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Who spoiled the party? Cong initiates inquiry

With the election dust settling down, the Congress, which lost to the BJP in a close contest, has started initiating action against those who indulged in anti-party activities in the run up to the polls, and may have sabotaged the party’s prospects.In a letter to all 176 Congress candidates, who contested in the state assembly elections, and the party’s city and district chiefs, state party president Bharatsinh Solanki demanded that all such activities that may have come to their notice and had hurt the party in the elections be brought to his attention.”You are requested to send across the details by January 2,” Solanki directed the party leaders in the letter dated December 25.Action would be initiated against leaders and workers who had indulged in anti-party work during the polls, based on the feedback, Congress officials said.The letters were sent a couple of days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi had publicly stated in Ahmedabad during his visit last week that 90 per cent of leaders and workers had worked for the party in the elections, and action would be taken against the 10 per cent who had not.The Congress lost a number of seats which it was expected to win. In fact, its four top leaders, viz. Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia, Siddharth Patel and Tushar Chaudhary, ended up on the losing side, with many blaming internal differences as one of the reasons for the loss.The 2017 Gujarat assembly elections were the closest the state has seen in well over two decades. The BJP won the sixth straight election in the state, but with a tally of just 99 seats, its lowest in six polls, while Congress won 77 seats. However, the elections were far closer than the numbers suggest, with as many as 27 seats being decided with a victory margin of less than 3,000 votes.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Cong will win more than 120 seats: Bharatsinh Solanki

Voting for the state Assembly is now done with and with the results due on December 18, exit polls are predicting a BJP victory in Gujarat. But the Congress is confident of a victory and are questioning the exit polls. President of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Bharatsinh Solanki briefed the media on Friday and said that the Congress will gain more than 120 seats.At GPCC, there was a marathon meeting of Congress members. Candidates and in-charge of the party at district levels participated in the meeting to know where congress party stands after two phases of polls.”Let the exit polls says what they wants to predicts. People have seen the real result in Bihar and Delhi after exit poll predictions. Congress is winning and we are getting more than 120 seats,” said Bharatsinh Solanki, GPCC president.Congress members and participants in the meeting were briefed out what should be taken care during the counting day. Counting will take place on December 18. Solanki said that if they will not be satisfied with the result, they will ask to count the votes based on VVPAT.”We have discussed about two phase of polling state, we take a stoke of where the Congress stands. There is a fear that at many places people EVMs were connected with Bluetooth,” said Solanki.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Congress releases manifesto five days ahead of polls

Abolition of contract system and fixed wages, pension for Dalit artists
Strict implementation of Reservation Policy, backlog to be filled
SIT for all Atrocity cases, stringent implemenation of Atrocity Act
Allocation of unutilised land to landless SC families

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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>Gujarat Elections 2017 | Congress releases manifesto five days ahead of polls Bharatsinh Solanki
Bharatsinh Solanki at the press meet – Hanif Sindhi, DNA<!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Right_300x250_ATF –><!–bnr300–>Share

<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 5 December 2017 6:55 ISTMust readCyclone Ockhi: Schools to remain closed on Tuesday, Mumbai University and all its affiliated colleges to remain open Don’t know anyone by name of Shehzad Poonawalla: Tehseen disowns his own brother<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Congress, out of power for 22 years, made a string of announcements in its election manifesto to woo youths, women, farmers and other sections of the society, on Monday. The party said that the manifesto, which was in the making for last seven months, represents popular demands of various sections. Here are a few highlights about what the manifesto contains:FarmersRemunerative MSP pricing Loan waiver 16-hour electricity during daytime Free water for irrigation, effective crop insurance YouthsRs32,000 crore finance for self employment schemes Unemployment allowance of up to Rs4,000 a month 200 sq mt plots with 0% down-payment and 5 years moratorium in GDIC for self employed Withdrawal of contractual, outsourcing and fixed salary structure, and filling of vacancies in govt WomenHouse for every woman from all communities One stop crisis centre in each district, 24-hour toll-free helpline 100% free education for girls from primary to higher education Loans to start small businesses StudentsScholarship for students from poor and middle class families for affordable and quality education Self-financed courses in govt/aided institutions to be converted into grant in-aid courses reducing fee burden by 80% All self-financed colleges / schools to be brought under Fee Regulation Act to make them affordable Free laptops / smartphones for high school / college students InflationPetrol, diesel prices to be brought down by up to Rs10 per litre by reducing taxes 50% reduction in property tax for small shopkeepers, service units in urban areas Up to 50% reduction in electricity rates Tariff of Rs2 per unit for households consuming up to 200 units of power in a month Women EmpowermentFree education from pre-primary to higher education, free bicycles Laptop/smartphone for those who get admission in higher education Increase in health budget, 24×7 PHC for pregnant women Housing for rural, landless women, hostels for working women Fast Track courts for serious offences, special women police officers Industry, Infra, FisheriesIndustries Policy in four months, Special ministry for trade Review of FDI to protect interest of small traders, Real Estate Promotion Plan, uninterrupted electricity Special plans for textile, IT, food sector, fisheries Electricity and ConsumerElectricity rates to be reduced upto 50%, tax cut for small industries, unorganised sector Fixed Rs 2 per unit upto 200 units for households Monthly bills to reduce bill amount in rural areas Minorities, Social WelfareFormation of Minorities Commission, implement Sachar Committee recommendations Schools upto Secondary level to be set up in Urdu, Marathi, Sindhi, Telugu medium Restart scholarships for minorities and EBCs Measures to stop communal fights GSTSimplify GST, reduce tax rates, job work to be exempted raise exemption limit to Rs 1.5 crore of annual turnover Peak rate to be capped at 18% Petrol, Diesel to be included Financial ManagementPetrol, Diesel prices to be reduced by reducing state taxes, as it contributes to inflation Workers with monthly income upto Rs 15,000 to be exempted from professional tax Commission to be formed to provide inputs for businesses at internationally competitive rates Correct development imbalance between agriculture, industry, services EBCBill to be introduced to provide reservation to EBC (Patidaar effect) Unprivileged sections to get benefit equivalent to OBCs Formation of EBC Commission for the deprived in upper castes Identify communities to be included in special category Citizen servicesMaking public transport cheaper, citizen friendly, reduce travel time Public bus stations for private operators as well Make PDS effective, Indira canteens with food for all at Rs 10 Plantation drive, community halls, foot overbridges Housing25 lakh houses in five years in urban, rural areas Rehabilitation of slums, subsidy based on income levels Land Reform Commission, land policy in six months Married son a separate family, special accommodation for widow Agri, Rural DevelopmentDebt write off for farmers, Talati to be delinked from Sarpanch meetings Advance MSP announcement, bonus for important food crops Narmada canal network to be completed, 16 hours of electricity supply Crop Insurance to be handled by govt agencies SC, STAbolition of contract system and fixed wages, pension for Dalit artists Strict implementation of Reservation Policy, backlog to be filled SIT for all Atrocity cases, stringent implemenation of Atrocity Act Allocation of unutilised land to landless SC families
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Gujarat elections 2017 | House for women, cheaper power: Cong’s manifesto

Reservation in jobs and higher education to economically backward classes, loan waiver for farmers, unemployment allowance of up to Rs 4,000, house for every woman, construction of 25 lakh homes for the poor, free laptops / smartphones for students, a Happiness Index, and lowering of electricity tariff by 50% are some of the promises the Congress has made in its manifesto for the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections.Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki, Gujarat Congress in-charge Ashok Gehlot, and other leaders released the manifesto on Monday evening, barely five days before the first phase of elections. Incidentally, the ruling BJP is yet to announce its manifesto. “Gujarat is in distress today due to 22 years’ misrule of the BJP. Many communities are unhappy with the government. There are no jobs. Farmers are not getting the right prices. Education has become expensive and out of reach of the middle class. Our manifesto shows how we will set these wrongs right when we come to power,” Solanki said after releasing the manifesto.For farmers, the manifesto promises loan waivers, 16-hour electricity, remunerative MSPs, etc. The Congress has attempted to reach out to the youth with a promise to provide Rs32,000 crore financing for self employment schemes, unemployment allowance of up to Rs4,000 a month, and ending the system of filling government posts through contractual and fixed pay system. “We will provide a house for every woman irrespective of the community she belongs. Girls will be provided free education right from primary school to higher education. Women will be given loans to start small businesses,” he said.Banking on support of Patidar community in the polls, Congress promised reservation for Economically Backward Classes in its manifesto. It said that it will introduce a bill to provide reservation to communities, such as Patidars, who do not get the benefits at present. This would be done without making any change in the 49% reservation for OBCs, SCs and STs, it said.Citing high cost of education, the Congress said it will convert all self-financed courses in government / aided institutions into grant in aid courses, reducing fee burden on parents by 80%.“Congress will bring self-financed schools and colleges under Fee Regulation Act and make the fees affordable to all poor and middle class students,” said Solanki.The Opposition party, which is looking to come back to power in Gujarat after 22 years, said petrol and diesel prices would be brought down by up to Rs10 per litre by reducing taxes. It promised 50% reduction in property tax for small shopkeepers in urban areas.Taking a cue from the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, Congress promised to reduce electricity rates by up to 50%, and also announced that households having consumption of up to 200 units a month would be charged at Rs2 per unit.In the manifesto, Congress promised setting up of fast track courts for economic offences such as defaults, cheque bounce, fraud, cyber fraud, among others. The party also announced setting up of Indira canteens for providing food to labour class at Rs 10 per plate.
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Gujarat Elections 2017: Congress tries to woo farmers, unemployed in manifesto

Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Bharatsinh Solanki on Friday told mediapersons that the party will release its manifesto on December 5 or 7. “If we come to power, we will create a stress-free environment for all. We are planning to have happiness index in the state. We will take steps to ensure no one sleeps hungry. In the next three years, there won’t be any beggars on the streets. We will improve the Human Development Index and add Happiness Index.”Besides taking steps to solve the problem of traffic and pollution, he said, “If Congress comes to power, we will waive loans of farmers and provide them electricity for 16 hours. For employment generation, we will work to revive the small and medium scale industries.”He added that during revival of GIDC and other industries, Congress ‘government’ will give unemployment allowance to youth, till they get employed. “For 12th pass Rs3,000, for graduate- Rs3,500, for technical and post graduate- Rs4,000. As per an estimate, around 80% engineers are unemployed. We will give them Rs4,000 as unemployment allowance,” remarked Solanki.Taking a jibe at BJP, Solanki said they have done nothing but copied Congress’s schemes. “In 2012, we announced a housing scheme. It was copied by BJP and it promised to give 50 lakh houses but the irony is they have hardly allotted 4 lakh houses,” he claimed.Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda said they are making sure that farmers get adequate minimum support price (MSP) and the party will also implement recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report.Poll promisesIntroducing Happiness Index Food for all Farm loan waiver 16 hour electricity to farmers Unemployment allowance for 12th pass Rs3,000, for graduate- Rs3,500, for technical and PG- Rs4,000.
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Gujarat elections 2017: Bharatsinh Solanki ‘letter’ goes viral

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fake resignation letter of Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki went viral on social media on Thursday. The letter comes a day before Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s two-day Gujarat visit, and amid reports that Solanki is not happy with the selection of candidates from some of the seats. The letter has surfaced a few days after a fake list of Congress’s 77 candidates on the letterhead of Gujarat Congress and bearing Solanki’s signature went viral.In the letter, Solanki states he is resigning from the party over ticket distribution for the Gujarat elections.It also states that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was being misled by a section of party leaders.When contacted, Solanki denied having written any such letter and called it the handiwork of the BJP.”I am preparing for our tomorrow’s programme. There is no question of my resignation letter. I am a loyal soldier of Congress party,” Solanki said.

Gujarat elections: ‘Exposed’ PAAS leaders were not agitating for reservation but to help Congress win, says CM Vijay Rupani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Monday said the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leaders, who were working as agents of Congress, have been exposed following their clash over ticket distribution.PAAS workers, in the late hours of Sunday, protested against Congress Party in Ahmedabad and Surat, expressing dismay over ticket distribution ahead of assembly polls in the state.Speaking to ANI, Rupani said, “PAAS leaders were working as agents of Congress, and now they have been totally exposed. They were earlier agitating not for the reservation, but to make Congress win in the upcoming election.”Following the release of Congress’ list of candidates, which includes only three PAAS candidates, infuriated leaders of the community staged protest.In Surat, the agitated protestors clashed witch Congress workers, and allegedly vandalised the party`s office.A clash also broke out between Patel and police personnel outside the residence of Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki.Patel informed that PAAS members had to wait for hours outside after they were called to Solanki’s residence for a meeting.

Gujarat poll: PAAS infighting exposed after first list announced, Surat office of Congress ransacked

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti(PAAS) has opposed the first list released by Congress party for the candidates in Gujarat polls. The party made the announcement on Sunday night to avoid protests or confrontation but PAAS leaders not only opposed the list but their workers ransacked Congress candidate’s office in Surat. The workers of Congress and PAAS volunteers attacked each other with kicks and punches there. PAAS leader Dinesh Bambhaniya went to Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki’s house in Ahmedabad to discuss details of seat sharing.PAAS had demanded around 10 tickets from Congress, while the party gave only three. The Congress gave tickets to PAAS conveners Lalit Vasoya from Dhoraji in Rajkot, Amit Thummar from Junagadh and Nilesh Kumbhani from Kamrej seat in Surat city.Dinesh Bambhaniya struck a discordant note from Solanki’s residence saying they do not endorse the list, He said, “We were not taken in confidence for the ticket allocation. If Congress wanted to give ticket to any of PAAS members, they should have conveyed the message to PAAS. We appeal to all PAAS leaders who got tickets from Congress, to not file their nomination. If any of them do not abide by PAAS’ stand, we will make them lose.”PAAS had wanted tickets for Manoj Panara from Morbi and Dilip Sabva from Surat. The PAAS convener from Surat Dharmik Malaviya said, “The people who are chosen by Congress for candidature have the image of hooligans and we do not agree with these names. If they do not surrender their tickets, we will close the gates of their offices.” The situation was tense similarly in Junagadh. Here, Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “There is some confusion among PAAS leaders, but we are trying our best to remove that confusion. Everything will be settled in a few hours.”The Congress headquarter in Ahmedabad was closed for security reasons. The leaders of Congress also left the office quickly to avoid any altercation. When Bambhaniya and other PAAS leaders reached the Congress office in Ahmedabad late in the night, the police promptly detained them. In the evening, PAAS and Congress leaders including Bharatsinh Solanki had held a meeting at Congress office. Leaders from both organisations had agreed to a formula based on consent.

Tough times for Hardik Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a video showing PAAS leader Hardik Patel, purportedly in a compromising position with a woman which surfaced last Monday, two more video footages with him holding liquor went viral on social media on Tuesday. Throughout the day, Hardik seemed to be in a silent mode and stayed away from media and avoided reaction on the sequel of the alleged footages. He also did not convey any message on social media throughout the day, which was a deviation from his routine.Meanwhile, Hardik and other PAAS members held meetings at the farmhouse near Gandhinagar. Later, he went to Bharuch for a rally later in the evening. A convener of PAAS from Ahmedabad, Atul Patel, said,”We know that the video footages involving Hardik are out again, but we are focusing over our agenda on reservation. Hardik and other PAAS leaders held meeting in Gandhinagar and were preparing the strategy for the movement on agitation. We are nonchalant after the incident.”BJP, too, did not come up with reaction on the second footage. The party released a communique in the evening, “Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil has exhibited their lower level ideology and ignorance for Sardar Patel. The Congress and Gohil should seek apology from the entire nation for the controversial remarks.” The party set effigies of Gohil and Congress afire across state including Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Anand, Surat, Bharuch, Mehsana, Rajkot, Jamnagar and others.Varun Patel, who joined BJP a few days back, defecting from PAAS, said, “I do not want to comment over Hardik Patel but I believe that Patel community has great understanding. They would take right decision at the right time.” Congress, however, defended Hardik. Party chief Bharatsinh Solanki, said,”The video footages are just a conspiracy of BJP. They are trying different tools to muzzle the voice of democracy. The party will surely lose in polls and this was an effort for survival.”‘Brijesh, Vipul with Hardik in booze video’Two more videos released on Tuesday purportedly show Hardik Patel and two other persons with tonsured heads and an unidentified woman with liquor at a private hotel. A PAAS leader that DNA talked to identified and confirmed the other two as Brijesh Patel, PAAS convener from Rajkot and Vipul Patel, another PAAS convener.The leader on the condition of anonymity told DNA over phone that the video was taken during a booze party in Botad town in Saurashtra, in the backdrop of PAAS’s Nyaya Yatra.

Visiting temple is natural Dharma for BJP, electoral Karma for Rahul, says Bhupendra Yadav

Congress is experimenting on different issues. Initially, they challenged development, then GST, now they changed again, says Yadav <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP lashed out at Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits and held it as an act to cash in on elections in Gujarat. The national general secretary and Gujarat BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav lashed out at Rahul Gandhi on the issue during a press conference he addressed in Ahmedabad on Monday.Yadav said, “Visiting a temple is swabhavik dharm (natural course) for BJP leaders as we do it in our routine course too, while it is chunavi karm (cause of elections) for the Congress. Akshardham temple in Delhi is hardly six kilometres from Rahul Gandhi’s residence and he never happened to be there. Their ancestral farm house is in Mehrauli area of Delhi and Katyayani, Kalkaji Shaktipeeth are very close to that, but the entire Gandhi family never went there.””What Rahul is doing is an eyewash and just for the sake of Gujarat polls. I would invite Rahul Gandhi for an open debate on the issue of OBC commission, triple talaq and public issues. The Congress is experimenting on different issues. Initially, they challenged development in Gujarat, then they switched to GST and when success could not be achieved, they changed issues to raise against BJP.,” added Yadav.Yadav also said that Rahul Gandhi should make it clear who would be their CM face if Congress wins the polls. Gandhi should reveal the name, whether it should be Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki or Shaktisinh Gohil, added Yadav.

Five days after joining Congress, Koli leader back to BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five days after he had joined the Congress, Koli community leader Raju Solanki returned to the BJP in the presence of party president Amit Shah in Gandhinagar on Friday.Solanki, who also heads the Veer Mandhata Group, had joined Congress on Sunday in the presence of party’s state chief Bharatsinh Solanki, party’s Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot, and other leaders.The Congress had plans to pit Solanki against Koli strongman and minister Parsottam Solanki, but it has been nipped in the bud. Solanki described Parsottam Solanki as an elder brother, and attributed his decision to return to the BJP to Congress’s plan to divide the Koli community votes.”The Congress wanted to pit me against Parsottam Solanki, who is a top leader of our community, and also like my elder brother. I have rejected the offer. I have been working with him for 20 years, and it was natural that I would not be ready to fight against him,” Solanki said.Solanki also claimed that he had taken the decision to join Congress in an impulsive manner, and had been convinced by community leaders to rejoin the BJP. The move, seen as a blow to Congress, once again changes equations in Bhavnagar, which sends key political figures such as Parsottam Solanki, state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani and senior Congress MLA Shaktisinh Gohil to the assembly.

Amid poll heat, new clip alleges Narendra Patel was paid Rs 25L

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after PAAS leader Narendra Patel produced an audio clip in which he was allegedly offered Rs 1 crore bribe by, now a BJP member, Varun Patel, another audio clip, which talks about payment of Rs 25 lakh to Narendra Patel, emerged on Friday.The clip contains an alleged conversation between Narendra Patel and an unknown person in which the former talks about an entry of Rs 25 lakh in his name though he did not receive any money.In the clip, which was delivered to media houses, Patel is heard telling someone that the Rs25 lakh was described in a diary as a part of the grant received by Mehsana District Panchayat, which was given to PAAS Committee of Mehsana and North Gujarat.Patel is heard asking why the entry has been made in his name when he has not taken any money. He quotes one Pahlaj bhai who tells him that he had given the money to three people on receiving a call from the State Congress. Patel is even heard saying that he would speak with state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki and ask him about who was given the money. Later in the clip, Patel said that he received a call from Patel reservation stir leader Hardik Patel, who asked him not to talk about the matter to anyone, and also asked him not to make an issue of the same. While Narendra Patel claimed that he is not the person who is heard talking in the audio clip, Bharatsinh Solanki rubbished the clip, saying the talk of the funds is fake.”I have not been involved in any such talks. The BJP is spreading these lies. I am demanding an inquiry into the matter,” Solanki said. The clip surfaced a day after Patel produced a clip in which Varun Patel is heard offering Rs1 crore to Patel for joining the BJP. In the clip, Varun is heard asking Patel to accept 60% of the amount as an advance, while 40%, i.e. Rs40 lakh, would be paid after he joined the party.WHAT CLIP SAYSIn the clip, Patel is heard saying that the Rs 25 lakh was described as a part of a grant received by Mehsana District Panchayat.
According to the clip, Patel said that he received a call from Patel reservation stir leader Hardik Patel, who asked him not to talk about the matter to anyone.

‘I was offered Rs 1 crore to join BJP’, claims Hardik Patel’s aide Narendra Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a sensational claim, quota spearhead Hardik Patel’s aide has alleged that he was offered Rs one crore for crossing over to the BJP.Patel has made the claim amid key aides – Varun Patel and Reshma Patel – have joined the ruling BJP in poll-bound Gujarat in a dramatic turn of events, after state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki invited Hardik Patel to join hands with the party.”I was offered Rs 1 crore to join the Bharatiya Janata Party. I have already been given Rs 10 lakh advance,” said Patidar leader Narendra Patel.Narendra Patel also said that he doesn’t want the money and he had joined the agitation for the Patidar community. “The Rs 10 lakh given to me were not earned by hard work and I will be returning it to them,” he saidPatel claimed that Varun Patel took him to a meeting where it was discussed that he will be given Rs 1 crore and received the money from the former’s hands.Varun Patel and Reshma Patel were among the prominent faces of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and remained critical of the ruling BJP during the agitation.They joined the BJP after a meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and state party chief Jitu Vaghani during its parliamentary board meeting, which was also attended by BJP president Amit Shah.After joining the BJP, the Patidar leaders alleged that Hardik Patel had become a ‘Congress agent’ and was trying to use the agitation to overthrow the present state government..However, unfazed by the announcement of his key aides, Hardik Patel said in a tweet he that will continue to fight for the people.”The centipede will continue to run even if some of his legs break. People are with me, and I will continue to fight for them,” he said.

Congress fields Alpesh Thakor for Gujarat polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of Assembly elections in the politically significant state of Gujarat, Congress on Saturday received a shot in the arm as it succeeded in roping in Alpesh Thakor, 39, an OBC leader, in its effort to build an anti-BJP front.But BJP too strengthened its hand as Patidar leaders Reshma Patel and Varun Patel joined the fold after meeting with party Chief Amit Shah on Saturday.Earlier, the Congress party had offered tickets to two other feisty young leaders — Hardik Patel, and Jignesh Mevani. While Patel, who is only 24 years old, declined because of his age, Thakor took the offer; Dalit leader Mevani has said that he will meet Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi before taking any decision.”If Patel wants to contest elections in future, the Congress is ready to give him ticket. Mevani is leading an agitation for the rights of Dalits and Thakor is fighting issues such as corruption and alcohol addiction. The Congress invites them to join hands with us,” said Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Bharatsinh Solanki.Soon after news broke of Congress extending its tickets, Patel took to Twitter to say that he would decline the offer. “Mujhe chunav nahi ladna aur chunav ladney ka humara swarth bhi nahi hai. Humein adhikaar chahiye aur nyay, hum ahankar ke saamne lad rahein hai. Jeet humari hogi. (I do not want to contest elections and I have never had the interest to do so. We want our rights and justice, and we are fighting against arrogance. We will win).”Patel is the face of the Patidar movement, which has been agitating for reservations in colleges and government jobs.While Patel kept the Congress guessing on Saturday, on October 15 at a rally in Ahmedabad, he had said, “If the Congress party wins, it will be a vote against dictatorship.”Mevani who took centre-stage amidst the Dalit movement, especially after the Una flogging incident, said that he will speak to the leaders of his community before deciding. “We need to remove the BJP from power in Gujarat. Our movement is a political and a social one; I will meet the leaders of my community and decide,” he said, adding that he will meet Rahul in Delhi.Rahul is to fly to Gujarat on Monday to welcome Thakor into the fold at a rally organised in Banaskantha town. The rally has been organised by the OBC, SC, ST Ekta Manch floated by Thakor. The OBCs account for over 54% of Gujarat’s population. The Congress is expecting to bank upon Thakor’s recently-won popularity to win them over.On Saturday, Thakor arrived in Delhi and had a lengthy meeting with Rahul at his residence. Also present for the discussion were Congress President’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, Gujarat PCC president Bharatsinh Solanki and Gujarat-incharge AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot. Son of Gandhinagar district Congress President, Thakor also headed the Youth Congress in the district and so Rahul welcomed his home-coming, Congress sources said. Emerging from Rahul’s residence, Thakor announced that he was joining the Congress to fight for the poor and the downtrodden.He said the trinity of himself, Hardik and Jignesh would build a massive youth movement to defeat the BJP in December’s Assembly elections.

Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017: OBC leader Alpesh Thakore to officially join Congress on Oct 23

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thakor community and OBC Ekta Manch leader Alpesh Thakor on Saturday confirmed that he would be joining the Congress Party, ahead of elections in poll-bound Gujarat.”Rahul Gandhi would be coming to our rally on October 23, and I will join the Congress party,” Alpesh told reporters here.In the run up to the Gujarat election, the Congress has promised to give Patidars 20% reservations under the “economically backward classes” quota.Following this, Thakor, along with Ashok Gehlot and Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki earlier reached the residence of Congress Party vice president Rahul Gandhi.Solanki had invited Patidar leader Hardik Patel and other caste-based leaders to join in the fight against the BJP in the Gujarat Assembly polls. However, Patel on Saturday turned down the Congress’ invitation to fight the Gujarat Assembly election jointly, saying the polls were not a BJP-Congress fight.The 14th legislative assembly election in Gujarat is to be held by the end of 2017 as the term of 13th assembly ends on January 22, 2018.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is heading his party’s poll campaign in Gujarat. He is eyeing to dethrone the ruling BJP in Gujarat.The last Congress government in Gujarat was led by Chhabildas Mehta from February 17, 1994 to March 13, 1995

Hours after Congress reaches out to Hardik Patel, 2 Patidar leaders join BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a blow to Hardik Patel, Patidar leaders Reshma Patel and Varun Patel join BJP. Both the leaders met BJP President Amit Shah at the BJP office in Ahmedabad.The news will also come as a blow to the Congress, as it had spoken of approaching Hardik Patel to join their cause in defeating the BJP in the upcoming elections. Addressing a press conference here today, state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki expressed confidence that the party would easily win over 125 seats, out of total 182, with the “support and blessings” of all these leaders and parties.”Though the BJP is trying its best to win the polls, it will not succeed in stopping the Congress’ victory march to Gandhinagar.”We respect as well as endorse the cause for which Hardik Patel is fighting. I appeal to Hardik to support the Congress during the polls. We are also ready to give him a ticket if he wants to fight elections in the future,” Solanki told reporters.However, speaking to ANI, Patel said that he could not contest elections because of his age, but agreed with Congress to unite against the saffron party in the elections.He said, “Constitutionally speaking, I can not contest the election and I don’t need to. Although, I believe we must unite against the BJP, this is not a BJP-Congress election. This is an election of six crore people of Gujarat.”

Gujarat Congress gets four new working presidents ahead of polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move seen as clipping the wings of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief Bharatsinh Solanki, the Congress has appointed four working presidents of its state unit, barely three months before the state goes to polls.The All India Congress Committee said in a release that party vice president Rahul Gandhi has approved the proposal to appoint Tushar Chaudhary, Paresh Dhanani, Kunwarji Bavaliya, and Karsan Das Soneri as working presidents of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee with immediate effect.The Congress seems to have kept caste and regional equations in mind while appointing the four working presidents. Chaudhary, a former union minister, belongs to the tribal community, which has a sizeable presence in the southern and eastern belts of the state. Similarly, Dhanani, a two-time MLA from Saurashtra, is a Patel, a community that forms one of the strongest vote banks for BJP. Bavaliya, a former MP from Rajkot, is a Koli Patel leader. Koli Patels are another electorally-powerful community, especially in the coastal belts of the state. The fourth working president Karsan Das Soneri is a Dalit, and is a prominent Dalit face of Congress, especially after the passing away of ex-MP Pravin Rashtrapal.Cong forms state election committeeWith the state assembly elections barely three months away, the Congress seems to be getting into poll mode.A day after appointing close to 100 office bearers to its already huge Gujarat body, and forming several election related committees, the party also announced its state election committee, which would primarily be responsible for screening of potential candidates.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi approved the Pradesh Election Committee, which will be chaired by state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki.Congress MLAs to BJPThe BJP unit will welcome two defecting Congress MLAs on Saturday.
However, BJP leaders are unhappy as their chances of getting a ticket will now be slim.
CM Vijay Rupani and state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani will welcome the two Congress MLAs. NEW LEADERSHIPCongress vice president Rahul Gandhi has approved the appointment of Tushar Choudhary, Paresh Dhanani, Kunwarji Bavaliya and Larsan Das Sonali as working presidents of Gujarat unit with immediate effect.

NEET: Cong wants ordinance for separate merit list of Guj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing apprehension that the students who had appeared for NEET in Gujarati might be at disadvantage compared to those attempted the all-India medical test in English during admissions, the Congress leaders today called on Governor O P Kohli and sought his intervention. The Congress delegation, led by the state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki, demanded the state government prepare a separate merit list for the Gujarati medium students by bringing an ordinance as soon as possible. During the meeting with the governor in Gandhinagar, the Congress leaders said the party would support the ruling BJP if the state government brings an ordinance for a separate merit list for the Gujarat board students who attempted the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in the regional language. The Congress told the governor that due to a “discrepancy”, the NEET question papers in Gujarati were more difficult than those in English, the party said in a release. According to Congress, as many as 47,583 students of the Gujarat board, who had given the test in Gujarati, would be “subjected to injustice in the admission”. At present, the first round of the admission process as per NEET merit list is completed. Congress alleged the Centre and state government failed to initiate any measures “to save these students from facing injustice in admission” despite knowing that the question papers in Gujarati were more difficult than those in English. Meanwhile, the Congress has threatened to intensify protests if the government fails to come up with a solution to the issue at the earliest. The opposition party announced that it will participate in the protest march to be held in Ahmedabad on August 17. Congress leaders would take out rallies in all the districts of Gujarat on August 18 if the issue is not resolved, according to the release.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shankersinh Vaghela fully prepared to create stir?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Congress’s disgruntled leader Shankersinh Vaghela is all set to hold a convention on his 77th birthday in Gandhinagar on Friday and Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki is all set to make sure it is not a success.Solanki has given a mandate to party leaders and workers to not to attend this convention at a core committee meeting held at the party headquarters in Paldi, Ahmedabad, on Thursday evening. Solanki also said that the party will take disciplinary actions against those who visit Vaghela’s convention.A senior Congress leader and member of the party’s core committee said, “Solanki has given us a mandate to not attend Vaghela’s convention and we all gave him an oral assurance of the same. However, this totally depends on the individual and his personal decision. Party’s senior members raised furore against Solanki and said that he has failed to control the worsening situation of the party. They were of the opinion that the party cannot afford to lose a leader like Vaghela, especially before the Assembly polls. With BJP is on the back foot due to public grievance against the saffron party-led present government, Congress had a chance to win these elections.”Post the core committee meeting, senior Congress leader and former president of the party Siddharth Patel said, “At the convention Vaghela had held on June 24, he had made several intolerable contentions against the party.We expected that he would not take any harsh actions and all the members of Congress’ coordination committee had appealed to him to be patient. We complement him on his birthday, but the party will not accept any act of rebellion under the guise of a birthday celebration.”Meanwhile, Vaghela, the leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, returned from New Delhi on Thursday evening. He was supposed to meet Congress national president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi on his visit. However, sources in the party said that both Congress leaders refused to give him an appointment and he had to return empty-handed. Nonetheless, they also revealed that Vaghela met leaders of NCP and JD (U) in Delhi, which could also be the genesis of a new alliance and a third front in Gujarat ahead of the Assembly polls.Many Cong MLAs eager to meet & greet Vaghela at his birthday conventionShankersinh Vaghela’s convention, titled ‘Sam Samvedana Sammelan’, will be held at the Gandhinagar Civil Hospital auditorium on Friday. The organising committee, comprising Vaghela’s supporters, has made all preparations for the birthday celebration-cum-convention and is expecting a turnout of over 10,000 people, including senior Congress leaders. Despite Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki issuing a mandate and barring all Congress leaders from attending Vaghela’s convention, it is believed that around 30 Congress MLAs could meet and greet Vaghela at the event.Senior Congress MLA from Jamnagar (rural) Raghavji Patel said, “I am not a member of the core committee and am unaware of the mandate passed by the state party president. It is our senior leader’s birthday event and I do not see any wrong in attending the same. I am going to meet Bapu and will give him my compliments at the convention.”Another senior Congress MLA, who is not from Vaghela’s faction, said, “Solanki’s mandate is unjust as the convention called for by Bapu is not wrong. I am going to attend the same of my own volition and no one can stop me from doing so. I do not comprehend any disciplinary action against those who do attend this convention.”Mahendrasinh, Vaghela’s son and MLA from Bayad, said, “This is a personal event and should not be seen as a political convention. Bapu has always been with the party and there is nothing wrong if Congress leaders meet him on this day. We welcome all Congress leaders and workers to the convention. It is an open invitation.”PAAS leaders hold closed doors meeting with CongressPAAS leaders Varun Patel, Dinesh Bambhania and Manoj Panara held a closed doors meeting with Congress leaders at Ahmedabad Circuit House Annexe on Thursday evening. Gujarat Congress in-charge Ashok Gehlot, GPCC president Bharatsinh Solanki and former state Congress president Siddharth Patel were present at the meeting. Neither PAAS nor Congress confirmed this, but sources said that a meeting was indeed held.

Meira Kumar kicks off Prez election campaign, says her fight is to take forward Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition candidate Meira Kumar on Friday launched her presidential election campaign from Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati ashram here and said her fight is for take forward the ideology of the Father of the Nation.Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also visited the ashram on Thursday to mark its centenary. It was established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1917 and from here he led the Indian Independence movement.Kumar spent around 40 minutes in the ashram today along with state Congress leaders Bharatsinh Solanki and Shankarsinh Vaghela.She will contest against NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind in the July 17 presidential election.”The battle which I am fighting at present is for the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi. We have to take forward the ideology of Gandhi,” Kumar said launching her campaign.”I have come to gain some power from this place. I spent some time at the ‘Hriday Kunj’, Gandhiji’s home in the ashram.I have gained lot of energy today to take forward this battle,” the 72-year-old Congress veteran said, adding that coming to the ashram gave her peace.”I wish prosperity for the people of Gujarat and especially those who are marginalised,” she said.Kumar also tried her hands on the ‘charkha’ (spinning wheel) in the ashram.She was chosen as the opposition’s nominee for the presidential election after NDA declared Kovind, a Dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh, as their candidate. Kumar is the daughter of late Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram.Upon her arrival at the airport here last night, Kumar had said, the election is a “battle of ideologies” and not a “Dalit versus Dalit” fight.”Attempts are being made by some to project the election as a Dalit versus Dalit fight. It was from Gujarat that the ideology of Gandhiji spread across the country and the world.That is why I have come here to make the people realise that we fight for our ideologies,” she had said.Kumar is scheduled to meet state Congress leaders later today.She had earlier appealed to MPs and MLAs, who constitute the electoral college, to vote in the presidential election as per their conscience, even as the numbers seem to be stacked against her.

Ahmedabad gears up for 140th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stage is set for the 140th annual Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra to be taken out here tomorrow, with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and leaders from BJP and Congress offering prayers at the temple on its eve. The procession, led by a chariot with the statue of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra, covers around 15 kilometres route on the auspicious day every year before returning to the temple located in Jamalpur area here. Rupani, accompanied by deputy CM Nitin Patel, today offered prayers at the Lord Jagannath Temple. They will again perform Pahind ceremony (symbolic cleaning of road ahead of the Yatra) at 7 am before the yatra commences. Separately, Congress leaders Bharatsinh Solanki, party’s Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot, and senior leader Shankersinh Vaghela also offered their prayers at the temple. Temple sources said Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sent his offering to the temple, something he has been doing since several years. The massive yatra is taken out every year on the second day of Asadhi Bij, or the second day of the month of Asadh as per the Hindu calendar. This time, the procession will have 18 elephants, 101 trucks, 30 akhadas, 18 bhajan mandalis and 7 cars, organisers have said. The procession will also see unprecedented security cover to avoid any untoward incident as the roughly 1.5 kilometre long procession passes through some of the communally sensitive pockets. Over 20,000 policemen and other uniformed men will be deployed along the route of the yatra, with a company of National Security Guard being deployed for the first time.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Returning from Delhi, Vaghela says supporters’ meeting is on

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela today said that tomorrow’s meeting of his supporters, being seen as a show of strength ahead of Gujarat elections, would be held as announced earlier. Vaghela — who has been sulking after Congress refused to give him a free hand for the election campaign — had said on Tuesday that he will hold a meeting of his supporters to decide “future course of action”. Subsequently, the party high command called him to Delhi, where he met Ahmed Patel yesterday, and also “spoke” to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi. “Our meeting is on. My supporters wanted me to discuss the future course of action regarding the situation in Congress when elections are approaching,” Vaghela said today. “Capacity of the hall in Gandhinagar where the meeting will be held is 1,500. So it can not be called a show of strength,” he said. Vaghela was speaking to reporters after attending an election-related meeting called by the state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki and the party in-charge for Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot, here. About his Delhi visit, Vaghela said, “I met Ahmed Patel and also spoke to Sonia Gandhi.” He did not clarify if he met Sonia Gandhi or only spoke with her on phone. His announcement of a meeting of supporters has created a flutter as it is being seen as an open defiance of the party high command. After his Delhi visit, speculation was rife that he had called off tomorrow’s meeting. Asked what he thought about tomorrow’s meeting called by Vaghela, Solanki said, “There is nothing wrong if party workers want to meet their leader. “I believe that media is too much worried about Congress. I think you should focus on BJP. I can see how BJP leaders are salivating and hoping to gain something out of this. They want to take advantage of the situation, because they know they are not going to win the polls on their own,” Solanki said, talking to reporters after today’s meeting. Gehlot refused to comment on the issue.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

With ghar-wapsi not possible, Shankarsinh Vaghela likely to quit politics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Is Gujarat stalwart Shankarsinh Vaghela calling it a day?According to highly placed sources in Congress,the man known as Bapu in Gujarat might quit the party and even politics.It is said that Vaghela’s troubles in the Congress began as he was not getting along well the Pradesh Congress President Bharatsinh Sonanki and their differences have now come out in the open.Being one of the senior leaders in Gujarat, Vaghela will be crucial for the Congress in the assembly elections due later this year.That’s why senior party leaders like Congress in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot, Bharatsinh, Shaktisinh Gohil and former Pradesh president have tried to pacify Vaghela, but all in vain.Sources say the reason for Vaghela’s dissatisfaction is that he wants to be named as party’s chief ministerial candidate. However, this demand has been rejected by the party high command. Then, Vaghela came up with another formula in which he wanted Pradesh chief Bharatsinh to be replaced by either Amul Dairy chairman Ramsinh Parmar or Thakor leader Jagdish Thakor.Apart from this, he wanted himself to be named head of the campaign committee and be given free hand in selecting the candidates. But the party has refused to oblige him as it fears that he might create problems, even if the party wins the election.Given this background, Vaghela has been holding secret parleys with BJP leaders and many of them have issued public statements that they would be happy if he rejoins the party. But there is a hitch. PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have established a rule that anybody above 75 years of age will not be given any executive position in the party. This rule will make it difficult for the party to accommodate him as he is over 75 years.In this situation, only option available for him is governorship.But for this, he will have to quit active politics.With BJP formula not working out and Congress also not accepting demands,it is believed that Vaghela is weighing the option of announcing retirement from electoral politics. People close to him say this will keep his political stature high and intact in Gujarat.Bone of contentionSources say the reason for Vaghela’s dissatisfaction with the party leadership is that he wants to be named as party’s chief ministerial candidate.Vaghela has been holding secret parleys with BJP leaders.In this situation, only option available for him is governorship.But for this, he will have to quit active politics.

Cong workers block roads for farm loan waivers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Congress workers on Friday blocked roads across the state demanding a complete loan waiver for farmers. They also protested against the alleged police firing on farmers in Madhya Pradesh.Vehicular movement was disrupted in some areas after roads were blocked in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Morbi, Porbandar, Arvalli, Bhavnagar, Surendranagar, Junagadh, Anand, Kheda, Surat and Tapi, said state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.According to state police control room, hundreds of Congress workers were detained across the state while Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Bharatsinh Solanki said, 4,000 Congress workers and farmers were detained across the state.While the Congress claimed the call of blocking roads remained successful, ruling BJP asserted it was a total failure.“Workers took part in the protest to express solidarity with farmers who are agitating in MP, Maharashtra and many other parts of the state. We gave this call to condemn the police firing on farmers in MP and to demand a loan waiver for Gujarat farmers,” said Doshi.–With PTI inputs

Congress to give tickets to all its sitting MLAs: Solanki

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki today said the party would give tickets to all the 57 sitting Congress MLAs for the upcoming Assembly polls, to be held later this year. Solanki, who returned to Gujarat after meeting party high command in Delhi, expressed confidence that Congress, which is in opposition in the state since last 22 years, would get two-third majority this time. “Congress has 57 sitting MLAs, and all of them will contest the Assembly polls, as we are very much sure that all of them will win,” Solanki told reporters on his arrival at the airport here. The announcement by Solanki assumes significance as a group within the party led by Shankarsinh Vaghela and some MLAs are not happy with party high command for not giving free hand to latter for elections. “Apart from these 57 seats, we are confident of winning another 65 seats and get a comfortable two-third majority in the Gujarat Assembly this time,” claimed Solanki. At present, out of the total 182 seats in the Assembly, BJP is in power with 122 seats. Solanki further added that the party would declare the first list of its candidates, having 50 names, in the first phase. “In the first phase, we will declare a list of 50 candidates and later on declare names of other candidates in phase wise manner. We will also solve the issue of party organisation soon,” said Solanki.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Will BJP opt for an early election in Gujarat? Amit Shah has the definitive answer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah today indicated that contrary to the speculations, the Gujarat assembly elections will be held only towards the year-end and not earlier.”Be ready to welcome the ‘Vijay Rath’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November,” he told BJP workers here. “After travelling to various parts of the country, the BJP’s Vijay Rath (victory chariot) under the leadership of Modi is set to come to Gujarat in November,” he said. “Let us all resolve to achieve a thumping victory and take Modi’s victory chariot further to Odisha from Gujarat,” said Shah.Congress leaders Bharatsinh Solanki and Shankersinh Vaghela had recently claimed on many occasions that the state assembly polls would be held in April or May, though they are due in December 2017. Taking a dig at the Congress’ slogan that “Congress is coming,” Shah said, “… but the people are saying the Congress is going.” Reminding the opposition of BJP’s track record of winning elections in the Prime Minister’s home state, Shah said, “The BJP has never lost a single assembly or Lok Sabha election in Gujarat since 1990.”The Congress, however, starts daydreaming as soon as the election approaches, and their dreams always get shattered on the day of counting,” he said. “After the poll results of five states their dream has been shattered even before the counting day here. The Congress says it is coming, but people are saying ‘Congress is going’,” the BJP chief said. The gathering had been organised by the state BJP to felicitate Shah on his first visit to his home state after the election results in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere.He urged the workers to aim for 150-plus seats in Gujarat (out of the total 182). “…we are making a resolution here to get 150-plus seats,” he said. Shah termed the Aam Aadmi Party, which is trying to make inroads in Gujarat, as a “mushroom”. “This party pops up like a mushroom only during polls and then vanishes. They fielded 432 candidates in Lok Sabha polls and won four seats,” he recalled. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and state BJP chief Jitubhai Vaghani were among those present.

No early elections in Gujarat, Amit Shah indicates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah today indicated that contrary to the speculations, the Gujarat assembly elections will be held only towards the year-end and not earlier. “Be ready to welcome the ‘Vijay Rath’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November,” he told BJP workers here. “After travelling to various parts of the country, the BJP’s Vijay Rath (victory chariot) under the leadership of Modi is set to come to Gujarat in November,” he said. “Let us all resolve to achieve a thumping victory and take Modi’s victory chariot further to Odisha from Gujarat,” said Shah. Congress leaders Bharatsinh Solanki and Shankersinh Vaghela had recently claimed on many occasions that the state assembly polls would be held in April or May, though they are due in December 2017. Taking a dig at the Congress’ slogan that “Congress is coming,” Shah said, “… but the people are saying the Congress is going.” Reminding the opposition of BJP’s track record of winning elections in the Prime Minister’s home state, Shah said, “The BJP has never lost a single assembly or Lok Sabha election in Gujarat since 1990. “The Congress, however, starts daydreaming as soon as the election approaches, and their dreams always get shattered on the day of counting,” he said. “After the poll results of five states their dream has been shattered even before the counting day here. The Congress says it is coming, but people are saying ‘Congress is going’,” the BJP chief said. The gathering had been organised by the state BJP to felicitate Shah on his first visit to his home state after the election results in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere. He urged the workers to aim for 150-plus seats in Gujarat (out of the total 182). “…we are making a resolution here to get 150-plus seats,” he said. Shah termed the Aam Aadmi Party, which is trying to make inroads in Gujarat, as a “mushroom”. “This party pops up like a mushroom only during polls and then vanishes. They fielded 432 candidates in Lok Sabha polls and won four seats,” he recalled. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and state BJP chief Jitubhai Vaghani were among those present.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Won’t give tickets to two-time losers or those who lost by 20,000 votes: Gujarat Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Gujarat Congress said that it will not give tickets for the upcoming assembly polls to those candidates who have earlier lost elections twice. Besides, tickets will also not be given to those who have lost by a margin of over 20,000 votes last time. These decisions were taken in a core committee meeting of the state Congress party that was held here today. “From next week the party will start forming panels of names for each of 182 assembly seats in the state,” state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said after the meeting. As per the Congress party candidate selection process, the panel of names is sent to central leadership, which picks up the final name of candidate. The panel might have two to three names per seat.”We have decided not to give tickets to those claimants who have lost two assembly elections in the past,” Solanki said. “We have also decided not to give tickets to those who have lost by a margin of 20,000 or more votes in the last assembly polls,” Solanki said adding that winnability is the criteria. The opposition party, anticipating early polls has decided to prepare the lists of candidates to ensure that they are not caught unaware. The Congress is out of power in the state since last 25 years. “The party has also decided to give at least one ticket to woman in each district of the state,” Solanki said. Earlier, the Congress had invited applications from party workers who are interested in the contesting the polls.Party sources said that it was decided that sitting MLAs of the party will not be allowed to change their constituencies. Meanwhile, the party has also decided not to take out Yatra in the tribal belt of the state, which it had announced earlier. “We have decided to postpone Adivasi Vikas Yatra, which was to start in April due to ongoing exams of class 10th and 12th. Instead we will organise five mega rallies in places dominated by tribal people between April 3 to 13,” he said.Elections are scheduled by held in later part of the year, however, the party expects that BJP may call for early election.

Cong not to give poll tickets to those who lost twice in past

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Congress today said that it will not give tickets for the upcoming assembly polls to those candidates who have earlier lost elections twice. Besides, tickets will also not be given to those who have lost by a margin of over 20,000 votes last time. These decisions were taken in a core committee meeting of the state Congress party that was held here today. “From next week the party will start forming panels of names for each of 182 assembly seats in the state,” state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said after the meeting. As per the Congress party candidate selection process, the panel of names is sent to central leadership, which picks up the final name of candidate. The panel might have two to three names per seat. “We have decided not to give tickets to those claimants who have lost two assembly elections in the past,” Solanki said. “We have also decided not to give tickets to those who have lost by a margin of 20,000 or more votes in the last assembly polls,” Solanki said adding that winnability is the criteria. The opposition party, anticipating early polls has decided to prepare the lists of candidates to ensure that they are not caught unaware. The Congress is out of power in the state since last 25 years. “The party has also decided to give at least one ticket to woman in each district of the state,” Solanki said. Earlier, the Congress had invited applications from party workers who are interested in the contesting the polls. Party sources said that it was decided that sitting MLAs of the party will not be allowed to change their constituencies. Meanwhile, the party has also decided not to take out Yatra in the tribal belt of the state, which it had announced earlier. “We have decided to postpone Adivasi Vikas Yatra, which was to start in April due to ongoing exams of class 10th and 12th. Instead we will organise five mega rallies in places dominated by tribal people between April 3 to 13,” he said. Elections are scheduled by held in later part of the year, however, the party expects that BJP may call for early election.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ahead of Gujarat elections this year, fight for CM candidate intensifies in Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Intense lobbying has started for nomination as Congress’ chief ministerial candidate in Gujarat assembly polls to be held later this year.Ever since the party hinted at fighting the polls with a CM face, social media campaigns projecting various leaders have become the order of the day in Gujarat Congress.The front runners in the race are Leader of Opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Bharatsinh Solanki, according to party leaders.Other probables are national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia and Siddarth Patel, both former state unit chiefs. “There is a race between Vaghela and Solanki to get declared as the chief ministerial candidate and intense lobbying is on with the central leadership,” Congress sources said.Many in the party believe that Congress this time has a good chance to defeat the BJP in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state. They say factors like the absence Modi from the scheme of things in Gujarat, Patel quota agitation, Dalit unrest, anti-incumbency and want of a credible leader in the BJP could all work in Congress’ favour.The BJP has been in power in Gujarat since 1998. Projection of a strong CM face will give it an edge in the poll, said some leaders, who do not want to be identified.Supporters of Vaghela have launched a Facebook campaign page “Vaghela as CM” to push his candidature. The page describes Vaghela as the only available option with the Congress to defeat the BJP in Gujarat.Posters supporting Solanki have come up at places projecting him as a chief ministerial probable.Party sources said that both the camps are making all attempts to win over the support of other state leaders.Also, their trips to Delhi have become a frequent these days. Vaghela flew to Delhi earlier this week to meet Ahmed Patel, the political secretary of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.Patel is from Gujarat and is said to have a decisive say in Gujarat party affairs.In an earlier interview to PTI, Solanki had indicated that the party could declare a chief ministerial face in Gujarat, on the lines of Punjab.

Guj Assembly begins on stormy note;Cong MLAs suspended for din

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today protested in Gujarat Assembly over the Naliya gangrape issue, prompting the Governor to cut short his address and the Speaker to suspended opposition MLAs from the House for a day. On the first day of the Budget session of the state Assembly, the Congress members also allegedly tried to gherao the building but were detained by police. The opposition Congress MLAs came to the House wearing black clothes to protest the Naliya gangrape. When Governor Kohli started his speech, they started shouting slogans–“Beti Bachao, Balatkariyo se Beti Bachao” (save daughters, save daughters from rapists). Some of them also rushed to the Well of the House shouting anti-government slogans. Amidst the din, Kohli tried to continue reading his speech. However, after reading 4-5 paragraphs, he placed the speech on the table. He left the House later. Later, the Congress forced two adjournment of the House by relentlessly shouting slogans against the government over the alleged gangrape case. When the House assembled again after the adjournments, the Congress members once again rushed to the Well and started shouting slogans. Speaker Ramanlal Vora ordered suspension of nearly 48 Congress MLAs who had rushed to the Well of the House. Congress had started a ‘Beti Bachao’ yatra from Naliya to Gandhinagar from Saturday. The yatra reached Gandhinagar today and party workers tried to go near the state Assembly to gherao it. However, police blocked all the roads leading to the state Assembly building and detained around 350 party workers, including state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki. “We detained around 350 Congress party workers who tried to breach prohibitory orders around the Assembly,” Gandhinagar SP Virendrasinh Yadav said. Later, Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil told reporters, “Our demand is that the inquiry of Naliya gangrape case should be handed over to a sitting judge of Gujarat High Court.” (MORE)(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

UP mein maja aayega: Rahul Gandhi non-committal on alliance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul Gandhi kept up suspense over Congress’ alliance for the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, remarking cryptically that the election in the politically crucial state will be an “exciting affair”.”Uttar Pradesh mein maja aayega (it will be an exciting affair),” he said while delivering valedictory address of Congress’ ‘Jan Vedna’ meeting against note ban here. While Rahul kept cards close to his chest on forging an alliance with any party as the word about Congress’ tie-up with SP was doing the rounds, leaders of his party made strong pitch against “strengthening” regional parties, insisting that the Congress should try to become strong.”Whenever regional parties gain strength, the BJP becomes strong. For India to (attain) progress, Congress should become strong and for that, regional parties should become weak,” former Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Nirmal Khatri.Congress’ Gujarat unit chief Bharatsinh Solanki wanted the party to work hard and come up winner. He said if the party was determined to “defeat” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it should defeat the BJP in the upcoming assembly polls in five states. “If we are determined to remove Modi, we should defeat him in assembly elections in the five states. If we fail in doing that, perception around us will change at a time when people have gradually started coming to us,” Solanki stated.PC Vishnunath, party leader from Kerala, described Modi as “Narendra Damodardas Tuglak” and added “we cannot allow Hitler and Mussolini in India.”

Congress spreading rumours, elections to be held on schedule: Gujarat CM Rupani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rubbishing speculations about the possibility of early Assembly polls in Gujarat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday said the elections would be held on schedule, during the later part of this year, and blamed the Congress for spreading such “rumours.” “I do not see any possibility of early Assembly polls. I believe that elections will be held on schedule. This is just a rumour spread by Congress to keep their workers busy.Otherwise, I don’t believe that polls will be held early,” Rupani told the reporters on the sidelines of a function. Ever since Rupani took over reins from Anandiben Patel in a sudden change of guard in August last year, Gujarat Congress leaders have been saying there is a possibility that Assembly polls may take place early. Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki had often asked the party cadres to gear up for the polls.”BJP will face severe defeat in UP and Punjab, where polls will be held in the mid of 2017. BJP may not want to cloud their prospects in Gujarat with those defeats. Thus, it is highly possible that polls in Gujarat would take place simultaneously with Punjab and UP,” Solanki had recently said. The BJP has been in power in the state for nearly two decades and, for long, the ministry was headed by Narendra Modi before he became Prime Minister in 2014.

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