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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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New Vijay Rupani cabinet: Mix of youth and experience

Vijay RupaniChief MinisterThe 61-year-old who began his second stint as Chief Minister on Tuesday, has had a meteoric rise in Gujarat’s politics. A man of the organisation throughout his political journey, he was nominated as CM after the abrupt resignation of Anandiben Patel in August 2016. There were question marks on his future, especially after BJP won just 99 seats, its lowest tally in the past seven elections, but the party has chosen to maintain a status quo.CABINET MINISTERSNitin PatelA six-term MLA, 61-year-old Patel is the senior-most in the ministry. He was widely seen as the chief ministerial nominee after Anandiben’s resignation, but BJP picked Rupani and appointed Patel as deputy CM.RC FalduFaldu, a former president of Gujarat BJP, was elected to the Assembly for the fourth time in 2017. Faldu was sidelined in the party from some time, but the influential, Patidar leader has made a strong comeback.Bhupendrasinh ChudasamaChudasama is among the senior-most ministers in the Vijay Rupani cabinet having served as one way back in 1990. The soft-speaking Kshatriya leader is in his fifth term in the Assembly.Kaushik PatelPatel had lost in 2007 and had not contested in 2012, which means he is back after 10 years. This is the 63-year-old’s fourth term as MLA. He had held revenue, energy, civil supplies, and other important ministries.Saurabh PatelPatel, who is in his fifth term as MLA, served as minister from 2002 to 2016, handling finance, energy, civil aviation, planning, tourism. He was one of the visible faces of the government during these years.Ganpat VasavaA four-term MLA, he has emerged as the tribal face of the BJP in south Gujarat. Back in 2011, Vasava was appointed as Speaker of the state Assembly, the first from the tribal community to occupy the chair. He was later appointed as a cabinet minister.Jayesh RadadiyaSon of influential Patidar leader Vitthal Radadiya, Jayesh has been elected to the Assembly for the second time in 2017. The 36-year-old is the youngest minister in the 20-member Vijay Rupani cabinet. He had served as minister of state.Dilipsinh ThakorThis is the 58-year-old’s fifth term in the Assembly. A prominent OBC face in north Gujarat, Thakor had served as minister in the first Modi government in 2001, and had remained till 2007. He was brought back in the cabinet by Anandiben Patel.Ishwar ParmarThe 46-year-old, who was elected to the Assembly for just the second time, is a surprise pick as cabinet minister. The loss of its prominent Dalit faces such as Ramanlal Vora and Atmaram Parmar left BJP with little choice but to promote Parmar.MINISTERS OF STATEPradipsinh JadejaJadeja was elected to the assembly from Vatva seat in the just concluded elections for his fourth term as MLA. He was serving as minister of state for home in the previous government, in addition to law, parliamentary affairs.Parbat PatelThe 5-term MLA from north Gujarat was elected to the assembly first time in 1985. The 69-year-old is a prominent Chaudhary leader, a community that is quite dominant in north Gujarat. He has served as minister of state for finance, water supply, health, transport.Parsottam SolankiThe powerful Koli leader has served in all governments since 1998, barring one. In spite of his poor health, and though he barely attends office, the 56-year-old has once again been included in the ministry, because of the influence he has in his community.Bachu KhabadThis is the 62-year-old’s third term as MLA. He first found a place in the ministry when Anandiben Patel became the chief minister in May 2014. He was made minister of state for fisheries, and forests & environment. He was retained in the ministry by Vijay Rupani.Jaydrathsinh ParmarHaving started as a sarpanch in the late 1980s, Parmar first became a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet in 2011. The four-term MLA was included in the cabinet again in 2013 and has been its part since. The 53-year-old is a qualified lawyer by profession.Ishwarsinh PatelThis is Patel’s fourth term as an MLA. He had first found a place in the ministry in 2011 when the cabinet was expanded. He was dropped from the ministry in 2012, but was inducted again when Rupani took over as CM.Vasan AhirAhir, who has been elected as MLA five times, is among the senior legislators in the cabinet. The 59-year-old had first served as minister of state since 2008 in the second Modi government.Vibhavari DaveThe three-term MLA is the only woman in the Cabinet. She had served as deputy mayor and mayor of Bhavnagar in the mid and late 1990s, and was first elected to the Assembly in 2007.Raman PatkarThis is the first time Patkar has found a place in the ministry. He is a five-term MLA, and was elected from the tribal reserved Umargam seat in Valsad in the latest polls.Kishor KananiThis is the maiden entry of Kanani, a two-term MLA, in the ministry. He had won from Varachha Road seat in Surat. In fact, he was the only Patidar MLA from Surat city who was repeated by BJP.

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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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Gujarat: BJP likely to pick CM on Friday; Cong begins analyses of results

The newly elected BJP MLAs of Gujarat are likely to meet in Gandhinagar on December 22 to elect their leader who would be the next chief minister of the key western state, party sources said today.Union minister Arun Jaitley and party general secretary Saroj Pandey, who have been appointed central observers for the election, will hold consultations with the MLAs before the new chief minister is announced. Though incumbent Vijay Rupani continues to be the favourite for the coveted job, there is speculation about his continuance given the BJP’s narrow victory in its bastion. The BJP has 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, seven more than the 92 required for forming government but its lowest in a long time. The Congress and its pre-poll allies have 80 seats, with the main opposition party having 77.BJP chief Amit Shah had said during the campaign that the elections would be fought under Rupani. Since Modi was the face of the BJP in the keenly fought electoral battle, a last minute change cannot be completely ruled out, sources said. Many in the party wonder if the top leadership would go for somebody from the Patidar community, as the party prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Though the Patidars have traditionally backed the BJP, a section led by young community leader Hardik Patel turned against the party over the quota issue.Also readGujarat elections 2017: BJP had more close victory calls in 2017 than in 2012The BJP leadership’s propensity for springing a surprise while making its choices for top positions, be it a chief minister or the president, has left many guessing if someone new will be chosen to helm the state. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and Manohar Lal Khattar and Trivendra Singh Rawat, his Haryana and Uttarakhand counterparts, were all surprise choices. So was President Ramnath Kovind. Even Rupani was seen as a surprise choice when the party decided to replace Anandiben Patel last year. While many thought Nitin Patel was an obvious replacement of Anandiben, he was eventually made the deputy chief minister. Rupani is known to be close to Amit Shah, has a clean image, and is seen as caste neutral, qualities which may finally tilt the scales in his favour.Congress begins stock-takingAlso readGujarat Election Results: Congress must concede defeat; voters gave a clear cut mandate to us, says BJP Two days after the Gujarat assembly poll results, the Congress today began an exercise to analyse the electoral outcome at a three-day conclave that will be attended by party president Rahul Gandhi on Friday. During the ‘chintan shivir’ (introspection camp), the Congress leaders and workers will analyse the election results district-wise and discuss the road-map ahead in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, state party president Bharatsinh Solanki said here.In the elections, the results for which were declared on Monday, the Congress could not wrest power from the BJP even though its tally increased to 77 seats from 61 last time. The Congress ally Bharatiya Tribal Party won two seats, and along with an independent backed by it winning his seat, the tally of the Congress-led alliance stood at 80, 12 short of the simple majority in the 182-memberassembly. The BJP retained power for the sixth time, though with a reduced score of 99 seats against 115 in 2012. The Congress performed well in rural areas of Gujarat but failed to make a significant mark in the urban pockets.The venue of the conclave today and tomorrow is a resort in Mehsana district and on the third and final day, the venue will shift to Ahmedabad where Gandhi will be present, Solanki said. Gandhi, who campaigned extensively in the state for the assembly elections, will address the Congress workers on Friday. “The Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee has organised the ‘chintan shivir’ with the aim of discussing the Assembly poll results and to provide a road-map to strengthen the organisation and increase its connect with the people, keeping in mind the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” Solanki told reporters.”For two days, we will meet here in Mehsana, and on third day, we will meet in Ahmedabad where Congress president Rahul Gandhi will visit to address party workers,” he said. Congress general secretary and election in-charge for Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot, expressed satisfaction over the party’s performance in the polls, while accusing the BJP of “misusing government machinery” and raising questions over the approach of the Election Commission. “Both in terms of seats and campaigning, the Congress performed wonderfully well. Although we could not form the government, a message has been sent across that the BJP can have a tough time fighting the Congress even in the home state of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and (BJP president) Amit Shah,” said Gehlot, who is also attending the camp.”The way the BJP campaigned involving cabinet ministers with the prime minister himself making emotional appeals, the way they misused government machinery for polls, and the manner the Election Commission took decisions, we believe we have done exceedingly well,” he said. Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, who lost from Mandvi in Kutch district, said the party could have formed government had it won 16 seats on which it got defeated by narrow margins.However, he took solace in the fact that the BJP was reduced to “double-digits” despite an aggressive campaigning. “At one point after forming the government in 1985, the Congress was reduced to a mere 32 seats. This time people have supported Congress in large numbers and we have increased our seat tally,” he said. “And after 1990, for the first time the BJP has been reduced to double-digits. We were defeated by small margins on as many as 16 seats. Had we won those seats, we could have formed the government,” Gohil said.

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Gujarat elections 2017 | PM Modi to speak to 5,500 block-level Mahila workers

To deepen the outreach of BJP among women, who are believed to be a caste neutral constituency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will directly speak to 5500 block-level workers of Gujarat BJP Mahila Morcha on Friday.The move comes at a time when caste is ringing louder in Assembly election campaign of Gujarat and BJP’s rival Congress has sewn up an umbrella alliance with various caste and tribe leaders from among the OBC, Dalit, tribal and assertive Patel community.In 2014 Lok Sabha polls as well, women are said to have played an important role in BJP’s stupendous victory and the party has never been shy of flaunting its work towards empowering the women.Ironically, both Congress and BJP have together fielded only 21 candidates in the Assembly polls of Guajrat this time, which, constitute of around percent of total votes.Of the 977 candidates contesting for the first phase of polls only 57 are women. BJP general secretary in-charge for Gujarat Bupendra Yadav said that Modi will interact with 5500 block level workers of BJP Mahila Morcha in the state between 4.30 to 5 PM after they complete download of NaMo App by 4.30 on December 1. “The Prime Minister will hold a direct dialogue with them,” Yadav said. A party source said that Modi could also some of the questions during what is supposed to be a live video call.The BJP has been highlighting its contributions like PM Modi naming Anandiben Patel, a woman as Chief Minister of Gujrat when he demitted office after 2014 Lok Sabha polls to become Prime Minister.Sumitra Mahajan becoming Lok Sabha Speaker and Modi government giving two top portolios in the South Bloc—External Affiars Ministry to Sushma Swaraj and Defence Ministry to Nirmala Sitharaman, both of whom are also now members of the coveted Cabinet Committee on Security, are also highlighted by the BJP leaders.The BJP has also sought to reach out to Muslim women with its repeated assertion of support to the abolition of the practice of triple talaq. The government has also announced to discuss the issue in upcoming Winter session.During the interaction with BJP Mahila workers, the Prime Minister is expected to do a pep talk and encourage them to reach out to women in larger numbers.This is the first time in last two decades that BJP is seeing a keen contest in Gujarat.BJP leaders during interactions in Gujarat have repeatedly highlighted the schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Common Service Centre involving 33,000 women, 50 percent reservation in panchayat and other such decisions as Modi government’s push towards ensuring gender justice and women empowerment.On October 14, Swaraj interacted with one lakh women from across Gujarat in a Mahila Town Hall programme in Ahmedabad, which was hosted by BJP Gujarat Mahila Morcha via video conferencing as well as in person. Gujarat Mahila Morcha has also held a large number conferences in the run up to Gujarat polls.When Rahul Gandhi in October kicked up a controversy with his “women in shorts” not seen in RSS remarks, BJP’s female ministers including Swaraj were in the fore front, dubbing Gandhi’s remarks as “insult” to women.At a rally in Ahmedabad on October 14, Swaraj had reminded Gandhi that BJP had given four women chief ministers and four women governors to the country and that there are six women who were cabinet ministers in the BJP-led government.Swaraj, Union Minister Uma Bharti, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, former Guajrat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and cine star turned Lok Sabha MP Hema Malini figure in the list of BJP star campaigners.Anandiben Patel, is, however, yet to campaign anywhere. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha MP Sushmita Dev, former Union Ministers Kumari Selja and Ambika Soni, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and film star turned politician Nagma figure in the list of star campaigners.
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Yogi Adityanath


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Gujarat elections 2017: Crowds, music make last day of filing nominations a colourful affair

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Collector’s office near RTO is a place buzzing with activity on any normal day. But the crowd increased manifold on Monday, the last day of filing nominations for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections as candidates and their supporters thronged the office with shouts and loud music. BJP workers, including women who accompanied Ellisbridge candidate Rakesh Shah, all donned a saffron ‘paghdi’. “We had called a special person at our office to help us tie the paghdi. All BJP workers will be wearing it today,” said Rajika Kacheria, one of the supporters who waited for Shah.Heavy police bandobast was made outside the office to help in crowd management. The cops restricted the number of people who could accompany a candidate to five although the rule often went for a toss when the candidate was from the ruling BJP. In fact, when Bhupendra Patel, the BJP’s candidate from Ghatlodia came to file his nomination accompanied by former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, the guards including BSF jawans struggled to prevent the supporters from entering the office.In fact, the arrival of Anandiben was accompanied by large scale bursting of crackers.Congress candidate from Jamalpur — Khadia Imran Khedawala and his supporters —had to wait for sometime after the officials informed them that another candidate was in the room filing his nomination. Khedawalam, in the meantime, posed for photographs with supporters. Many people who had work at the Collector’s office, also found it difficult to enter the premises on account of heavy police security.

In final list of 34, BJP drops 4 MLAs, repeats a dozen

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In its final list of 34 candidates announced on Monday morning, just hours before the deadline for filing of nominations expired, the ruling BJP repeated a dozen MLAs, while dropping four others, including a minister.According to the list, BJP’s sixth and final one, former minister Kaushik Patel will contest from Naranpura. The seat had fallen vacant recently after party president Amit Shah’s resignation following his election to Rajya Sabha.The BJP has nominated Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) chairman Bhupendra Patel as the candidate from Ghatlodia seat, which former CM Anandiben Patel had won with a record margin of 1.10 lakh votes in 2012. Anandiben is not contesting the elections. Patel is seen as her loyalist.Six sitting MLAs from Ahmedabad city also figure in the list. They are Kishor Chauhan from Vejalpur, Rakesh Shah (Ellisbridge), Jagrupsinh Rajput (Bapunagar), Hasmukh Patel (Amraiwadi), Suresh Patel (Maninagar) and Arvind Patel (Sabarmati).Earlier, the BJP renominated Pradipsinh Jadeja (Vatva), Bhushan Bhatt (Jamalpur Khadia) and Jagdish Panchal (Nikol) from their existing seats.Nagarji Thakor, MLA from Radhanpur, and Limkheda (ST) MLA Vichhiya Bhuriya, were the other two MLAs who missed out.Former home minister Rajni Patel, who was dropped from the ministry last year, is among the repeated MLAs. He will contest from Becharaji seat of Mehsana. Rushikesh Patel (Visnagar), Ashok Patel (Gandhinagar North), Shambhuji Thakor (Gandhinagar South), Madhubhai Shrivastav (Waghodia) and Jitu Sukhadiya (Sayajigunj) are some of the other MLAs who have been repeated.

Gujarat elections 2017: Tug of war between two BJP camps for 11 seats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Excitement over the names for the remaining 11 seats in Ahmedabad city remains at its peak as this will be a prestige issue for two big leaders in the BJP. National president Amit Shah’s camp and supporters of former CM Anandiben Patel have come in direct confrontation for these seats, where the party is yet to announce the names of candidates. Monday will be the last day for filing nominations and the party is likely to announce the names on Sunday.The tug of war will be more intense in Ghatlodia where Anandiben Patel is the sitting MLA, and Naranpur, from where Amit Shah resigned after being elected as a Rajya Sabha member. Adding to the list, aspirants are eagerly waiting for the names in Sabarmati, Ellisbridge, Maninagar, Bapunagar, Vejalpur, and Amraiwadi seats.A senior leader from BJP said, “Anandiben Patel has been making full efforts to have candidates from her camp for Ghatlodia, Sabarmati and Maninagar seat where Amit Shah camp is fully prepared to pose her a challenge. Amit Shah will have the upper hand in seats like Naranpura, Vejalpur, Bapunagar, Ellisbridge and Maninagar.”Where Anandiben loyalist Bhupendra Patel has been trying for a Ghatlodia seat, BJP high command can give him a shock by fielding a surprising name. Gujarat BJP Yuva Morcha president Dr Rutvij Patel or a big name from the party in state are also under consideration. Anandiben Patel’s daughter Anar Patel and son Shwetank Patel are eyeing the Sabarmati seat, but senior leader Narhari Amin or Amit Shah loyalist Harshad Patel alias Dadhi may become a challenge for them. Sitting MLA Arvind Patel’s name is not under consideration at all.Amit Shah could chose Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank chairman Ajay Patel or Ahmedabad mayor Gautam Shah as his successor for the Naranpura seat, but Ajay Patel has the upper hand here. Vejalpur seat, where the OBC community dominates, could see the change as Kishorsinh Chauhan failed to gain popularity in last five years. BJP could give a ticket to a young BJP leader from the OBC community who is in the realty business. Another name for this seat is Amit Shah’s close confidante Hitesh Barot.Ellisbridge has a flip flop condition as Anandiben wishes sitting MLA Rakesh Shah to be repeated but the party could give a ticket to a daughter of a senior RSS leader. Maninagar seat, from where Narendra Modi contested polls thrice in 2002, 2007 and 2012, also will have BJP’s young face as a candidate and possibly a woman, while sitting MLA Suresh Patel may not be repeated. The names leading the race are Mona Raval and Nisha Jha. Amraiwadi seat also can go to OBC leader of BJP and sitting MLA Hasmukh Patel may be dropped.The non-Gujarati speaking community has been demanding representation from Bapunagar seat but former Home Minister Gordhan Zadafia may contest from the BJP banner again from this seat after he parted ways with the party in 2007 and returned in 2014. Former revenue minister Kaushik Patel may be given a ticket from Dariapur-Shahpur seat, from which he had been elected in 1995, 1998 and 2002, but lost in 2007 against the Congress MLA. Kaushik has been trying for Ghatlodia constituency too, as caste equations in Dariapur-Shahpur constituency changed after delimitation in 2009 and Muslim community dominates here. Former MLA Bharat Barot also is another name for this seat.The Scheduled Caste reserved seats Asarva and Danilimda would see the change and the party may give tickets to a young woman leader and former deputy mayor of city Darshna Vaghela from Asarva seat and sitting MLA and retired bureaucrat in Gujarat government RM Patel may be dropped while former MLA from Shaherkotda constituency Jitu Vaghela can be fielded from Danilimda constituency.

Gujarat elections 2017: BJP likely to announce fourth list of candidates today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP is likely to release its fourth list of the candidates for the second phase in Gujarat polls on Friday. The party may announce all 93 names on the list. However, the excitement prevails over the names of Ghatlodia and Naranpura constituencies. BJP leader Amit Shah was elected from Naranpura while former CM Anandiben Patel is the sitting MLA over Ghatlodia constituency. The rivalry between Shah and Patel camp would come on upper layer for these two seats and other constituencies.Both the leaders have their following in Ahmedabad city and North Gujarat region as well. A senior leader of party said on condition of anonymity, “We have got the sense that some big name would be landed on Ghatlodia, now it is interesting to know that the candidate comes from which camp. It is heard that someone who is minister or on the important position in organisation would be candidate from Ghatlodia. Anandiben and Amit Bhai, both are trying to have own man on this constituency.””Naranpura is the fort of Amit Shah and, until today, Ajay Patel or Gautam Shah could be given ticket because of the proximity with Shah. There are chances that OBC candidates may get more tickets in Ahmedabad city on this list. Apart from Vejalpur, Amraiwadi constituency also can have OBC candidate,” he said. On the other side, former home minister Gordhan Zadafia may get a ticket from Bapunagar constituency from where he was contesting polls before defecting from BJP. Minister of state for transport Vallabh Kakadia is likely to be repeated from Thakkarbapanagar. A young Patel face can get a ticket in Maninagar seat while there is a suspense over Ellisbridge constituency, as there is a chance that sitting MLA Rakesh Shah may not be repeated and daughter of some RSS leader may get the launching pad for the political career in this constituency.Danilimda and Asarva seats, which are reserved for SC candidates, will see the replacement as party can avoid giving tickets again to sitting MLA from Asarva RM Patel and the losing candidate Girish Parmar from Danilimda seat. Young faces of party from Dalit community will get ticket here, said the party leader.Sabarmati also becomes interesting seat as Shah and Patel camp would again come in front of each other here. Anandiben Patel’s daughter Anar Patel’s name was the talk of the town for this seat but Shah’s close confident Harshad Patel alias Dadhi also has claimed for the same seat.”Looking at the great impact of Patel agitation and dominance of Patel community in North Gujarat, party will change many faces here. For Thakor community dominated seats, party is thinking to field young faces to give a tough fight to community leader Alpesh Thakor who joined hands with Congress and going to contest polls from any of the seats in this region,” the BJP leader further added.WHAT’S THE POLL-ITICAL AGENDAEx-minister Gordhan Zadafia may get a ticket from Bapunagar from where he was contesting polls before defecting from BJP. MoS Vallabh Kakadia may be repeated from Thakkarbapanagar.
A young Patel face can get a ticket in Maninagar seat while there is a suspense over Ellisbridge constituency, as there is a chance that sitting MLA Rakesh Shah may not be repeated.

Gujarat Election 2017: Much at stake in Gujarat poll battle; result will set tone for crucial states’ polls next year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the next month or so, all eyes will be on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat, where both the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress face their biggest test in the mother of all battles. The election result will have repercussions far beyond the borders of the prosperous western state. It’s a battle of prestige for the BJP that has ruled Gujarat for the past 22 years. For the Congress, which has faced defeat in poll after poll in the state since 1995, a strong performance could set the tone for crucial state polls next year and, ultimately, for the 2019 general elections.Emboldened by a string of state victories and Modi’s soaring popularity, the BJP has set an ambitious target to win more than 150 seats out of the total 182. Most watchers say the party will retain power in its citadel on December 18 when votes are counted. But this may not be easy. It’s not just anti-incumbency that the party is battling. Gujarat is where Modi honed his skills as a politician and administrator. He first came to power in Gujarat in 2001, and swept elections in 2002, 2007 and 2012. He inspired euphoric support for Gujarat’s high growth and his own personality. He still does. But his rise to the country’s top job in 2014 has also meant his absence from Gujarat’s politics.Banking on ModiModi was succeeded by Anandiben Patel when he became Prime Minister. Vijay Rupani took over as Chief Minister after Anandiben’s abrupt resignation in August last year. The BJP, however, believes he is more than just making up for the loss by making multiple trips to the state, announcing and inaugurating public projects, and launching scathing attacks on the Congress. The BJP will unleash Modi’s 30-odd rallies in the state that will see two-phase polling on December 9 and 14.Another worry for the BJP is unrest in various communities. Patidars have been the BJP’s strongest supporter over the decades. They have been vociferously pressing for reservation in education and government jobs. Many feel the BJP government has been unjust in denying them quota benefits. Sections of Dalits are also disenchanted. The Karadiya Rajputs are unhappy, too. In 2007 and 2012, the Congress did not have a strong state leader to take on Modi. It still does not have one. But the troika of caste leaders — Hardik Patel (Patidar), Alpesh Thakore (OBC Kshatriya) and Jignesh Mevani (Dalit) — is a cause for concern for the BJP.The challengesThe BJP has called more than 200 backward caste and Dalit leaders from across states to boost its campaign. They have been asked to fan out to their respective communities and explain how Hardik, Alpesh and Jignesh are diametrically opposite to each other in terms of their castes but have come to the Congress fold for personal gains. “The public now understands how the limit of reservation cannot be increased and how the provision of 10 per cent reservation for EBCs (economically backward communities) was stopped by Congress,” said BJP Gujarat spokesperson Bharat Pandya.Demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), dubbed by the Modi government as accomplishments, has been dismissed by the Opposition as twin blows on the economy. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who has spent over 15 days in Gujarat in the past two months, has launched blistering attacks on Modi on both issues, putting the ruling party on the defensive, and forcing the Central government to lowering GST rates on various goods.Moody’s Investors Service upgraded India’s rating for the first time in 13 years on Friday, saying the country was poised for rapid growth, thanks to wide-ranging economic reforms by the Modi government. It came weeks after the World Bank moved India up 30 places in its annual ease of doing business rankings. The endorsements might have come too late for the Opposition’s campaign to be substantially dented, but the BJP will try to change the narrative.The BJP is also raking up the issue of differences between Congress leaders. BJP chief Amit Shah has been asking the Opposition party to name its CM candidate. Gujarat Congress leaders, however, say it is a diversionary tactic. “BJP has been in power in Gujarat for 22 years, but it still blames Congress governments of the past for the state’s problems. BJP continues to play victim because it has failed to deliver, and has nothing to show,” Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said. He also said that while Rahul criticised the BJP over issues such as demonetisation, GST, farmers’ problems and rising unemployment, the ruling party has responded by targeting his temple visits. Chief Minister Rupani clarified that the BJP has no problems with anyone visiting temples, but “the visits should not be just before the elections”. A rejuvenated Congress, however, sounds confident. “In the past many elections, a divided Congress made the BJP’s task easier, but our leaders are working together, and we have a good chance this time around,” said a party insider.Poll war on social mediaReflecting the significance social media has come to play in our daily lives, the Gujarat poll battle is being fought as much in the virtual world as on the ground. Both parties have already launched several social media campaigns to impress voters. The Opposition took the first strike at the BJP with the Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe (Development has gone crazy) campaign, which caught the imagination of many and inspired several memes and spoofs. Unfazed, the ruling party responded with the Hu Chhu Vikas, Hu Chhu Gujarat (I am development, I am Gujarat) campaign, reiterating that it would contest the polls on issue of development.When the BJP hit back with the Pappuone Pachtu Nathi (Pappus cannot digest this) campaign, taking a direct dig at Rahul, the Congress responded with the Gabbar Singh No Traas Chhe (There is Gabbar Singh’s terror) series, incidentally taking a cue from Gandhi’s description of GST as Gabbar Singh Tax. “Social media is all good. But our real strength is our network of vistaraks who will win each of the 50,000 booths in the state. This battle will have a strong bearing on Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where elections will be held before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections that we’re going to win,” said a BJP strategist in Delhi.

Has the Patidar vote-bank slipped out of Hardik Patel’s hands?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A tour through Patidar dominated the landscape of Saurashtra, rural as well as urban, suggests that Hardik Patel seems to have lost the confidence of the community.Interestingly, the narrative on the ground seems to be that Patidars, especially the older generation, always saw Hardik as a new face of the Patels within the BJP and not outside and that the support he enjoyed was for the limited goal of wringing out concessions from the government. When it comes to the larger politics of the state with Congress as the option to BJP, Hardik’s politics has gone haywire.”People throng to his rallies and sabhas because we feel that he is a Patel kid who is fighting for our future. We thought we have found a new face or leader who will capture the BJP for us. But now that he is hobnobbing with the Congress, which is not done. Our political affiliation is clear,” said Nareshbhai Patel from Patidar dominated Virpur village on the border of Rajkot and Junagadh districts.Dillidallying, Hardik has yet not been able to finalise his alliance with Congress. “This shows that he is rudderless. A problem is that he is not the age to contest elections and perhaps doesn’t know what to do with the following he had. Today he is here, and tomorrow he is there. So, how can we trust him?” said Paresh H Patel of Dhoraji, another Patidar stronghold.Moreover, the younger generation sees Hardik’s dilly-dallying in choosing sides as either his rudderlessness or as a sign of being in cahoots with Congress since the beginning of the Patidar unrest for “personal gains”. People of this community feel that he is trying to trade his influence with the community to mint money and a career for himself rather than a selfless effort for them. “He has exposed himself by allying with Congress. He is right to ask for our demands but allying with Congress is not done. He is making money for himself. He is trading us and the future of our children to make his own,” Pareshbhai added.Even the Patidar community of Visavadar, the constituency from where Keshubhai Patel led his war against Narendra Modi and one of the two seats that once powerful Patidar leader managed to win after breaking away from BJP, is not rallied around Hardik as one would have expected.”It is all about money. He will make loads of money in this election from the Congress and then no one will hear of him. He is not a politician. We support him for fighting for our demands, but if he were to contest we would not even vote for him. Who is he to dictate our vote? Is he a bigger leader than Keshubhai? See what happened to Keshubhai,” Vipulbhai Patel of Visavadar told DNA.The caste divide between Kadva and Leuva Patels too seems to be playing in the Hardik conundrum. While Hardik is a Kadva Patel, Leuva Patels are more in number in the Saurashtra region and they are miffed at Hardik for having caused the downfall of former CM Anandiben Patel who had to step down due to the Patidar unrest. Anandiben happens to be a Leuva Patel. “I don’t know how many Kadva Patels are in his support but Leuva community will never forget that it was due to him that Anandiben, first woman CM of Gujarat and a pride of our community was sabotaged by him and his intransigent attitude,” said Vijay Manubhai from Upleta. Meanwhile, the attitude of the trading community and that of manufacturers, who also happen mainly to be Patels given the socio-economic structure of the state, too can be gagged by the above observations.While Patel businessmen are openly criticising Modi, demonetisation and GST, they either feel there is no other option or they are hopeful that Modi will make policy adjustments to alleviate their troubles.”The small-scale manufacturing units have been hit by demo and we still don’t know how to file GST. It is frustrating as there have been job cuts for we had to let many employees go due to a slump in business. But, we think Modi will make up for it and make amendments. These moves were good, but the implementation needs to be finetuned,” said Paras Kasundra Patil, who makes hydraulic machines for farm sector in his unit based in the Atlas industrial estate in Rajkot.”Congress must not come as it will ruin the country. BJP must come but with depleted seats so that they get a lesson too,” he added. On the other hand, Veenubhai Patel, who runs a boring unit in the Samrat Industrial Complex on the outskirts of Rajkot, feels that while demo hurt for a short period, GST has helped his business. “Those who were manufacturing and trading off the books and illegally have been hurt. That has been good for my business as a genuine businessman.”

BJP, Congress’s war of words over Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A war of words erupted between the BJP and Congress over Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s legacy on the occasion of his birth anniversary on Tuesday.In Gandhinagar, chief minister Vijay Rupani said that the country’s situation would have been different had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel become the prime minister.“Sardar Patel tried to take the country in the right direction, but the Congress meted out injustice to him. It is unfortunate that politics is being played in Sardar Patel’s name,” Rupani said after offering floral tributes to Sardar Patel.In Ahmedabad, former chief minister Anandiben Patel said that Sardar Patel did not get his due because of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Senior Congress MLA Shaktisinh Gohil said, “Some dwarfs are using the Iron Man of India’s name for political gains. If Sardar Saheb had been meted out injustice, as the BJP leaders claim, he would have not shied away from taking on the Congress.”

Does anyone see women in the men’s hockey team? RSS hits out at Rahul Gandhi’s ‘shorts’ comment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The RSS today hit out at Rahul Gandhi for his remarks that he had not seen any woman attending Sangh ‘shakhas’ in “shorts” and said the Congress vice president “only reads out” speeches written by the people who have no understanding of the Sangh.The RSS said Gandhi’s remark is akin to asking whether any woman is in a men’s hockey team.”He (Gandhi) was reading out a speech written by the people who don’t know anything about the RSS,” its spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya said while talking to reporters here when asked to comment on Gandhi’s remark. Gandhi, while addressing a gathering of students in Vadodara in Gujarat yesterday, had alleged that the RSS discriminates against women.”How many women are there in the RSS?… Have you ever seen any woman in ‘shakhas’ wearing shorts? I have never seen,” the Congress leader had said yesterday in a sarcastic tone. Hitting out at Gandhi, Vaidya said, “Does anyone see women in the men’s hockey team? Sangh’s ‘shakhas’ comprise men and not women.”
ALSO READ Do you only check out what women wear? Anandiben Patel demands apology from Rahul Gandhi RSS has a separate wing for women called ‘Rashtra Sevika Samiti’. Vaidya also criticised the Congress, saying it is losing ground. “The RSS works for the upliftment of the people and it is growing day-by-day, while the Congress is losing its ground. The Congress should work towards strengthening itself instead of looking at the RSS,” he added. “We are not a political party…Fight with your rival, the BJP,” the RSS spokesperson told the Congress.

WATCH: Rahul Gandhi does the Timli dance in Gujarat’s Chhota Udaipur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a break from his speeches, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was caught on camera participating in a ‘Timli’ dance in Gujarat’s chotta Udaipur.Gandhi was seen shaking a leg with the locals, as he let his hair down and enjoyed himself during his campaign in the state ahead of the assembly elections.’Timli’ dance is popular amongst the adivasis in Gujarat.The Congress leader began his second day of ‘Navsarjan Yatra’ in central Gujarat region on Monday.In the first leg of the ‘Navsarjan Yatra’ in September, Gandhi had travelled in the Saurashtra.Earlier in the day, Gandhi had landed in the middle of a controversy in Vadodara, while commenting on the RSS. “The BJP’s thinking is that till women are silent they are good, when they start speaking up they try to shut them (women) up. In the Congress you will see women at every level in the organisation,” he said. Later he pointed out that no women can be seen in RSS. “Their organisation is the RSS. How many women are there in the RSS… Have you ever seen any woman in shakhas wearing shorts?” he said mocking the traditional dress of the organisation.Reacting to Rahul’s allegations, former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben said that he is misinformed. She said that there are separate sakhas for women and they are extemely active in those.

Gujarat Elections 2017: Anandiben Patel writes to Amit Shah, says unwilling to contest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel has said she does not want to contest the upcoming state Assembly polls and that she has informed BJP president Amit Shah about her decision in a letter.The letter was written on October 4, but released today.Patel’s letter to Shah comes at a time when the BJP is in the process of forming three-member panels for each of the Assembly constituencies in the state to select the party candidates for the Assembly polls due later this year.Some party workers have reportedly suggested that Patel (75), a sitting BJP MLA, be fielded from her current constituency, Ghatlodiya in Ahmedabad district. There has been a demand from a section of the BJP to declare the veteran politician as the party’s chief ministerial face in Gujarat, which is witnessing a quota agitation by the Patel community.A tweet by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, asking the party to make Patel the chief ministerial face in Gujarat had led to speculation about the former chief minister once again vying for the top post. Patel, however, cited her age as the reason for not contesting the polls. “When I had resigned as the chief minister of Gujarat, I had done it in accordance with the party rule that nobody beyond the age of 75 should hold (any) post. Today also, under the same rule, I would like to say that I do not want to contest the upcoming Assembly polls,” she wrote to Shah.Patel also told the party chief that she was ready to perform whatever duty the party gave her as regards the upcoming election.In the letter, she expressed gratitude to the party for making her the first woman chief minister of Gujarat. Patel, who is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was made the chief minister of Gujarat after the latter shifted to New Delhi in May, 2014.However, her handling of the Patidar quota agitation and the episode of Dalit atrocities in Una did not go down well with the top BJP leadership. Patel resigned from her post in August, 2016 and was replaced by Vijay Rupani. When contacted, state BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said it was for the party leadership to take a decision on Patel’s request.

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.

Guj forms body for general communities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With elections likely to be announced very soon, the Gujarat government is leaving no stone unturned to woo all segments. On Tuesday, the state government announced formation of a commission for non reserved category communities that inudes 58 communities in state. Besides the commission, a Corporation for Educational and Economic Welfare of Non-reserved Communities is also formed by the government.State home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja said that formation of the commission will benefit about 58 communities, which do not get benefits of reservation.The commission will frame policies for welfare of the communities while the corporation will execute those policies. The commission will conduct surveys of the economic and social status of non-reserved communities and will accordingly recommend policies to the state.The state has earmarked Rs 100 crore as the corporation’s share capital, and also allocated a further Rs 500 crore to it, to be used for disbursal of loans to beneficiaries. The corporation will give loans to beneficiaries under this commission, for purposes like study, business, farming, cattle rearing and other professional activities.”The decision to set up the corporation was taken by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in the last cabinet meeting, which took place after the government’s meeting with leaders of Patel community,” said Jadeja.The corporation will become operational soon. It will conduct surveys on economic and social status of non-reserved communities and will accordingly made policy recommendations to the state government.Beneficiaries will get loans for purposes such as education, business, farming, cattle rearing, among others from the corporation.The corporation will be headed by non-politicians, and will also include a member secretary, joint secretary and four other members.Not enough, says HardikDespite the announcement, PAAS leader Hardik Patel said his agitation would continue. “This is not enough for the welfare of non-reserved communities. Earlier, Anandiben Patel had announced Mukhyamantri Yuva Swavlamban Yojana for upper castes which had a budget of Rs 1,100 crore in the first year. This is a lollipop by the Gujarat government. Our fight will carry on.”

Amit Shah quits Assembly, sees Guj polls in December

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after winning the Rajya Sabha election, BJP national president Amit Shah on Wednesday resigned as MLA, but not before attending the last sitting of the current term of the Gujarat Assembly. Shah will now head to the Upper House of Parliament.In his parting note to the house, after tendering his resignation to speaker Ramanlal Vora, Shah said, “I was elected as MLA for the first time in 1997 from the Sarkhej constituency. Over these 20 years, I have witnessed the golden period of Gujarat. Gujarat became a model state, and the state prospered and progressed at jet speed under the leaderships of CMs like Keshubhai Patel, Narendra Modi, Anandiben and Vijay Rupani. I’m proud that I got an opportunity to be contribute my bit for the progress of Gujarat.”Shah lambasted the opposition Congress. Citing the Narmada irrigation scheme as an example, he alleged that Congress, when it was in power at the Centre and in state, did not let Gujarat and Gujaratis prosper.“While the Congress always created hindrances in the Narmada irrigation scheme and dam construction, the BJP-led state government worked for this ambitious project wholeheartedly,” Shah said.In the evening, Shah and Smriti Irani were felicitated at the party headquarters Shri Kamalam near here, for their RS election victory. Shah asked all the BJP workers and leaders to promise they will work hard to win the party more than 150 seats in the Assembly polls in December.

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.

DNA EXCLUSIVE: With Modi as PM, our seats will increase in Gujarat, says Vijay Rupani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has said that the BJP will fight the state Assembly elections later this year with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its star.”Modiji will be crucial. As chief minister, he was popular among the people here. Now, when he is Prime Minister, our seats will increase. We will keep alive the faith that he has entrusted in the people and face the elections. Modiji will be the centre point,” he told DNA in an exclusive interview.The BJP has recently fought and won a string of elections, including the one in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, with Modi as its face. In Gujarat, Modi won three consecutive elections, but this will be the first in around 15 years when he is not at the helm in the state.Asked if he took any advice from Modi, Rupani, who took over as CM in August last year after Anandiben Patel stepped down, said, “Why not? We do. His has been a great leadership. He worked here for several years. He has experience. We take advice from Amit Bhai (BJP president Amit Shah) also. We take advice from both.””After I took over as chief minister, Modi has made eight to nine visits to Gujarat. When we meet, he gives his marg darshan (guidance),” said the CM.Affable and astute, Rupani described Modi as his mentor and said his government has taken inspiration from the PM on four principles — being transparent, decisive, progressive and sensitive.He dodged a question on whether he would be the face of the BJP in Gujarat, saying the elections will be under Modi’s leadership. “Whatever the party decides. We all work for the party,” he said.Unruffled by the Patel agitation, Dalit activists or the Opposition’s demand for a loan waiver for farmers, Rupani is confident that the BJP is going to fulfil its mission of winning 150 of the 182 seats in the state.Rupani was, however, non-committal on whether his government would go in for a farm loan waiver, on the lines of BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.”We will do whatever is necessary to help farmers… We believe that if the farmer is happy, the village is happy, and if the village is happy, the towns and cities are happy. It’s our commitment that farmers should get the minimum support price.”Rupani, a Jain, is seen to have an advantage in a politically-charged atmosphere. “I don’t believe that the Patel (quota) agitation will impact us,” he said.A grassroots socio-political worker, he justifies his government’s decision to make cow slaughter punishable by life imprisonment. “Prohibition and ban on cow slaughter are sensitive issues amongst us Gujaratis. These are also necessary for development. Liquor destroys the new generation and I have tightened laws. Same way, cow slaughter impacts the rural economy,” he said.

With Modi in Delhi, BJP banks on Shah’s booth mantra in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As it prepares to face assembly elections in Gujarat without Narendra Modi at the helm, the BJP is launching an aggressive booth-level outreach from this month end. As part of this strategy, a party worker will be assigned to each of the 48,000 booths in the state for nine days.The party workers, who will be from the state, will stay at the booth from May 28 to June 5, BJP sources said. BJP president Amit Shah, who was a minister in the Modi government in Gujarat, will himself be spending three days at the booth during this period.This will be the first elections in the state since 2001 when Modi is not the chief minister. After winning his third consecutive term in 2012, Modi had moved to the Capital in 2014 as Prime Minister.The workers have been asked to visit sections of key voters in the booth, conducting workshops, initiating a cleanliness drive and adding to the membership of the party.Earlier this month, Shah had held a series of meetings with Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who had taken over last month after Anandiben Patel stepped down. The BJP, which has retained power in the state since 1998, has targeted 150 of the 182 seats in the state. While Shah is also busy drafting a strategy for the party to make inroads into areas where the party has so far failed to capture political space, he is leaving no stone unturned in his home state to ensure that the BJP retains its winning spree.Recently, BJP General Secretary Bhupendra Yadav was given charge of the state, where elections are scheduled later this year.

You won’t believe who Subramanian Swamy is backing for President!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP leader Subramanian Swamy today pitched for former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel as the party’s candidate for the election to the President’s post. Swamy’s tweet proposing Anandiben as the party’s candidate for the presidential election has created a flutter in the state unit of the BJP.”One of the best candidate for the President is former Gujarat CM Anandibehn Patel. So what, if she is a Gujarati? I am too a Gujarat’s son-in-law,” Swamy tweeted today.Speculations are on as to who the BJP will select as its presidential candidate, the elections for which are likely to be held before July end.Swamy’s tweet at such a time has created a flutter in the state unit of the BJP with the party workers left discussing if Patel would be in the race for the post of President. Nobody from the party, however, was willing to comment on the issue.When contacted, Patel herself refused to give her view on the tweet.Union minister Mansukh Mandavia, who was in Gandhinagar, too refused to comment on the tweet saying he has not seen it.Patel became the Gujarat chief minister in May 2014 after Narendra Modi quit the state’s chief ministership for over 13 years to be sworn as the country’s prime minister. Patel quit as the chief minister in August 2016.

Surat MLA Narottam Patel not to contest assembly polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Citing the BJP’s unwritten age norms, the party’s sitting MLA from Surat, Narottam Patel, today said he would not contest the upcoming assembly polls to make way for the younger people. 81-year-old Patel, who represents Udhana seat of Surat, made the announcement during the ongoing state executive meet at the temple town of Somnath in Gir-Somnath district. While talking to reporters after the meet, Patel, who won the assembly polls for five consecutive terms, said he would not contest the polls to be held later this year, despite being a strong candidate. “The party does not have any rule (about the age bar). It is just a recommendation, so that the younger generation gets a chance. Thus, I have conveyed to the party that I will not contest the upcoming Assembly polls,” said the former minister in Gujarat government. “I am offering to quit voluntarily. Even though I am a strong candidate, I will not contest the polls. However, this does not mean that I will harm my party during the polls,” Patel added. The unwritten convention in the party, set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, has been that those attaining the age of 75 have to quit the post. Earlier, last year, Anandiben Patel stepped down as the Gujarat chief minister citing the same convention.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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