Congress nominee Asha Patel won from Unjha constituency, which covers Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown Vadnagar, by a margin of over 19,000 votes. Sitting BJP MLA Narayan Patel had previously defeated Asha by nearly 25,000 votes in 2012. While Patel polled 81,797 votes this time, her BJP rival got 62,268.The Congress rode on the Patidar wave. About 40 per cent Unjha’s population is from the Patidar community. One of the 14 men killed in the Patidar quota agitation two years ago, was from Unjha.Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the party’s star campaigner, had extensively campaigned in Unjha during his Navsarjan Yatra. On his visit to the region, Gandhi also prayed at the Umiya Mata temple, close to Vadnagar – where Modi was brought up. Weeks before the election process began in Gujarat where the BJP has been in power for the last 22 years, Modi inaugurated Umiya Dham Ashram in Haridwar for the pilgrims from the region visiting the Hindu holy city on the bank of the Ganges.
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<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 125-ft-long flag weighing 250kg made by students, farmers and members of the Dalit Shakti Kendra was the thing with which Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi chose to beat the ruling BJP.The flag was originally offered to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who expressed his inability to accept it on the grounds that there wasn’t any space available to store it.”Modiji and Rupaniji do not have the space to accommodate the Indian Flag. It shows the stinginess of their hearts. I will take this flag even if I have just 1 inch of space with me because I keep the Indian flag in my heart,” said Gandhi, while addressing people at the Kendra’s office at Nanidevati in Sanand, Ahmedabad.”The PM and CM have no place for a flag, but the entire Gujarat is available for the picking for just five industrialists,” Gandhi said, commenting on the oft repeated allegation that the Gujarat government has been liberal in granting land to industries at a throwaway price.He further added that the Congress allotted Rs35,000 crore for MNREGA every year. “And Modiji, when he was the CM, gave land and money worth Rs 35,000 crore to Tata Nano’s factory. And what has happened to it? Has anyone seen the car on the road?” he asked.Congress sources claimed that on hearing about CM Rupani refusing to accept the flag, Rahul volunteered to get it accommodated. The flag will be housed at the GCCI office in Ahmedabad. Earlier, on the way to the venue, Rahul stopped at a roadside stall in Sanand to have tea and snacks. The event also saw BJP’s Dalit leader from Rajkot, Siddharth Parmar, joining the Congress entourage.Addressing the crowd, many of whom were Dalits, Rahul said he had visited the victims of Una flogging and to Hyderabad, after the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohit Vemula.He was responding to a question that Martin Macwan of Navsarjan had posed earlier: whether the Congress had also stayed mum when Dalit rights were being trampled. Turn to P4″Vemula did not commit suicide, the Indian government killed him,” Rahul said as people clapped resoundingly. He also planted a Peepal sapling on the campus.Resurfaced roads for RahulThe roads from Bavla to the venue were Rahul was to deliver his speech seemed newly resurfaced. Local residents joked that development has come even before the Congress could be voted to power.2 nabbed for theftTwo persons were nabbed by people in the audience for allegedly stealing one person’s mobile phone and another’s wallet. Though police took custody of the two, nothing was recovered from them.Main BOXMinistry for fishermen: Rahul’s wordRahul Gandhi promised to create a separate ministry for fisheries if the party comes to power at the Centre. He was addressing the fishing community in Porbandar. “Fishermen’s work is equivalent to that of farmers. Sometime back, you demanded that if there was a ministry to look after the agriculture sector, why not for fishermen? I agree with you, and I promise that the Congress will set it up after forming the government at the Centre,” he said.
<!– /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.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Untouchability-free India campaign 2047, initiated by city-based NGO Navsarjan Trust which works for the upliftment of the Dalit community, will be launched at Nani Devti village on Sanand-Bavla road in Ahmedabad on Saturday. The aim of the campaign is to make India free of untouchability by the centenary celebration of independence in 2047. “Only thirty years remain ahead of the centenary celebration of India’s independence and yet it has not become free of social evils like untouchability. We hope for cooperation from all people, regardless of their leniency towards any political party. Unfortunately, no political party in India could do this, although they enjoyed power at the Centre and the states,” said NGO coordinator Martin Macwan.The event will be attended by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar, while BJP Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind has also been sent an invite. Macwan has also invited all social leaders, MPs and MLAs from Gujarat to attend the event. Kirit Rathod, one of the campaigners fighting for the cause, in an open letter to Kovind wrote, “You will be visiting Gujarat tomorrow (Saturday), coincidentally the day we kick off our campaign. If you believe in an untouchability-free India, then you’re cordially invited to our event to show your commitment to the cause.”“Did you feel sad when you were referred to as a Dalit President,” he questioned Kovind in the letter, further asking whether he would help realise Babasaheb’s dream of an untouchability-free India should he become the President.