur well for us. The party will have to work hard for the second phase.”The second phase of the Gujarat elections will be held on December 14.With the parties in dilemma, jittery candidates have begun analysing turnout data for each and every booth to understand the situation better.A BJP candidate in Saurashtra said, “I and a senior BJP leader, who is a friend of mine, are calculating the votes in my constituency. We have prepared flow chart diagrams and would count the votes on every single booth. The voting pattern would give me results before December 18, as we know that which booth can be plus for me and which are the minus ones.”

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Gujarat Elections 2017: EC disposes Congress leader’s ‘Bluetooth EVM’ hacking complaint after investigation

The chief electoral officer in Gujarat BB Swain came on record to give the status on the complaint filed by Congress in Porbandar about the Bluetooth-operated EVMs. In a press conference, Swain said that it was the misunderstanding as a polling agent deputed at the polling station was carrying a mobile phone of Intex company with the model name ECO105, which created the confusion.Swain also said that the report to ECI has been sent on the status of the complaint that it has been disposed after proper investigation. The complaint had been lodged by Congress leader Arjun Modhwalia who had claimed EVMs in three polling booths were connected to an external device via Bluetooth. Swain, addressed a press conference at his office in Gandhinagar on Saturday and said, “Because, the Bluetooth mobile device was carrying the model name ECO105, which belonged to a polling agent of one party, it was reflected in the mobile instrument of a complainant. Because the initials of the model name resembled with EC, they filed a complaint but ultimately the matter is disposed after thorough checking by the experts.”Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Meet 126-year-old Ajiben Chandravadia, ‘oldest voter’ in the world “The election commission took this complaint very seriously and the district collector with returning officer reached the polling station and senior expert engineers of BEL reached for the investigation of the case. The complainant and local media persons also were kept present during the fact checking process and the mobile device having ECO105 model name was found ultimately. We have sent this concluding report to the Election Commission of India also,” added Swain.The complaint of EVMs being operated through Bluetooth technology was filed by the Congress candidate Arjun Modhwadia to the Election Commission. Senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia had complained of possible EVM tampering at three polling booths in a Muslim-dominated area of Porbandar claiming that some machines were found to be connecting to external devices via Bluetooth.Also readWATCH | Gujarat Elections 2017: Cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara casts his vote in Rajkot”We detected that the EVMs at three polling booths at Memanwada, a Muslim-dominated area, are connected to external devices through Bluetooth. When the Bluetooth of a mobile phone is turned on, a device named ‘ECO 105’ is shown as available,” Modhwadia, the Congress candidate from Porbandar, said. This clearly means that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) can be tampered with using the device via Bluetooth, he alleged.”The chips fitted in the EVMs appear to be programmable using Bluetooth, and this raises the possibility of tampering. The voting system should be immune to such connectivity to external devices,” he said.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | Congress asks for mobile jammers outside rooms guarding EVMs to prevent riggingThe CEO also mentioned that the progressive and constant voting has been observed throughout the Gujarat. By 2:00pm, the average voting was recorded at 45.61%. He said that the number of voting turnout was considerably good and expected to remain high during last hours of polling.With inputs from PTI

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Gujarat elections 2017: 45% polling booths in Gujarat sensitive

Of the 50,128 polling booths across the state, more than 45 per cent of the polling stations have been identified as ‘sensitive’ or ‘vulnerable’— a 15 per cent rise when compared to the 2012 polls. The assessment was the result of the detailed reports submitted by the district authorities ahead of the hotly-anticipated state elections.Against the 44,500 polling stations in the 2012 elections, 30 per cent were identified as sensitive, while this time, the number is up to 45 per cent, even as the Gujarat government is facing pressure due to the ongoing agitation, sources said. Polls in Gujarat will be held in two phases — on December 9 and 14 — while the results will be announced on December 18.Sources in government said, “All the district authorities have submitted the details on sensitive or vulnerable polling stations, and out of around 50,000 booths, 23,500 booths have been categorised under the sensitive and vulnerable category. The categorisation further divides into very sensitive, sensitive and less sensitive booths, with the majority of them falling under the very sensitive booths category. If we look at the areas, very sensitive and vulnerable booths fall in the districts where the agitations by different communities like Patel, Thakor and Dalit was at their peak in the last few years.”Another source said, “The steep rivalry between two parties — BJP and Congress — along with the heavyweight candidates from both the parties fighting for the same seats has been a factor for the increase in the number of sensitive and vulnerable booths. The Election Commission has strictly directed to not reveal the details on sensitive or vulnerable booths in Gujarat polls so as no one can unduly benefit from the prevailing situation,” added the sources.The EC has also taken an extra precautionary measures of having procured additional security forces to be deployed to maintain the law and order situation.Sources from the EC said, “Besides local police forces, the CRPF and other paramilitary forces, and security forces from neighbouring states will be deployed to maintain the law and order condition in Gujarat polls.””There will be multi-level monitoring of all the booths, in which the sensitive booths will be monitored by the election commission directly through webcasting. The video recording, micro observers and security forces will act as other covers on the polling station to avoid any kind of consequences that affect the peaceful polling procedure,” added the sources.Chief Electoral Officer, BB Swain, said, “We are getting information from different district authorities and that is why there is no detail available on number of sensitive booths. The Election Commission is committed towards fair and free polls in Gujarat.”
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Gujarat Elections 2017: Congress, BJP prefer social media campaign over hi-tech methods

Remember that 3D avatar of Narendra Modi that had become popular during last Assembly polls or Gujarati actress Tulika campaigning for Congress? Both the parties had run the hi-tech campaign through different mediums in the last polls but are staying away from the same this time.Gujarat BJP’s campaign committee chairman Kaushik Patel said, “We are not using the hi-tech campaign this time. The simple difference is that Narendra Modi was the CM then and would stay in Gujarat to spearhead the hi-tech campaign. This time, he is in Delhi and is frequently visiting Gujarat for rallies. We have been going through conventional ways of campaign and of course, social media is always there.”Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “We have limitation of funds and could not afford hi-tech campaign like BJP. We had mobilised youths for campaign through conventional manner six months back. Those who were funding us have decreased the donations due to impact of GST and demonetisation.”Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi too is frequently visiting Gujarat and meeting scores of people, which has substituted the hi-tech campaign.A senior BJP leader, who has been involved in the process of ideation of campaign in Gujarat BJP said on condition of anonymity, “The more the sugar, the sweeter the dish. If you have more money to spend, you can make your campaign more attractive.”He added, “The party does not have that much fund to spend on hi-tech campaign this time, may be because of the impact of demonetisation or GST. Social media is cheaper and equally impactful.”Kaushik Patel of BJP however added, “Me and four other candidates have adopted hi tech campaign. I am contesting from Naranpura constitutency and a 3D campaign would begin here soon. But it would be from my personal expanses.”Poll FlashbackBJP had prepared a 3D Rath for 2012 Assembly and 2014 LS polls. Modi would remain near Gandhinagar but voters would be able to see his 3D avatar with the help of ‘hologram effect’ and feel as if he is talking to them. Congress had pitched Gujarati actress Tulika who was seen in its campaign through projection technology.
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Gujarat Election 2017: In Rupani vs Rajguru battle, a son and daughter sweat it out

In Rajkot West, where biggies Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Congress’s billionaire candidate Indranil Rajguru are contesting each other, the campaign scene is not all dominated by party workers. The two have their own children doing the legwork for the dads.Rupani’s son Rushabh and Rajguru’s daughter Darshnil are far frequent visitors to their constituency than their fathers.Rushabh who is pursuing engineering from Nirma University in Ahmedabad has shifted base to Rajkot these days.Starting from social media campaigns, to door-to-door visits to meet voters, to mobilisation of young party workers and drawing other poll strategies, they are all overseen by Rushabh.Rushabh, who never took interest in politics earlier — Rupani never contested Assembly polls and contested only the Assembly bypolls in 2014, and that was a sure victory for him.A BJP leader from Rajkot said, “Rushabh is managing every small detail related to polls as Vijaybhai is away. We and our organisation are working on our own strategy, but Rushabh has a different perspective. He and his cousin, Amey, have been taking care of the social media campaign and other canvassing. He also makes slogans that are appealing to the public.” When asked about his campaign work, Rushabh shies away.Like Rushabh, Darshneel, too, was never involved in any poll before this.Talking to DNA, she said, “I am doing this with special interest. I am managing different events of poll campaign, social media campaign and road shows. I am pursuing my graduation course from Indira Gandhi National Open University, but have made time to help my father with his campaign.”Indranil has several Congress youth workers in his team. Darshneel is a motivation for them.Harshit Jani, a party member, says, “Darshneel is managing everything here. From top to bottom and left to right, she is present everywhere. We are also charged by seeing her enthusiasm, and we have her guidance.”
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Unrest over tickets grows in BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thousands of BJP workers gathered at the party headquarters Shri Kamalam here during the weekend, raising slogans against party leaders and high command.For a party known for its internal discipline, this is probably the first time in the history of its 22 years in Gujarat that the BJP was facing this level of open rebellion within party ranks. Similar show of protest are played out across the state, be it Saurashtra-Kutch, north, central or south Gujarat, ever since the party announced candidates for 106 constituencies last week. Members have expressed dissatisfaction over 40 names.A senior leader of the party said, “Such open show of rebellion was not in the BJP’s culture. It was more of a Congress party characteristic. This is a serious concern for the party high command. The BJP is also going against the flow as many communities are on the warpath and the anti-incumbency factor is at the peak.”CM Vijay Rupani believes this is just temporary and the protests will ease. “BJP is a mass party and there are more than one aspirant for every seat.It is natural that there will be some dissatisfaction. I am confident that our workers and leaders will work hard for the party’s victory,” Rupani told reporters in Gandhinagar.Sitting MPs and former ministers Prabhatsinh Chauhan from Panchmahals and Leeladhar Vaghela from Patan are at loggerheads with the party high command.Chauhan wanted a BJP ticket for his wife and when he didn’t get one, he decided that his wife Ratneshwari would contest as an independent candidate from the Kalol seat.Vaghela has been lobbying for his son for the Deesa seat. Though the party has not announced a candidate for the seat yet, Vaghela has threatened to quit if his son is denied a ticket.Former ministers IK Jadeja and his supporters reached Kamalam with the demand for tickets. The other MLAs who have been dropped are Nimisha Sutar, Sanjay Patel, Ramesh Maheshwari, Balkrushna Patel and Lalji Mer. Some of them held the show of strength along with supporters, alleging that senior leaders sold tickets for crores of rupees.Senior Tirbal leader from South Gujarat, Kunvarji Halpati resigned as chairman of Halpati Awas Nigam, a government-owned corporation and demanded ticket. He also challenged that if he was not given a ticket, he would file nomination as an independent from two seats. His supporters burnt effigies of BJP and party leaders in Gandevi town on Sunday.Local cadres are opposing the selection of Keshaji Chauhan, Bharatsinh Dabhi, Babubhai Patel, Dhanjibhai Patel, Bharat Boghra, Manisha Vakil, Shabdasharan Tadvi, Ishwarsinh Patel, Raman Patkar, Gajendrasinh Parmar, Jagdish Panchal and Balram Thawani.

Gujarat Elections: PAAS leaders in Delhi, to meet Congress leaders to decide strategies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leaders will on Friday meet the Congress leaders to decide strategies after Hardik Patel’s alleged sex-videos went viral.The PAAS conveners Dinesh Bambhania, Lalit Vasoya, Manoj Panara and Dr Kirit Patel reached for the meeting in New Delhi, but the conveners have been avoiding to divulge the agenda of the meeting. The PAAS convener Dinesh Bambhania said that the meeting is aimed at discussing the formula for reservation to Patidar community, presented by Congress before Hardik Patel in a meeting held in Ahmedabad last week.The PAAS leaders have also demanded tickets from Congress as the party is about to release the list of the candidates”The PAAS conveners including Bambhaniya are going to meet Rahul Gandhi and they will decide on future course of action after the video footages involving Hardik Patel surfaced. They have reached to get Congress’ guidance when Hardik Patel is preparing to make a blasting revelation at the Mansa rally slated on Saturday,” said a senior PAAS leader on the condition of anonymity.He added that another agenda of discussion will be on tickets and the PAAS has already demanded 10 to 15 tickets from Congress on different seats.Vasoya has been preparing for the Upleta-Dhoraji seat in Rajkot district, while Panara is all set to make a political debut from Morbi constituency, the leader added.

Sadhu community seeks 15 BJP tickets, warns against denial

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat’s Sadhu community has thrown its hat into the circle of politics and demanded 15 tickets from the BJP for the Assembly polls.A secret meeting of Sadhus from Gujarat was held with BJP president Amit Shah and CM Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar on Tuesday. The community not only demanded tickets but also put forward other demands before BJP stalwarts over elections.A sadhu from a well-known akhada and a politically active leader said on condition of anonymity, “Sadhu community met the BJP leaders and demanded tickets for them or the names suggested by them. They warned the party that they would go against it if their demands are not met. They have demanded 15 tickets from the BJP.”A Sadhu from Bharati Ashram in Junagadh and Ahmedabad, Avantika Bharti Bapu also attended the meeting. After the meeting, he said, “People are not happy with any political party, whether BJP or Congress. I have informed the BJP leaders that if proper action is not taken to ease the problems caused by GST and demonetisation, I will hold dharna against BJP. We will go against BJP and that could cause great damage to the party. We have also demanded that temples and religious institutes constructed illegally should be regularised soon by the BJP government.” Narendra Bapu, head preist from the Aapa Geega Dham demanded the ticket from Chotila constituency. He said, “I have been an active member of the BJP and that is why I am campaigning for the party.”However, the Sadhu from Swaminarayan sect in Gadhada, SP Swami, was not happy after the meeting. He said, “Sadhus from Gujarat always supported BJP and the party came to power. They did not take any decision taking Sadhu community into confidence. There are handful of religious institutions which act like commercial firm, and BJP always gave preference to them only. If Sadhus could help BJP win, they can keep it away from power too.”SADHUS STEP INSecret meeting of Sadhus from Gujarat was held with BJP president Amit Shah and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.
The members of the community sought 15 tickets from BJP.
Narendra Bapu, head preist from the Aapa Geega Dham demanded the ticket from Chotila constituency.

"I am not impotent" : Says Hardik Patel reacting upon sex video

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel confessed to his activities in the alleged tape which shows him in a compromising position with an unknown lady. In a press conference that he addressed in Gandhinagar on Monday, Hardik said that he was not impotent. He also alleged that BJP had exposed his personal life and this was not correct.”I am not impotent,” Hardik said this thrice when asked if he was a virgin. “This was done by a person who joined the BJP in Delhi 15 days back. He uploaded the video on social media. They have exposed the personal life of someone and that is not fair. BJP can expose the personal life of other common people too and this is such a lowly act that shows that BJP is playing damage diplomacy in politics,” Hardik added.Hardik, however, said that he had tonsured his head that time and what the video footage shows was morphed. He also alleged that BJP national president Amit Shah was responsible. “There is the brainchild of Amit Shah and he is the great player. Why was there no revelation on the Naliya sex scandal, in which several BJP leaders were involved? Let the time come, we will reveal the video footage involving top BJP leaders in the act.”Hardik also said that there was no impact of this case in the mindset of common people. He said, “I had gone to Kadi(town in north Gujarat) to appear before the court and thousands welcomed me. This shows that people did not draw in the effect of such allegations. Our fight against BJP will continue and our moral is intact. We will go with rigorous programmes even after this incident.”SPG creates distanceSardar Patel Group(SPG), another Patel outfit has distanced itself from Hardik after the incident. The group had demanded that PAAS and Hardik should keep SPG with them in talks with Congress on the reservation issue, but after the incident, SPG president Lalji Patel said, “This is the issue related to the personal life of someone and we do not want to fall into that. People like Hardik should not indulge in such acts. We hope that Hardik comes clean in this case.”BJP counters CongressSenior BJP leader and Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya thwarted the Congress for taking Hardik’s side. Reacting on Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil’s statement, Mandaviya said, “This is sheer misfortune that Congress is saying Hardik has the DNA of Sardar Patel. This is insult to Sardar Patel whose character is an example for all. In this case, Congress should clarify that whether they are shielding a person who is involved in such abominable act or the incident. This shows that Congress is ideologically and ethically bankrupt party.”

Yogi Adityanath’s ‘guru-bhai’ seeks BJP ticket

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s Gurubhai and a head priest of Ekal Dham temple in Kutch, Devnath Bapu has sought a BJP ticket from Rapar constituency in Kutch district.A meeting of several ‘Sadhus’ of the Nath sect held at Kailash Tekri in Kutch on Saturday resolved to press this demand before the BJP high command.The 40-year-old had accepted ‘Sanyas’ at the age of 12 and became a member of the Nath Akhada. He and Yogi Adityanath frequently meet each other on platform of their Akhada and have good relations. When Adityanath had visited Kutch last for campaign in Gujarat polls, he had visited Ekal Dham temple and met Devnath.Speaking with DNA over phone, Devnath Bapu, said, “I have been associated with the BJP for 20 years. I run the temple and do social work for poor besides health and education. I have demanded the ticket as there is resentment among locals against the sitting MLA (Pankaj Mehta). This is the right time to give ticket to a person on whom people have faith. Being a Sanyasi, I do not have family for whom I would gather money. I am in active politics to serve the society.”He added, “I don’t want anybody to pressurise the BJP leader for my ticket. I would not even appeal Adityanath Bapu to canvas for me before the BJP high command. If party wishes to give me a ticket, I will accept. I had demanded the tickets for Assembly polls in 2007 and 2012. Like Adityanath, all Sanyasis are dedicated towards their Tap (asceticism), Tyag (sacrifice) and Seva (service).”Devnath said he would not cross the party line ever and added that he and Shankar Chaudhary are on good terms with each other.

BJP plans to shelve no-repeat theory

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat BJP has opted to put aside the no repeat theory and plans to keep most of its candidates same. The party’s parliamentary board meeting reiterated the same on Friday at CM Vijay Rupani’s residence in Gandhinagar in presence of national president Amit Shah. The party is of the opinion that most of MLAs don’t face anti-incumbency factor in their constituency and have a clean image, so they could be repeated once again.A very senior leader present in the meeting said on condition of anonymity, “We have received a positive opinion from party workers for most of the MLAs. Various leaders including Amit Shah have visited different parts of the state and gathered the opinion of grassroot level workers. The overall sense says there is hardly any anti-incumbancy factor against sitting MLAs. Of course, there are several exceptions and those can be managed.”The party prepared a list of candidates in the form of panel of three contenders for each of the seats in state and that would be presented before the high command. “The names in the each of the panel is in the preferential order and those will be sent to the central parliamentary board. Amit Bhai will hand over this list to the Central board of the party to take the final call on the list,” added the leader.The state parliamentary board will sit again on Saturday and will prepare the second list of names for the final phase of the polls. Amit Shah will also be present in the meeting. On Sunday, Amit Shah will travel in Mehsana, Banaskantha and Patan district and would meet the workers and leaders of party in these districts.‘No anti-incumbency’The party is of the opinion that most of MLAs don’t face anti-incumbency factor in their constituency and have a clean image, so they could be repeated. The party prepared a list of candidates in the form of panel of three contenders for each of the seats in state and that would be presented before the high command.

BJP says no to nepotism, no ticket for Anandiben Patel’s daughter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though there were speculations that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could give a ticket to former chief minister Anandiben Patel’s daughter Anar Patel for the Assembly polls, a senior leader has revealed that the party is not considering Anar. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the leader said BJP would not give tickets to anyone on the basis of their relation with senior leaders.Reports were widely shared on social media that the BJP would field Anar from Akota or Manjalpur constituency of Vadodara city or would replace her mother Anandiben in the Ghatlodia constituency of Ahmedabad city.Putting a full stop to all the speculations, the senior leader said, “Anar Patel’s name was never discussed during the meetings of the party’s top brass. There is no chance that she would get a ticket just because she is Anandiben’s daughter. The party will not give tickets to any person just because he/she is the child of a senior leader. The BJP has always been against nepotism.””Another reason why the party will not field Anar is that her name was dragged into a controversy related to land allotment. We do not want to take any risk by giving her a ticket. Not just Anar, none of Anandiben’s children are under consideration for polls. However, if she wishes to contest, Anandiben will get a ticket because she has made great contributions to the party,” the leader said.When asked about Anar’s poll prospects, Anandiben rubbished them as media speculation. “This is media’s work. People never asked me whether Anar will be contesting. I will respond when they ask me,” she said.Recently, there were messages circulated about Anar’s visits to Vadodara.‘JUST RUMOURS’There were messages circulated about Anar’s visits to Vadodara.
However, Vadodara Mayor and BJP leader Bharat Dangar termed them as mere rumours.

BJP to write to 50L beneficiaries of govt schemes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat BJP has decided to write letters to around 50 lakh beneficiaries of state and central government schemes. The party will hold this exercise keeping upcoming assembly polls in mind and will propagate the party’s agenda among the voters in an indirect way.A senior leader of the party said, “We have received the list of the beneficiaries in Gujarat from state and central governments. There are around 50 lakh families which have got direct benefits of different schemes and we are writing letters to them. We do not make them realise that our government extended support to them and they are deprived of basic facilities. In fact, we write them that their trust on BJP government gave a moral boost to our party. Their role and contribution for the strengthening the party and government’s confidence to serve the people.””This is obviously an exercise to catch the attention of voters and indirect way to appeal them to vote for BJP. The party will also propagate other achievements through the letter and no one is undersignee so that expense for that does not go into account of particular candidate. The party workers are going to approach voters in door-to-door campaign but this will another way to propagate the schemes and actions of our governments in state and center,” added the leader.There are 11.54 lakh beneficiaries of Ujjvala Yojana, 26.33 lakh Mudhra Yojana beneficiareis, 2.5 lakh tribal land right allottees, 7 lakh Jan Dhan Yojana beneficiaries, 2.80 lakh PM Avas Yojana and CM Affordable Housing Scheme beneficiaries, and many others.The BJP will start posting these letters in second half of the November month. The letter would also appeal that for the betterment of society and sake of development, people in Gujarat should vote for BJP.The party would also highlight several agendas of its poll manifesto in the letter, the leader further added. The BJP is likely to announce its poll manifesto during the last week of November.

BJP leader’s staffers made to undergo Agni Pariksha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a shocking incident in ‘modern Gujarat’, a video of six petrol pump employees made to undergo ‘Agni Pariksha’ by dipping their hands in boiling oil to prove their honesty following theft of Rs6 lakh has gone viral on social media.The six sustained severe burns on their hands.The incident which came to fore from Jambuthal village near Sanand town in Ahmedabad district is hardly 10 km from the Tata Nano plant, where the ruling party BJP claims of massive development. Sources said the money was stolen from a petrol pump on Saturday night owned by former MLA from Congress and now a BJP leader Karamshi Patel, of Koli community, near Viramgam.The video shows six semi-clad people taking oath in front of goddess of a temple in the village saying they did not steal money and dipping their hands into hot oil.Sources said Patel initially doubted on three of the employees who were working in night shift. Patel’s son registered an FIR against the trio on Sunday at a local police station. Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, some men, allegedly related to Patel, forced all the six employees to undergo ‘Agni Pariksha’ at Jambuthal village. When contacted, Karamshi Patel, said, “We did not force anyone to undergo Agni Pariksha. These six people had gone voluntarily as there is a tradition in our Koli community to perform the procedure to come out clean from any allegation.”The politician said, “Out of Rs12 lakh kept in the safe, only Rs 6 lakh were stolen. They had also switched off the CCTV during this incident. When it was switched on, three employees can be seen sleeping peacefully. We suspected their involvement and lodged an FIR against them. We don’t know who called them for ‘Paarkha’.” He however did not pay courtesy to meet the employees after the incident and blamed that Congress was doing this to defame him ahead of polls. Patel was elected as Congress MLA in 2012 polls but voted for BJP candidate Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha polls held in August, 2017. He has demanded a ticket from Sanand before the BJP leaders.

DNA Exclusive: Hindutva not appeasement, it is development, says Guj CM Vijay Rupani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani believes that the fact that he has come up the hard way is the reason he hasn’t faced any personal or political allegations during his term at the helm of the state.”I was as an ordinary worker of the BJP throughout my career,” Rupani told DNA in an exclusive interview, “Like lakhs others, I worked for my party without any expectations, and had never dreamed of getting any political position. The CM’s responsibility fell on me suddenly, but I have worked in the way that I have lived my life — in a clean manner. This is why I haven’t faced any charges or allegations.”Rupani said that he was given the formula of a transparent, decisive, sensitive and progressive government when he took over, and he has tried to adhere to it. He pointed out that he stayed put in Banaskantha for five days straight to oversee flood relief, showing the government’s sensitivity to people’s problems.He was non-committal when asked if he would be the CM after elections, saying, “I will fulfill the responsibility my party assigns to me. At present, my only expectation is that the party wins 150+ seats.”Even as the BJP faces challenges in the upcoming Assembly elections owing to unrest among various communities — depicted by the agitations being led by Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani — Rupani claimed that none of the communities were against BJP.”The three leaders you are talking about are Congress props,” he said. “Their agendas and issues were aimed at elections. Once the polls are over, and Congress bites the dust again, these agitations and their leaders will disappear on their own.” He added that the trio was not working for any community, but for personal gain and political interests.It is widely believed that Rupani’s predecessor, Anandiben Patel, resigned due to ineffective handling of the Patidar reservation agitation. However, Rupani did not have to face many issues on this front, barring during the past few months.”Sentiments of all communities are with the BJP,” he said. “People of Gujarat have always chosen development over other issues. I say again that these agitations are back-end support for the Congress, which is trying to deceive people.”Asked if BJP was caught on the back-foot by Congress’ assurance to fulfill the Patidar demand for reservation, Rupani said, “Whatever assurances Congress is giving, our government has already provided them to the non-reserved communities. The talks with Congress and the promises are a face-saving exercise for Hardik Patel, who is set to join the party. When we offered 10% reservation, Hardik described it as a lollipop, but today he is licking the same lollipop offered by Congress.”Incidentally, while Rahul Gandhi has been visiting a number of temples during his visits to the state, dubbed soft Hindutva by many, BJP seems to be silent on its favourite Hindutva agenda.Asked to comment on this, Rupani said, “Visiting temples is not Hindutva. If Rahul Gandhi ever believed in Hindutva, he should have punished Congress workers in Kerala who held a beef party. He should not have shared space with people who shouted slogans against Bharat Mata. For BJP, the definition of Hindutva is not appeasement of any particular community, but development of all. Congress has played the Muslim appeasement card, but it stands exposed now.”Reiterating that his party’s sole agenda in the elections is development, Rupani said that BJP had won a thumping majority in Uttar Pradesh, and the same would happen in Gujarat. “Narendra-bhai’s mantra of development has been accepted by the country,” he stressed.While the selection of both BJP and Congress candidates is underway, Rupani recently announced publicly that he would contest from Rajkot West, the same seat he represents in the Assembly.He says the announcement was in reaction to the Congress’s false campaign that he is facing anti-incumbency. “I firmly state that I will contest from the same seat, and there is nothing like anti-incumbency against me. I have the support of voters in my seat,” he said.

Modi becoming PM removed all obstacles from path of growth: Nitin Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With just a month to go before the polling day, the campaign for Gujarat Assembly elections has reached its zenith. While the Opposition Congress seems prepared, confident, and passionate about winning the polls, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not on the backfoot on any front. The party, which has a large number of seasoned politicians such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national president Amit Shah, is trying to woo voters in the name of development.In an interview with DNA, Deputy Chief Minister NITIN PATEL gives an account of the five-year BJP rule in Gujarat, which saw three different CMs in such a short time. Edited excerpts:Which is the BJP government’s biggest achievement in the last five years?The Narmada dam project is the biggest achievement of this government. In fact, we all know that it took a long time to accomplish and why that happened. The Central government led by Congress never supported this ambitious and lifeline project for Gujarat. If the project was completed a few years ago, the state would be have been at a position that no one can even imagine. However, we are satisfied that with its dedication and pure devotion for Gujarat’s development, the BJP government has finally achieved this goal.Do you think the last five years were different from the rest 17 years of BJP rule in the state?Of course. After Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, we can say that all impediments or obstacles were removed from the path of development in Gujarat. He immediately gave approval for fitting gates over the Sardar Sarovar Dam. The Congress government deliberately did not let it happen. Now, the Central government has been giving us full support, whenever needed. The bullet train project, investments in state, and good allocation of budget are some of the examples. During the recent floods, the Modi-led NDA government was kind enough to immediately announce a package of Rs 500 crore for rehabilitation of people in affected Banaskantha and Patan districts. These just a handful of examples, and there are so many more.Why would people vote for the BJP in 2017 polls as well?I can clearly and confidently say that BJP has a very clean image and our impression is that of a pro-development party. There is not a single blot on our government, which ruled the state for 22 years. In fact, voters in Gujarat have been electing us because we have remained non-corrupt throughout. Moreover, the BJP ensured great development in Gujarat, bringing the living standard of people in the state on a higher level. Today, you can see that rural areas in Gujarat also have urban facilities. BJP thought for every section of society and worked for them, be it farmers, women, young people, tribals, Dalits, economically backward class, or industries. The Gujarat government has given benefits to all, as and when needed.Do you think this is a do or die battle for BJP?The 2012 polls were the foundation pillar for PM Modi’s elevation. When his development theory won in Gujarat in 2012, the entire nation noticed it and they wanted to have a leader like him. That prevails today as well. Not only Gujarat but other states voted for BJP as well and the party came to power in states where it was difficult to imagine, such as Jammu and Kashmir. The upcoming polls are going to make the foundation for BJP rule in nation even stronger. We are not only hopeful but are sure that the BJP will win with more than 150 seats this time.

Gujarat on the fast track of progress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The last five years in Gujarat politics have been a roller coaster ride. The term started with people showing strong faith in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), especially due to the influence of a stalwart leader such as Narendra Modi. But the paradigm started shifting in 2015. The Patel community’s agitation for reservation and other movements by Dalits and OBCs created many challenges for BJP. Despite all odds, the party is working hard to return a winner, ahead of the Assembly polls, to be held from December 9 onwards.3 CMs in 5 yearsWhen Narendra Modi took over as the chief minister on December 26, 2012, the entire nation started looking at him as not just the head of a particular state but as a national leader. Seven Cabinet and nine state-level ministers took oath with him at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Patel Stadium and people from 83 countries witnessed the ceremony. He was poised to be BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the Lok Sabha polls to be held one-and-a-half years later.In just 15 days, he was at the centre of global political and business circles through the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, held from January 11-13, 2013. With this chapter, the global society started believing him to be the future leader of India. Then the Lok Sabha polls were held under his leadership in 2014, and with a landslide victory, Modi became the prime minister of India.Voters had given a clear majority to BJP in the polls held in 2012, and the situation remained the same in the Lok Sabha polls held in 2014, with all 26 seats from the state going to the BJP.After that, however, the graph of popularity slowly started dipping. Modi left Gujarat and settled in PMO, and a senior member in his Cabinet, Anandiben Patel, took over as the first woman CM of Gujarat.Patel also enjoyed a good amount of popularity after she presented her first budget, in which she tried to cater to every section of the society, especially women. Suddenly in mid 2015, BJP loyalist Patel community started a movement for reservation. The community had started supporting BJP politically in early 1990s, after the then ruling Congress party and its leaders started ignoring them.Nearly 20 years later, however, the community had raised its head against the BJP. A young Hardik Patel, who was spearheading this agitation, put forth many challenges in front of the government in the state.Consequently, in December, 2015, the party suffered a terrible loss in the local government bodies polls in rural Gujarat. The impact of the agitation was such that CM Patel had to resign from the post. Vijay Rupani then took over as the head of the state on August 8, 2015, and senior Cabinet member Nitin Patel was made deputy CM.14 months of Modi ruleIn the initial one-and-a-half years of this five-year term, while Modi was almost set to be the prime ministerial candidate for BJP, he started announcing many schemes and plans for the people of Gujarat. In the very beginning itself, his government published a government job calender for 10 years, promising employment to 10 lakh youths in the state. The mega recruitment drives started and gave the Modi government immense popularity among the masses. By that time, industrial investments had also started pouring in the state, further increasing the employment opportunities. Young voters in Gujarat seemed very pleased with the Modi government.Then in 2013, a populist budget presented by the Modi government gave yet another push to his popularity. Announcement of schemes such as Mukhya Mantri Amrutam Yojana, which offered free treatment to poor people in government and private hospital, and aid to agriculture-based industries and service sector, farmers, and neo-middle class made the foundation strong for BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha polls.The Modi government further won over people’s hearts by rolling back several unpopular decisions. A Special Investment Region (SIR) at Mandal-Becharaji incorporating nearly 50 villages, which was earmarked earlier, faced criticism and opposition by local farmers. The Modi government held several meetings with farmers and decided to denotify the villages, giving major relief to farmers in the region.The government also started to construct houses for homeless families in urban areas, a pre-poll promise.Patel’s ‘Gatisheel’ GujaratOne of the senior-most member of the Modi Cabinet, Anandiben Patel was chosen as his successor in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. She gave the slogan ‘Gatisheel Gujarat’ to her government and attempted to make the administration accountable for speedy delivery of public services. She also set achievement targets for various government departments. In fact, many termed her the CM who was the best administrator in Gujarat.Her government presented the ‘gender’ budget in July, 2014, which remained focused on the issues faced by women. Nearly Rs 1,800 crore was earmarked for the welfare of women and children under 500 different schemes. In May, 2015, Patel’s government faced the first challenge in the form of reservation quota demand, put forward by the Patel community. The agitation soon spread across the state. The BJP government was put on the backfoot. The Patel government then offered the Mukhya Mantri Yuva Swavlamban Yojana (MYSY), with an annual budget of Rs 1,100 crore, as substitute for reservation, which the Patel community, however, rejected.Meanwhile, the Patel government undertook several initiatives, such as announcing Rs 800 crore package for farmers, clearing Metro rail project in Ahmedabad, allocating and constructing affordable houses, and government officials approaching the people at their doorstep. The feather in the cap was the Rs 25 lakh crore MOUs signed at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in 2015.Miraculous pair of Rupani and PatelThe party then chose Vijay Rupani as the CM and Nitin Patel as the Deputy CM of Gujarat. Rupani gave the slogan of ‘Transparent, Decisive, Sensitive, and Developing’ government. He started the Seva Setu programme, under which the government officials would visit villages, cities, and towns, hold dialogue with citizens to know their issues, and give on-the-spot solutions.Then, Narmada waters reached different parts of Saurashtra and Kutch regions through the SAUNI scheme during Rupani’s rule, and the issue of water scarcity was solved permanently. Rupani further decided to initiate a probe against two senior IAS officials accused in the industrial land scam case and initiated a departmental inquiry against one of them.In 2017, north Gujarat was badly hit by floods and two districts — Banaskantha and Patan — were devastated. CM Rupani then decided to run his office from the flood-affected region so that the relief work could be expedited.KEY CHALLENGES THAT LIE BEFORE THE STATE GOVERNMENTUnrest: The most important challenge before the government is unrest in various communities. The Patidars are taking to the streets demanding reservation, while OBCs feel the community should not get benefits of reservation at their cost. There is also anger in the Dalit community over atrocities on its members.
Farmers: Many are struggling to get the right prices for their produce, and are also looking for achhe din in the form of higher Minimum Support Prices. Several places still await Narmada waters while state government has supplied irrigation water to some
Job creation: The Congress has made the issue of unemployment a huge issue, claiming that the number of unemployed youths in Gujarat runs into several lakhs. For BJP, which sees youths as one if its key support base, it is crucial to address the issue of job creation at the soonest to prevent any base erosion.
Land acquisition: The state has seen several protests over the issue in recent years, forcing the government to go slow. However, with industrial investment likely to continue, the state will have to find a balance between farmers’ interests and investments. TOP TRIUMPHSFee Regulation ActIntroduced earlier this year, the law aims to regulate school fees. It was brought in to counter criticism that education costs in the state have gone through the roof recently. Several schools were forced to lower their fees, and several others, however, resisted. The law brought much-needed relief to parents, but its overall impact remains debatable.Narmada Dam projectWork on Sardar Sarovar Dam was completed two months ago, over 50 years after it started. Its height was raised to the maximum possible 138m, raising water storage capacity nearly four times. This would help resolve water woes of north Gujarat and Saurashtra. The dam is likely to be a major issue ahead of coming elections.Ahmedabad Metro projectThough conceived more than a decade ago, the Ahmedabad Metro project was finally kicked off in 2014. In a year or two, the city will boast of a Metro rail. The over 32-km project will comprise of east-west and north-south corridors in the first phase, and likely extended to the airport and the state capital, Gandhinagar, in subsequent phases.Tougher prohibition lawEarlier this year, the Gujarat government framed a law with the aim to strengthen the existing prohibition laws in the state. The law provides for up to 10-year imprisonment for selling, possessing, or transporting liquor illegally. Moreover, it also fixed accountability, as officials found helping bootleggers could be jailed for up to seven years. The law was amended in wake of tremendous public pressure.Toll tax exemptionToll tax exemption for passenger cars on 12 state highways was among the last decisions announced by Anandiben Patel, before her resignation as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, in August 2016. The move put a burden of Rs 150 crore on the state exchequer, but was widely lauded by nearly 1 lakh private car owners.SAUNI YojanaThe Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana (SAUNI Yojana) was launched to divert excess flood water of Narmada to Saurashtra. The water will be distributed to 115 reservoirs in 11 districts of Saurashtra though four 1,125km link pipelines. The project cost is estimated to be more than Rs 12,000 crore.Vibrant Gujarat summitsThe scale of the biennial Vibrant Gujarat Summit has touched a new high in the last few years, especially after Modi became Prime Minister. Started in 2003, when Modi was chief minister, it has emerged as the premier business event in the country. In the 2015 Summit, MoUs proposing an investment of Rs 25 lakh crore were signed.Ro Ro FerryConceived decades ago, a Ro Ro Ferry service between Saurashtra and south Gujarat became a reality just last month, when it was inaugurated by PM Modi. The Dahej-Ghogha ferry service will bring down the travelling time between the two regions from almost eight hours to under two hours. It will also reduce the congestion on roads, since a large number of people would opt for it.Stringent cow protection lawIf beef consumption has become and issue in other states, how could Hindutva’s original laboratory be left behind? Earlier in 2017, the Gujarat government increased maximum sentence for cow slaughter from seven years to life term. The law also allows permanent seizure of vehicles used in cow slaughter or to transport beef. It is among the most stringent laws for cow protection in the country.

Gujarat BJP to write letters to 50 lakh beneficiaries of government schemes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat BJP has decided to write letters to about 50 lakh beneficiaries of state and central government schemes, keeping the Assembly polls in mind. The party will propagate its agenda in this way.A senior leader said, “We have received a list of the beneficiaries in Gujarat from state and central governments. There are around 50 lakh families which have got direct benefits of different schemes and we are writing letters to them. We do not make them realise that our government extended their support to them and they are deprived of basic facilities. In fact, we will write to them that their trust on the BJP government has been a moral boost.””This is obviously an exercise to catch the attention of voters and indirectly appeal to them to vote for BJP. The party will also propagate other achievements through the letter and no one is to sign it. The party workers are going to approach voters in a door-to-door campaign,” added the leader.There are 11.54 lakh beneficiaries of Ujjvala Yojana, 26.33 lakh Mudhra Yojana beneficiareis, 2.5 lakh tribal land right allottees, 7 lakh Jan Dhan Yojana beneficiaries, 2.80 lakh PM Avas Yojana and CM Affordable Housing Scheme beneficiaries, and many others. The BJP will start posting these letters in the second half of November. The letter will also appeal for the betterment of society and for the sake of development, people in Gujarat should vote for the BJP.The party will also highlight several agendas of its poll manifesto in the letter, the leader further added. The BJP is likely to announce its poll manifesto in the last week of November.

State minister has a change of mind, says will contest polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jayanti Kavadiya, the minister of state for rural development and panchayat in Gujarat government, has changed his mind. Days after he informed the Bharatiya Janata Party that he did not wish to contest the polls, Kavadiya said he is now ready for the fray, but from a different constituency, according to sources.Kavadiya is an MLA from Dhrangadhra-Halwad constituency, the region where the Patel agitation has had a great impact. The Patel community had also held protests against Kavadiya, indicating that he was up against a rising force.In July, a clash between the nomadic Bharvad and Rajput communities vitiated the atmosphere in the region. With too many challenges, sources said, it would be tough for the BJP candidate to win and Kavadiya reportedly had informed the party that he did not wish to contest the polls. The 52-year-old politician had said that he should make way for a young face, they said.Party sources said that Kavadiya has now wished to contest the polls from different seat and not from Dhrangadhra.”Kavadiya has now expressed his wish to contest polls before a very senior leader of party a few days back. He wishes to contest polls from another seat. He may be eyeing at Wadhwan seat that is safer because of urban population and lesser dominance of Patel community. Wadhwan is also a BJP fort so Kavadiya may win here,” said a source.Kavadiya, however, said tha he was firm on his stand and is not keen to contest the election. “I strongly believe that new faces should be inducted by party and they should be given chance to contest polls. I have not showed my desire to contest polls before anyone.”

BJP’s Koli leader Parsottam Solanki plans shift to Talaja

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat BJP’s face for the Koli community and Minister of State for Fisheries in the Gujarat government Parsottam Solanki is planning to change his seat from Bhavnagar rural to Talaja for the upcoming polls. The reason behind this is the fear of ire among the Patel and Karadia communities that prevailed among the voters in the area. As compared to Bhavnagar Rural that has equal share of voters from the Rajput community, Talaja is a safer seat as the Koli (fisherman) community has greater dominance here.A source from the party said, “Solanki, due to bad health, remained totally inactive as a representative of Bhavnagar Rural. Moreover, he did not make any impression as a minister as he avoided the Secretariat on health grounds. Now, people here want a candidate who is active and can work. It is possible that the party may field a new face from the Rajput community keeping the caste combination in mind.”Solanki has been helpful to the BJP in attracting Koli votes across Saurashtra region. The community has dominance over 20 seats in the region and the entire community and BJP has been winning them by huge margins. He was among the 40 star campaigners of the BJP in the last Gujarat Assembly polls held in 2012.Solanki’s opponent and senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil also does not wish to contest polls from the seat. In fact, Gohil, who lost to Solanki in 2012 polls, won from Abdasa seat of Kutch in the bypolls of 2014. Gohil now wishes to challenge Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani in Bhavnagar West in the upcoming polls.Sources from the Congress said, “Shaktisinh is not willing to contest from the same seat he contested in 2012. He wishes to contest polls from Bhavnagar (west) rather, because the seat has a combination of Patel and Karadia community and that is totally against Jitu Vaghani. If not, Gohil will contest polls from the Mandvi seat in Kutch.”KAVADIYA SAYS WILL CONTEST POLLSDays after he informed the BJP that he did not wish to contest the polls, Jayanti Kavadiya, minister of state for rural development and panchayat, said he is now ready for the fray, but from a different constituency.
Kavadiya is an MLA from Dhrangadhra-Halwad constituency, the region where the Patel agitation has had a great impact. The Patel community had also held protests against Kavadiya, indicating that he was up against a rising force.
Kavadiya has now wished to contest the polls from different seat and not from Dhrangadhra. “He may be eyeing at Wadhwan seat that is safer because of urban population and lesser dominance of Patel,” said a source.

Narendra Modi’s Akshardham visit can work as pacifier for Patel fury

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of Assembly polls and with the reservation agitation, the Patel fury is at its peak in Gujarat, and Hardik Patel’s anti-BJP inclination has been working against the ruling party. Amidst this, PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar on Thursday could work as a pacifier.To that end, the PM is going to participate in the silver jubilee celebration of the temple in Gandhinagar, which was, 25 years ago, inaugurated by Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sansthan(BAPS)’s former head priest Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Modi had been always close to the Maharaj and had also attended his cremation ceremony held in Sarangpur in 2016. When Modi had given a speech at the time, he had said, “I feel that I have lost my father.” Interestingly, out of the around 25 lakh followers of the sect, more than 80 per cent are from the Patel community and would thus help as soothing balm with the Patel community.The priest of BAPS, Akshar Vatsal Swami said, “Narendra Modi has been very close to Pramukh Swami Maharaj and BAPS. We do not see this occasion as a political event and when he is coming here, it is not because of his political position, but because he has been very close to BAPS and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. This is purely a religious event and should not be seen from a political perspective.”Even the BJP has clarified that it does not see this event as one with political motivation. Party spokesperson Bharat Pandya said, “This should not be seen as a political move as Modi and BAPS, especially Pramukh Swami Maharaj, shared an emotional and religious relation. When he took an oath as PM and assumed charge, he had signed with the pen that was gifted by Maharaj. The PM always considered Maharaj as a father figure and their relations are of different dimension. Even the PM would not make any political statement from the platform of this occasion.”

Alpesh Thakor will be a help for Cong in North Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Thakor Sena president Alpesh Thakor who joined Congress on Monday can prove to be a game changer in the upcoming polls for the seats in North Gujarat which are dominated by the Thakor community. There are 23 such seats in North Gujarat and 10 in central Gujarat, as per the findings of a survey by an agency directly connected to the Gujarat government.Out of these 33 seats which could see the impact, BJP has 12 seats in North Gujarat and one in Central Gujarat. Besides, six out of these 33 were won by Congress candidates but they defected to BJP just before the Rajya Sabha polls in August. There are a total of 34 Assembly seats in North Gujarat. The survey states that the impact may be visible in North Gujarat where Congress won 20 out of 34 seats in the 2012 polls, shocking the ruling BJP as North Gujarat was believed to be its fort. This time, Alpesh Thakor can increase BJP’s pain, the survey indicates.BJP MP from Kheda, Devusinh Chauhan, from the Thakor community, said, “Alpesh Thakor has put his hand on the right vein of the community and raised issues like strict (liquor) Prohibition and unemployment. It helped him gain sympathy of Thakors which turned out to be a huge crowd in his rally in Gandhinagar on Monday. It is to be seen whether it gets converted into votes for Congress or not.” He added, “We firmly believe Thakor community has trust on the BJP and there are many MLAs from the community who could counter Alpesh Thakor in polls.”Chauhan added, “Central Gujarat would not see impact of Alpesh Thakor as the issues he raised are not a factor here. There are committed voters of Congress but there is a vacuum of leadership as the elected members of Congress acted as non-performing assets and lost the trust of people.”Congress believes that Thakor Sena would help it strengthen its network in North Gujarat.GAME-CHANGERS?As per this survey, the seats which can see impact of Alpesh Thakor are, Viramgam, Dehgam, Kalol, Mansa, Gandhinagar South, Patan, Chanasma, Sidhpur, Radhanpur, Kheralu, Visnagar, Unjha, Bechraji, Palanpur, Radhanpur, Deesa, Kankrej, Deodar, Himmatnagar, Idar, Prantij, Modasa and Bayad in North Gujarat. Whereas Borsad, Anklav, Umreth, Petlad, Matar, Mahemdabad, Mahudha, Thasra, Kapadvanj, Balasinor of central Gujarat.

PM in city for mega rally today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming back to his home state on Monday for another rally. But, unlike his earlier outings, this one is going to be a game-changer, both for its scale — more than seven lakh BJP workers are expected to attend — and for the timing — his speech should do the job of a morale booster for party workers who will be tackling the anti-incumbency factor in the poll-bound state.The PM will be addressing party workers in Bhat village near Ahmedabad. Political observers feel every word that will come from the PM will ignite the passion in lakhs of party workers. It’s not the anti-incumbency sentiments, the party also has to find ways to bounce back in the face of widespread social media campaigns against it.But party workers have faith in their leader. Calling him a role model, BJP Yuva Morcha vice-president in Ahmedabad, Poras Patel, said, “Modi means Gujarat for us. He is the synonym for development, and he is our pride. He has been always a source of inspiration for us and his speech tomorrow (Monday) is going to energise us. His speech will silence the anti-BJP voices that have been hogging social media platforms.”Another BJP worker Rajesh Desai said, “Modi’s words are like Gita for us. If we follow his directions, we will win more than 150 seats. We will take his development agenda to every household in Gujarat and will convince every voter that only BJP is can think of their development.”Among the seven lakh party workers who will attend the rally, the significant presence will be of page pramukhs, who are in charge of voters listed on a single page of voters list. Page pramukhs are the mascots of the BJP and part of its micro plans for poll campaigns. It is said that the concept was introduced by Modi himself during the Assembly elections in 2012.BJP spokesperson Harshad Patel said, “A rally of this scale, where a party leader will address workers in such large numbers, will be the first in country’s history.””It will be a record of sorts. BJP is a cadre-based party and workers are its backbone. They look up to Modi for inspiration and he knows it well. That is why we believe this rally is going to be a game-changer in the current political trend in state,” Patel noted.”Earlier, Amitbhai (Amit Shah, party’s national president) addressed workers in three different regions of the state. The PM’s address will focus on development programmes anchored by both central and state governments. Since he himself started as a party worker, he understands how workers can be inspired and what miracles they are capable of if guided properly. We have high hopes from this rally,” Patel added.VADODARA VISITPM Modi’s visit on October 23 to Bhavnagar for the inauguration of RoRo Ferry service may be cancelled and instead he may visit Vadodara on October 22 to inaugurate several public projects there, deputy chief minister Nitin Patel said on Sunday. However, he did not confirm whether the PM would visit Bhavnagar the next day

Disturbed Areas Act imposed in Surat, Vadodara

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state revenue department issued a notification on Saturday imposing the Disturbed Areas Act in several parts of Surat and Vadodara cities. The notification makes it compulsory to take prior consent of district collector or concerned authorities before selling or transferring immovable properties in urban areas.As per Article-3 of the Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Properties and Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premise in Disturbed Area Act-1991, collector notifies areas of cities as disturbed areas. Possessors of house or residential plots cannot be transferred in the name of any person of other religions without permission from the collector.The revenue department also released a press note stating they had received representations from various people, organisations and groups demanding strict implementation of act.Sources in government said, “BJP MLAs from these cities had made representations on different levels up to the CM, complaining that Muslims were shifting to Hindu-dominated areas. This could create a problem during polls as it may affect their chances of winning. The government has made the decision accordingly.”

Buzz on Anandiben’s increasing importance, but she stays away from party programmes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramaniyan Swamy said on Friday that former chief minister Anandiben Patel should be reinstated as CM of Gujarat again. Swamy’s statement has created ripples in Gujarat politics, especially in the ambit of the BJP. On the other side, the party is preparing for Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s Twitter townhall programme to address the issues of women. Anandiben Patel, as the senior most woman leader in Gujarat BJP, has stayed away from it.Swaraj is going to address women on October 14 in Ahmedabad and women across the state will connect to her through the social media platform from 25 places. The Mahila Morcha(women wing) of Gujarat has been meeting to plan the programme for the past few days but Ben’s absence is clearly seen at the party’s headquarter Shri Kamalam.A leader close to Anandiben Patel said, “Anandiben is working as an independent leader of the BJP and has been given a different role to play in the elections. That is why she is visiting different places and people. She is not the member of the Mahila Morcha and that is why it is not mandatory for her to be there in preparation of the programme, but she has other important duties to play meanwhile.”Anandiben has been visiting different parts of North Gujarat and has also been holding meetings with different people at her residence in Gandhinagar for the past few days.Gujarat president of BJP Mahila Morcha, Jyoti Pandya, said, “Anandiben Patel is our senior leader and she has been guiding us. It is not necessary for her to be seen in the posters of programmes elsewhere.”A senior leader of the party said, “Ever since Amit Shah met Anandiben Patel during the closed-door meeting, it is believed that Anandiben’s importance is increasing and the party is seriously missing her. In BJP, a single person does not decide everything. Important issues are discussed and then decided unanimously in the party forum. Ben becoming the CM depends on the unanimous decision of party’s parliamentary board.”Union minister Ravishankar Prasad announced Swaraj’s townhall programme on Friday from Gujarat’s BJP headquarters Shri Kamalam. Prasad also avoided questions on Anandiben. Patel could not be reached for her reaction.

Nostalgia refreshed, citizens deck up to welcome Vadnagar’s son

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to be in his hometown, Vadnagar in Mehsana district on Sunday. This will be his first visit after he assumed the post of the Prime Minister and after a span of four years.All of Vadnagar is exuberant, nostalgic and emotional to welcome him. Every place connected to the PM’s life, starting from the tea stall on the railway station he worked in, his school, a famous Sharmishtha lake and other places have been decorated.Collector of Mehsana, HK Patel, said, “People will gather on roads all across Vadnagar from where PM will pass. People have great enthusiasm to welcome him and all of Vadnagar is celebrating Diwali 15 days prior to the festivity. All of Vadnagar has been decorated and illuminated. Artistes have prepared a one km long painting on a fabric depicting the PM’s life from birth and showing special moments of his life.”The PM’s life is highly influenced by his days at his father’s tea stall on Vadnagar railway station. A tea stall has been raised here where people are to hold a Chai Pe Charcha programme. Apart from this, cultural and musical events, and fireworks have also been arranged.”A special Aarti like the Ganga Arti in Varansi will be held at Sharmishtha lake. People in Vadnagar are going to welcome him on the dais for the programme. The entire programme is very very special for the PM, people of Vadnagar and almost north Gujarat so the district administration also has made all arrangements accordingly,” added Patel.People who are closely connected to the PM have become emotional. His friend and classmate, Gulab Khan Pathan, said that he felt proud as Modi was the PM and he put Vadnagar on the map. He said, “I do not know if he will have time to meet us but we 11 friends who studied with him are eager to meet him.”The PM is going to gift several projects to Vadnagar, including a medical college-cum-hospital, civic amenties of Rs 50 crore and also to launch several central government projects from here.PLAN FOR THE PMEvery place connected to the PM’s life, starting from the tea stall on the railway station he worked in, his school, a famous Sharmishtha lake and other places has been decorated.

Anandiben, Amit Shah hold closed door meeting, talk polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP’s national chief Amit Shah and Gujarat’s former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had a closed door meeting on Sunday night at the latter’s residence in Gandhinagar. The two-hour meet left many indications on Gujarat politics.Sources from the party said that Shah had gone to placate Patel ahead of the Assembly polls while Patel handed over the list of 43 people whom she wished to see as candidates in the upcoming Gujarat polls.This meeting between these two is believed to have concluded with promises. When both of them were the ministers in Narendra Modi’s cabinet in Gujarat government, they maintained a distance in their relations. Patel resigned as CM citing age as the reason, last year. However, Shah’s statement on fielding candidates above 75 years of age has come as positive sign for Anandiben and it is possible that she can contest polls from her conventional seat Ghatlodia, said the source.A senior leader in BJP said, “It was the closed door meeting and no any other person was present there so it is not easy to make any prediction. But it seems that both leaders have decided to work together again. I know that Anandiben Patel demanded that tickets should be given to some of her confidantes and Shah has agreed. However, it is very difficult to assert on any particular thing about the meeting.”Shah-Jaitley pushes Gujarat BJP for aggressive social media campaignAmit Shah and poll incharge of Gujarat and Union minister Arun Jaitley held a couple of meetings with leaders of the state unit at party headquarter Shri Kamalam. Both leaders insisted that Gujarat BJP should make its social media campaign more aggrassive that appeals to youth with great efficiency.ELECTION PLANSThis meeting between these two is believed to have concluded with promises.

Citizens troll BJP’s ‘Vikas’ campaign, party remains nonchalant

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Less than 24 hours after Gujarat BJP unveiled its election campaign, “Hu Vikas Chu, Hu Chu Gujarat”, for the upcoming state assembly elections, it was attacked by social media trolls.By Friday evening, thousands of people had commented against the campaign. While BJP, through the campaign, tried to link the development with the people of Gujarat, citizens on social media disowned the campaign.The campaign was trolled using slogans like “Ame Dawood ne pakadvano vaydo karyo hato pan ame hardik ne pakdyo, ha hu vikas chu” (We had promised to arrest Dawood but we arrested Hardik in a sedition case, yes, I am development) and “Jetli Vimal ma kesar ni matra, etli j BJP na raaj ma vikas ni yatra, hu chu vikas” (If you find saffron in Vimal gutkha, you can find development in BJP’s rule, I am the development) among others.The convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and Hardik Patel’s colleague, Dinesh Bambhaniya said, “We immediately started the slogan campaign against BJP’s campaign. This caught the people’s attention and they started sharing it on social media. In fact, our campaign received more popularity than that of Gujarat BJP.”He added, “Our campaign on “Vikas Gando Thayo Che” has been a hit and BJP floated this campaign against that. I believe BJP is zero on the name of development. BJP has been fooling people for many years but people have come out openly for the first time and talking against BJP.”Gujarat BJP has outsourced the campaign to a social media team which is working under the supervision of Gujarat BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav. The slogan “Hu Vikas Chu, Hu Chu Gujarat” has been coined by media consultant Manish Baradia, who was also behind envisaging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image on the national and international level.On the other hand, PAAS has an organised setup for its social media campaign which consists of around 18,000 young active volunteers in the social media wing. The activity is being headed by Sagar Savaliya aka Befaam of Ahmedabad, Hill Patidar from Rajkot and Ravi Aadroja from Surat.SOCIAL MEDIA WARBJP has outsourced the campaign to a team working under the supervision of Gujarat BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav.
PAAS has an organised setup which consists of around 18,000 young volunteers in the social media wing.

BJP’s response to Gando Vikas: Hu vikas chhu, hu chhu Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe’ (Development has gone mad) campaign, which has gone viral on social media over the past few weeks, has made the ruling BJP the butt of jokes. But it seems the saffron party will contest the upcoming Assembly elections on the issue of development.On Thursday, the party unveiled ‘Hu Vikas Chhu, Hu Chhu Gujarat’ (I am development, I am Gujarat) as the tag-line for its fortnight-long Gujarat Gaurav Yatra, which will crisscross the state between October 1 and 15.Union minister and Gujarat polls in-charge Piyush Goyal on Friday flagged off the vehicles that will participate in the yatra from Ahmedabad. They are headed for the places of the origin of the yatra.Goyal said, “The Gujarat Gaurav Yatra will reflect the core of Gujarat’s developmental over the past 20 years. Vikas has been BJP’s second name in Gujarat and now it is reaching other corners of the country under Modi as the PM. The BJP has always focused on the development of every person.”By highlighting several problems faced by the state, the Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe social media campaign mocks the claims of development by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and the party. The campaign has gone viral to such an extent that Shah had to appeal to youths not to believe everything that they see on social media, while finance minister Arun Jaitley, also BJP in-charge for the Gujarat elections, had cautioned the party leadership against overreacting to the campaign.Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani who was present on the occasion said, “This is not a campaign to counter the adverse campaigns by our opponents. This is a presentation of what the BJP has done in Gujarat. We do not need to respond to false campaigns.”The 10-minute audio-visual presentation will be showcased to people at 138 public rallies as part of the Yatra.The 4,657-km-long Yatra will cover 149 rural and tribal community dominated constituencies.It is divided into two phases. The first phase will start on October 1 and will cover the north and central zones of the state, while the second phase will start on October 2, covering Saurashtra and south zones.Both Yatras will be flagged off by BJP chief Amit Shah from Karamsad in central zone and from Porbadar in Saurashtra zone.Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will attend both Yatras on alternate days, while deputy CM Nitin Patel will lead the first Yatra. The second yatra will be led by Vaghani.PM Modi will attend the concluding day of Yatra on October 16. According to source, more than seven lakh BJP workers are expected to attend that.

Guj voter slips to have navigation map

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a first for voters in Gujarat, the Election Commission (EC) has decided to have the navigation map of polling station on the back of voter slips which will be distributed a week before the Assembly elections, scheduled to held later this year. This was proposed by state’s chief electoral officer (CEO) BB Swain during a meeting called by the EC to review preparations for the polls.Talking to media-persons, Swain said, “We will distribute voting slips a week before the elections. The navigation map is to help voters avoid any confusion in locating their polling stations. The maps will be prepared from the navigation platform available on the Internet.”At the meeting, held on Wednesday and Thursday, it was also decided to have volunteers at polling stations to provide special assistance to disabled voters to cast their votes.“Our returning officers will prepare a list of disabled voters from the electoral roll. They will ensure this particular is mentioned on the rolls,” Swain said.The returning officers will visit them a few days before polling and ask if they require assistance of volunteers. Those who need help will get it at polling stations,” said Swain.There is a possibility that the polling station may change as the EC has increased their number, looking at the increase in number of voters.As compared to the 2012 assembly elections, the number of voters has gone up by 52.45 lakh for the upcoming elections. From 3.80 crore in the previous elections, the number of voters has touched 4.33 crore. The number of registered male voters is 2.25 crore and female voters is 2.08 crore.The EC has capped the number of voters per polling booth to 1,400 in urban areas and 1,200 in rural areas. There will be a total 50,120 polling stations for the upcoming Gujarat polls, as compared with 44,579 in 2012.“We are going to submit the mother list of voters registered till September 25 and that will be final. That does not mean people cannot register as voters. But the ECI will be given this list and the returning officers will be given the same list for the polling day. Those who register themselves as voters after September 25 can cast their votes by showing proper proofs at polling stations,” added Swain.The CEO had conducted electoral roll revision programme twice this year — in January and July. As many as 24 lakh people had applied for addition of their names in the list, and after verification, 15.40 lakh new names were added.

Shankersinh Vaghela endorses third front ‘forum’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Gujarat chief minister and veteran politician Shankersinh Vaghela on Tuesday endorsed the third front at a press conferrence in Gujarat. Vaghela who left Congress on July 22 said that the third front in Gujarat did not aim to cause harm or to give benefit to any existing political party in the state by vote polarisation in the upcoming polls. The third front is named as Jan Vikalp Party, but Vaghela termed this as a forum and not a political party.”This is not a political party, but a forum, and any person or party which is open to accepting the agenda of full power in the hands of people can join it. I am endorsing this forum but will not contest polls. We have decided that the contestant of third front will be fielded in all constituencies but tickets will be given to those who our workers and common people prefer. There won’t be any high command in this forum. People will decide everything here.””We are not going to beg for votes from people. If they really need a political option in Gujarat, they should come forward to support us. This third front will be a joint venture of common people and politicians. We are not here to cause harm or to give benefit to any of the two major political parties in Gujarat through polarisation of votes and will not make any compromise on our agenda to attain power in Gujarat,” he added.Vaghela enlisted agenda of his party that includes unemployment allowance to youth, security to women, full pay to government employees and workers of government agencies, relief from burden of GST to businessmen and solution for communities on agitation. Vaghela also said that he will not make any personal allegations on any of BJP or Congress leaders but will criticise the policies of the party which went adverse to people’s interest.The convener of the Jan Vikalp Party Bhaumik Thakar said that their forum had conducted a survey before launching it and majority of people opted that Vaghela should become Gujarat chief minister. They had also appealed to Vaghela to take reigns into his hands.

Work on Statue of Unity faster than Burj Khalifa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The statue of unity (SoU), dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel-the sculptor of united India-is being constructed at a faster pace than that of the world’s tallest building at present-the Burj Khalifa also known as Burj Dubai.While the 985 metre-building at a rate of construction of 3.18 metre per week took five years for completion, the Iron Man’s 182 metre-tall statue is being constructed at a rate of 4.5 metre per week. It would be double the height of world’s tallest statue at present- Statue of Liberty- in the USA.Member of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET) and chairman in Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited, SS Rathore, said, “The construction is going on at a fast pace. It has reached 103.5 metre-level at a speed of 4.5 metre per week. Including the base pedestal, total height of the structure would be 248 metre and the construction has reached 161.5 metre by Sunday.”He added, “We hope that the entire project will be ready by its set deadline of October next year.”After visiting the site on Sunday, PM Narendra Modi had said in his rally at Dabhoi, “Lakhs of foreign tourists visit Taj Mahal in Agra every year, but I feel that they will be forced to visit the Statue of Unity once it is completed. We were presenting Taj Mahal to foreign tourists but this statue will also become another architecture marvel.” The construction has been awarded to L&T and the entire project cost is estimated around Rs3,000 crore.FASTER THAN MANYThe structure has reached 103.5m at a speed of 4.5m per week.
The height of the structure will be 248m and 161.5m of it has been done till Sunday.
It is likely to be completed by next October.

Naroda Patiya case: Amit Shah to appear as defence witness for Maya Kodnani at Ahmedabad court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP President Amit Shah is going to appear at Ahmedabad Sessions Court on Monday to appear as a defence witness for Maya Kodnani in the Naroda Patiyacase. The BJP president is set to reach Ahmedabad City Civil and Session Court at the old HC campus at 11 AM to present himself as a witness.He had been asked by special court Judge PB Desai who had also made it clear it will not re-issue the summons if he failed to appear. On two previous occasions, Kodnani had failed to furnish the address to which the summons was to be issued.Stating she was not present in the spot on February 28, 2002, the day the massacre took place, Kodnani claimed she had attended the assembly session before going to Sola civil hospital, where Amit Shah was also present. Kodnani is seeking Shah’s testimony to prove her innocence.Eleven people were killed in the Naroda Gam and Patiya massacre on February 28, a day after 59 persons were killed in the Godhra train carnage. Kodnani is sentenced to 28 years in jail in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. She is presently out on bail on health grounds.

Amit Shah to address OBCs ahead of polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP national president Amit Shah has already announced that his party’s mantra will be to win the hearts of OBCs in Gujarat polls. As the OBC communities in Gujarat constitutes around 62 per cent of total vote share, the party has been focusing on about 146 communities that come under this category. To address the community, Shah will arrive in Gujarat on Monday and will hold a convention for OBCs at Fagvel village of Kheda district.Around 50,000 people are expected to gather to listen to the message of BJP’s strategist at Fagvel which has the dominance of Thakor community. This community has the second largest share in OBC community in Gujarat after Koli community. Moreover, Thakors are the committed vote bank of Congress in its fort of central Gujarat where BJP has been trying to create a dent. This is also a region where Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki, former CM Madhavsinh Solanki and other influential leaders of Congress come from.A senior leader of BJP said, “Congress is strong in central Gujarat and to achieve the target of 150, it is necessary to acquire more seats in this region. When Patel community has gone upfront against BJP in the state, BJP is highly dependent on OBC community in the state now. Not only Thakor but people from other communities including Koli, Chaudhary and others also will be invited to Shah’s public meeting.””PM Narendra Modi’s proposed OBC commission will be the major issue which Shah could raise here, as Congress has opposed the same in parliament and this can become a tool for Shah to placate Congress committed communities taking them into favour of BJP,” added the leader.Besides this, Shah will also hold a convention with cooperative sector leaders in Gujarat on Monday evening at Gandhinagar. This convention was scheduled in July along with his North Gujarat region rally but was postponed then following to the floods in the north Gujarat region.

PM Narendra Modi to show Ahmedabad’s heritage to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will show the heritage of Ahmedabad city to Japanese Prime Minister Shino Abe on the first day of his two days visit to Gujarat.Modi will take Abe and his wife at Ahmedabad’s famous Sidi Saiyyed Mosque more popularly known as ‘Sidi Saiyyid ki Jaali’.This mosque was built in 1573 by Sidi Saiyyed, ruler(suba) of Ahmedabad. The mosque is entirely built of sandstone and stone slabs carved in designs of intertwined trees and foliage and a palm motif gives splendour to this architectural marvel. The Sidi Saiyyed ni Jaali is also an identity symbol for Ahmedabad city. After spending time of around half an hour here, Modi, Abe and delegations of India and Japan will lead to heritage hotel Agashiye exactly in front of the mosque. They will be served authentic Gujarati food here.

Indo-Japan ties blossomed after Modi and Abe’s meeting in 2012

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The seed of friendly relations was sown in April 2007, when PM Modi met Japan PM Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. The same bonhomie will be seen blossoming further on Wednesday. PM Modi then had held discussions over the Delhi-Mumbai industrial dedicated freight corridor project.Modi had also showcased tourism sites related to Buddhism in Gujarat and had also invited Abe to Gujarat. Almost a decade later, Abe is arriving to Modi’s home land, Gujarat, on September 13 and 14 keeping the promise he gave to Modi back then. Later in 2012, when PM Narendra Modi, the then CM of Gujarat, met Shinzo Abe during his second Japan visit of four days.The courtesy meeting took place in Tokyo and it was then that they vowed to strengthen Indo-Japan ties for multi-sectorial development in both the nations.During his four days visit to Japan, Modi had written on his blog, “Japan and India have enjoyed a historical relation as well as a deep cultural bond… Apart from a common administrative culture, both India and Japan believe in liberal societies and democratic governance. Thus, it is hardly surprising that India and Japan have become extremely close over the years.””This visit will surely be a ‘win- win’ situation for both Gujarat and Japan both in terms of economic and cultural forms of cooperation.”Back then, PM Modi had also travelled in the bullet train in Japan and had addressed the investment seminar of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) on July 23, 2012. He had also envisioned the bullet train in India that will be a possibility with the foundation stone laying ceremony to be performed by Modi and Abe on September 14 morning at Ahmedabad.Former secretary in Industries department of government of Gujarat Maheshwar Sahu said, “Modi is a visionary and has a technological leaning in all sectors. Japan is the forerunner in the field of technology. This is the reason why he has given preference to Japan.”

Cars to cargo, ACs to planes: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s visit brings deals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat is set to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the annual Indo-Japan meet on September 13-14 at Mahatma Mandir in the capital, Gandhinagar. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) expected to be signed at the meet, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will bring in development in sectors from cars to cargo and from trains to aerospace, and draw huge investments, to the tune of Rs 5 lakh crore, from as many as 15 Japanese firms as well as the government.Chief secretary Dr JN Singh, while talking to DNA, said, “There are many sectors in which there will be cooperation between India and Japan. Besides the bullet train project, ties will be formulated in the sectors of aerospace, automobiles manufacturing, and maritime.”The bullet train will be India’s first, between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, and will cut travel time between the two cities from 7–8 hours to a little over two hours. Japan is a pioneer in high-speed rail networks, and its Shinkansen bullet train is among the fastest in the world.“A training and skill upgradation centre will be developed in Vadodara as a part of the High Speed Rail Training Institute. The institute, to become functional by 2020, will get equipment such as a simulator and other facilities that exist in Japan. This will train 4,000 staffers for bullet train and 300 railway officials. This will also help the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor,” Singh said.Modi and Abe will inaugurate Maruti-Suzuki’s car manufacturing plant and Honda’s two-wheeler plant near Bahucharaji in the northern part of the state . The first model of Maruti-Suzuki’s Baleno, which will be exported to foreign markets, will be launched at the meet. The Japanese government is also going to give soft loans of Rs 1,000 crore for development of an industrial park at Sanand which includes a township, and Rs 600 crore for the Alang Ship Breaking Yard near Bhavnagar.Well-placed sources from the government said, “Baba Kalyani from Bharat Forge is looking forward to defence and aerospace manufacturing in Gujarat with the cooperation of Japanese firms and an MoU is likely to be signed at the meet. Another multicrore agreement relating to the maritime cargo handling will be signed.”JAPAN TO FUND HIGH-SPEED RAILThe High Speed Rail Corporation, which will execute the over Rs1 lakh crore Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train project, will receive Rs88,000 crore or 80 per cent of the funds from the Japanese government at an interest of 0.1 per cent. The fund would have to be repaid over a period of 50 years of which the first 15 years would be grace period. The train will cut down the travel time between Ahmedabad and Mumbai to just over two hours as against the current seven.Companies likely to sign MoUsCompany SectorMoresco Oil LubricantToyoda Gosei Auto partsJtekt Auto parts,Sanden Car ACs VentilationSojitz Automobile, Aerospace, etcTopre Auto partsAsti TechnologyMeidoh Metal, autoSanko Gosei Electronic componentsMurakami ChemicalsUnicharm HealthcareDaikin AC system

Arun Jaitley, Nirmala Sitharaman to work on innovative campaign for Guj BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP’s election in-charge for Gujarat, Arun Jaitley, and co-in charge Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday met members of the state party’s core group at party’s headquarters in ‘Shri Kamalam’ in Gandhinagar to chalk out strategy for the Assembly polls due later this year.To counter Opposition’s social media campaign ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Che’, which is viral on the Internet, BJP will launch a social media campaign focusing on Centre’s and PM Modi’s contribution in Gujarat’s development ahead of the Assembly polls to be held in December. It will be youth-centric.A senior leader from the party said, “Gujarat BJP has decided to pitch in a positive social media campaign to counter ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Che’. But, it will be designed in such a way that it looks fresh and innovative and people forget ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Che’.””During the Yuva Townhall on Sunday, BJP chief Amit Shah had instructed the party leaders to design a powerful and positive social media campaign on the basis of statistics. We are working towards that,” he added.Addressing mediapersons, Jaitley said, “BJP in Gujarat has started its preparations for Assembly polls. Since I and Nirmalaji have worked for the polls in Gujarat, we are going to make an efficient campaign for social and mainstream media.”He added, “As BJP has been ruling Gujarat for many years and the Gujarat model has remained very popular in other states too, we will focus on it. There is an atmosphere of trust among the voters towards the BJP government and party’s roots are very deep here.”

Amit Shah to face pre-selected questions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The twitterati are not known to back off from a juicy bone. After it was revealed that questions for Bharatiya Janata Party national president Amit Shah’s Yuva Townhall on Sunday in Ahmedabad would be pre-selected, users started posting uncomfortable questions on the social media platform.Shah is scheduled to hold a dialogue with young voters in poll-bound Gujarat.Some of the questions could put Shah in a spot, asking about regularising jobs for contractual employees, transfer issues, due benefits, and other issues with the Gujarat state government.The episode is reminiscent of the embarrassment Chief Minister Vijay Rupani face at a Twitter townhall when faced with almost similar questions.For Shah, therefore, the Gujarat unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, which is organising the programme, isn’t taking any chances, and is pre-deciding which questions will make to Shah.“It is natural that people would take the freedom to ask any question to BJP chief when he has invited them for, but the party will take care that no question comes during live programme which will embarrass Shah,” said Dr Rutvij Patel, president of the Gujarat BJYM, conceding that the questions will be screened before being posed to Shah.The Gujarat BJP Yuva Morcha has been also encouraging the party’s young workers to ask as many questions as many as possible.“It was very embarrassing moment for CM Vijay Rupani when there was an onset of awkward questions and he was forced to stop the programme half the way. The senior party leaders have taken enough care for Shah’s programme and they have been guiding the organisers,” a senior BJP leader said, on condition of anonymity.However, the party has not consulted the government on replies regarding state government issues so that Shah can answer them with proper references. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said, “Amitbhai is an active leader and knows every policy of Gujarat government very well. He does not need to be given any briefing or reference for any question related to government and he is capable of answering those through his own understanding.”QUESTIONS FOR SHAHFixed salary and contractual job for initial five years in Gujarat government
Government’s action to prevent spread of swine flu
Internal transfer of employees of DISCOMs(power distribution companies of Gujarat government)
Salaries and other issues of pharmacists and physiotherapists in government hospitals

Shankersinh Vaghela might enter RS as President’s nominee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat’s veteran politician and former CM Shankersinh Vaghela can be seen in Rajya Sabha as President’s nominee. Out of the 250 members of the Rajya Sabha, the President nominates 12 having special knowledge or practical experience.A senior BJP leader who has worked with Vaghela when he was with the BJP in his earlier years, said on condition of anonymity, “It is almost decided that Vaghela would make an entry to Rajya Sabha as the President’s nominee in near future. It is also likely that Vaghela can get the lucrative appointment in profit making board or corporation owned by Government of India. After quitting Congress, Vaghela could be very helpful to BJP ahead of the Assembly polls.”Vaghela parted ways with Congress and resigned as leader of Opposition and member in Gujarat Assembly showing his displeasure with Congress high command and leaders in Gujarat. Now this leader with the rebellious nature has softened his approach for BJP which could earn him a benefit through entry in Rajya Sabha, the leader said.BJP had nominated Balwantsinh Rajput as the third candidate in Rajya Sabha polls held on August 8 but he lost against Congress’ candidate Ahmed Patel. Rajput is the father-in-law of granddaughter of Vaghela and thus they are relatives. In fact, BJP leaders were of the opinion that Vaghela should file nomination as third candidate of BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls but he refused and put forward the name of Rajput in place of him, said the BJP leader.Neither Vaghela nor Rajput could be reached for their comments. When Vaghela resigned as MLA of Kapadvanj on Thursday, he had said he would continue serving people as a politician.GAME OF THRONESVaghela might have some suspicion in mind and that is why he would have refused to contest RS polls. Moreover, he did not want to leave a message that he left Congress to become the BJP RS member. He chose to not contest the election so that his image is not affected and put forward the proposal for Rajput.” -Senior BJP leader on anonymity

13th term ends on stormy note

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The last day of Gujarat Assembly’s 13th term ended on a stormy note on Wednesday. It was also the final day of the Assembly’s two-day monsoon session. This term has been very significant in its own.The term saw three chief ministers take charge in the state. Narendra Modi was elected as the leader of the ruling BJP in House after the 2012 polls. In 2014, he was elected as the Prime Minister of India and bid adieu to the House in a special session held on May 21, 2014.The party then chose Anandiben Patel as Modi’s successor, but she also tendered her resignation on July 31, 2016, after a rise in political protests against her, but cited age as her official reason. On August 8, 2016, Vijay Rupani succeeded Patel as Gujarat’s CM.It is noteworthy that BJP national president Amit Shah also tendered his resignation on Wednesday as he has now been elected as a member of Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. He became nostalgic while giving his farewell speech to the House.Meanwhile, Congress members raised a furore in the House on the issue of stone-pelting at Rahul Gandhi’s car and were ousted by the Speaker.The proceedingsAs many as four bills were passed through the House unopposed in absence of Congress MLAs on Wednesday. The proceedings of the House began with a discussion on the actions taken by the government for relief and rehabilitation of flood victims in North Gujarat.The motion was proposed by Congress MLA from Manavadar Jawahar Chavda. During the discussion, Congress MLA from Deesa Gova Rabari said that their leader Rahul Gandhi was attacked by BJP workers upon his visit to the flood-affected areas. He also blamed that BJP workers pelted stones at Gandhi’s car and ransacked it.Countering this, senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said that Gandhi had breached protocol by not accepting security provided by the state government.This incited Congress MLAs who started shouting ‘Shame Shame’ and did not stop despite Speaker Ramanlal Vora ordering them to. The Speaker then ordered sergeants to oust all Congress MLAs.Ruling party hails BJP govt’s effortsGandhinagar: BJP MLA from Majura Harsh Sanghavi brought the motion to discuss the achievements of the state government by initiating the Narmada Irrigation Scheme and completing the Sardar Sarovar Dam project. BJP national president Amit Shah complimented the BJP government for optimising the vision of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the form of the Narmada scheme. Shah and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel took a dig at Congress-ruled governments in the state for sitting idle on the project.THE BILLSThe government, through an amendment to the Cooperative Societies Act, would hand over power to societies to hold elections for governing body. The amendment will be made in Article 77 C of the Act, through which the government had earlier taken all powers from society.
The bill on ALC Act amendment suggested that the organisation or individual who acquires land falling under the Act in rural areas shall make the same amount of agricultural land available to the government in a nearby area.
The ULC Act amendment bill has extended the limit for payment of the amount to regularise residential encroachments on government lands in cities, after they found possession of these lands were from poor families and needed government support.
The single-window system clearance bill suggests the mechanism of fast approval to upcoming industries for registration, license, permission and certification.

Three Gujarat MLAs ditch Congress, embrace BJP; Rajput to fight RS poll

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress in Gujarat received yet another jolt as three of its senior MLAs resigned and joined the BJP in the presence of its national president Amit Shah at the party headquarters, Kamalam, in Gandhinagar on Thursday.All the three MLAs — Congress chief whip in Gujarat Assembly and Siddhpur MLA Balwantsinh Rajput, Virmagam MLA Dr Tejshri Patel and Vijapur MLA Prahlad Patel — tendered their resignations to Speaker Ramanlal Vora in the afternoon and said they were not happy with the turbulence in the Congress. More drama is expected on Friday, when Rajput will file his nomination for the Rajya Sabha (RS) election against Congress’s Ahmed Patel.This comes a week after the Congress received a major setback after the veteran Shankersinh Vaghela quit. The party had been trying to put up a brave front for Patel, who is set to seek re-election to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.Congress’s ordeal does not end here, since 11 more of its MLAs are almost certain to bid goodbye to the party. They are said to be in touch with some BJP leaders and Vagela. If they too resign, Patel’s vote share will decline from 47 to 43, which would mean a defeat for him.After joining the BJP, Rajput said, “I was with the Congress for 35 years and have served on different positions in the organisation and government offices as well. But, I was disturbed by the internal rift in the party, and the high command seemed least interested in resolving it. I also observed that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat and India have developed immensely. This inspired me to join the BJP. I will not demand a ticket and will handle what the party assigns me.”Dr Tejshri Patel said, “I saw great indiscipline within the Congress. Members have been making frivolous statements, but face no action. Alpesh Thakor, a leader of the Thakor community, shared the dais with me at a function in my area. While addressing the public, he said he would decide a candidate for Congress from Viramgam and that person would be from the Thakor community. Now, this is not only an insult to me but an injustice to the Patel community.”Prahlad Patel said, “I realised I can progress only if I am with the party in power. I had joined the Congress after defecting from BJP five years ago. But, the Congress does not have any respect for the Patel community and never has anyone from the community in important positions. I have made the Congress party strong in Vijapur, a BJP stronghold, but now I will break the spine of the Congress there by contesting the polls as a BJP candidate.”However, Patel later retracted his statement, saying he will not seek a ticket and the BJP high command will make a decision.During the press conference, the Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani said, “Although from different parties, we had a friendly relationship. I called Rajput and said ‘you are a popular leader in your region. You should join the BJP as millions of people have put their faith in the party led by PM Modi. We welcome all the three members to the BJP in the presence of Shah.”Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel is speculated to be the mastermind behind the plot, as Patel has been in constant touch with these MLAs from the north Gujarat region. The three MLAs also confessed they were in touch with Patel, who, being a minister, always supported them for development works in their areas.”This has happened because of the Congress. Many of their leaders and workers feel suffocated in the party as their voice is muzzled. Ahmed Patel has been contesting RS polls for 24 years, so why can’t the Congress give a chance to another candidate. The paty is ruled by one family and their sycophants,” the deputy CM said….& ANALYSISWith 11 more MLAs likely to quit the party, Ahmed Patel, who is seeking re-election to the Rajya Sabha on a Cong ticket from Gujarat, is now facing an imminent defeat.
The BJP is looking to shore up its numbers in the RS, where it lacks majority, and this development will help the ruling party take a firm step towards increasing its RS numbers.

Shankersinh Vaghela may launch new political front

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after he announced his exit from the Congress, former CM Shankersinh Vaghela seems to be gearing up to play a pivotal role in state politics ahead of the Assembly polls slated later this year.According to sources, Vaghela has been sending feelers to BJP dissidents as well as PM Narendra Modi’s rivals within the party.In the past few days, Vaghela is said to have approached RSS leader and former BJP organisation secretary Sanjay Joshi, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia. He has also reportedly approached sidelined leaders in the state BJP like former CM Anandiben Patel and former minister of state for home Gordhan Zadaphia.“Vaghela is looking at floating a new political front and is wooing these leaders for support. However, it is not known how they have reacted to his proposal,” a source added.Sources further said Vaghela had already approached NCP leader and former union minister Praful Patel for possible ties ahead of assembly elections. He has also reached out to community leaders Hardik Patel from PAAS, Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani, Patel community leader and trustee of Khodaldham Naresh Patel and Thakor Sena president Alpesh Thakor.The veteran leader, however, trashed this as rumours. Talking to dna, he said, “It is obvious someone with malafide interest is doing this. I do not know who is spreading this misinformation, but I have not met any of these leaders in the past two years.”While Joshi could not be reached, both Togadia and Zadaphia denied having any communication with Vaghela.Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor, too, were unavailable for comment.Meanwhile, it is learnt the state government is gathering intelligence inputs on Vaghela’s plans for the future. The state BJP is also pursuing MLAs from Vaghela’s faction to join the party before assembly polls.

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