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Gujarat deputy CM Nitin Patel takes charge after Amit Shah’s intervention, gets Finance portfolio

A brewing crisis in the Gujarat government has been diffused after BJP president Amit Shah reached out to sulking deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who had delayed taking charge over not getting portfolios of his choice in the new Cabinet.Patel agreed to take charge today after Shah called him up this morning and assured him that he will be given a portfolio fitting his “stature” as Number Two in the government. Later in the afternoon, he was alloted the important Finance portfolio. He used to previously hold it but CM Rupani had given the portfolio to another key leader Saurabh Patel. “BJP President Amit Shah today called up early morning and assured me that I will be given a portfolio which is fit for my stature as number two in the Cabinet and as the deputy chief minister,” Patel told reporters here. Nitin Patel was in charge of both important Finance and Urban Development departments in the previous government. The finance portfolio has been alloted to Saurabh Patel, while chief minister Rupani has kept the urban development department with himself. However, Patel has maintained that the issue was not about some departments, but about “self-respect”. “I had conveyed to party high command to either give me respectable departments or relive me from Cabinet,” he said today. Patel said he had been serving the party like a “loyal and disciplined” soldier.While announcing the portfolios two days back, Rupani had said, “It is not true that the minister, who has the finance portfolio, is the number two in the cabinet. Nitin Patel is our senior leader and will remain the number two.” Sending feelers to the deputy CM, Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel yesterday said he would extend support to Patel and talk to the Congress to give him the respect he deserved. “If Patel decided to quit the BJP and said 10 other MLAs were ready to quit with him, We will talk to the Congress to take in Nitin bhai and give him a post he deserves,” the Patidar leader had said. Senior Congress MLA Virji Thummar yesterday said Patel would be made the chief minister with the Congress’ support if he quit the BJP.Also readGujarat Deputy CM Nitin Patel assumes office on SundayThe opposition party, however, clarified that Thummar was speaking in his personal capacity and described the row over portfolio distribution as the BJP’s “internal matter”. The BJP and Congress hold 99 and 77 seats, respectively, in the 182-member House.

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Gujarat: Low-profile Vijay Rupani back at the helm, earns praise from other BJP CMs

Vijay Rupani, a low-profile RSS man who has the trust of BJP President Amit Shah, is back in the chief minister’s chair after having survived the incumbency factor and a violent quota stir by the Patidars. Born in Rangoon (now Yangon, Myanmar) Rupani, 61, joined an RSS shakha as a schoolboy, before graduating to the BJP via the Sangh’s students wing–the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the BJP’s face in the high-octane election campaign in his home state, Rupani, belonging to the relatively small Jain community, steered the party machinery in Gujarat, neutralising the incumbency factor against his government and surviving quota stir by the Patidar community, the bedrock of the party’s support base. That he also successfully contained disenchantment with the government over farm distress in some parts of the state, and economic slowdown due to demonetization and roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), also stood him in good stead.Despite the BJP’s tally falling below 100 in a long time, Rupani’s selection also suggested that the top party leadership wanted continuity before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Though only a second-time MLA, he made a mark as an able administrator. Rupani, who worked mostly in the party organisation in Gujarat, fought his first Assembly election in 2014, winning a bypoll from Rajkot West. This time he won from the same seat with an impressive margin of over 53,000 votes. A bachelor of law, Rupani was a Rajya Sabha member between 2006 and 2012.Also readBJP shows off strength as Vijay Rupani takes oath as 16th CM of Gujarat: 10 points It was under him as chairman of the Gujarat Tourism Development Corporation in 2006 that the hugely successful advertisement campaign ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’, featuring megastar Amitabh Bachchan, was launched to promote the state as a tourism hotspot. He was also the chairman of the Gujarat Municipal Finance Board in 2013. When the Rajkot West seat fell vacant in October 2014 after Speaker of the Assembly Vajubhai Vala was appointed the Karnataka Governor, Rupani won the bypoll.On February 19, 2016 he was appointed the chief of the Gujarat BJP. It was seen as a victory for the Amit Shah camp in the state unit. When the state’s first and only woman chief minister Anandiben Patel resigned in August 2016 following allegations of inept handling of the Patidar and Dalit agitations, Rupani was catapulted to the hot seat. Rupani honed his political skills in the crucible of the Gujarat Navnirman agitation, a socio-political movement in 1974 by students and the middle-class against economic crisis and corruption in public life.It soon spread elsewhere, particularly in Bihar, where socialist legend Jayaprakash Narayan gave a call for ‘Total Revolution’. The movement finally led to the fall of Indira Gandhi government and installation of the first non-Congress dispensation at the centre under Morarji Desai. Rupani, who was then with the ABVP, was jailed for nearly a year during Emergency. As the mayor of Rajkot in 1996-97, he endeared himself to people of the city with his initiatives for improvement of the civic infrastructure.Rupani’s mettle as a politician will be tested again in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when Modi bids for a second shot at power. Delivering Gujarat to the BJP is the least he would expect from Amit Shah’s man in Gandhinagar. Chief Ministers of the BJP-ruled states today said the saffron party’s victory in Gujarat for the sixth consecutive time in recently-held polls was a remarkable achievement.Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Assam, and Bihar praised Vijay Rupani, who took oath for the second consecutive time as Gujarat CM at a function held in Gandhinagar.”It is a matter of great pleasure for all of us.Gujarat developed a lot during the tenure of Narendra Modi as chief minister. Some people were assuming that BJP will not come back after Modi left the state as prime minister. But it is a matter of immense pleasure that the BJP managed around 50 per cent vote,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also congratulated Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who came to Gandhinagar but could not attend the swearing-in ceremony, said the recent electoral outcome shows that people have reposed their “faith and trust” in Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. “I express gratitude to voters and give best wishes to (Vijay) Rupani and Nitin Patel for bringing the BJP back to power for the sixth time. Congratulations to the BJP for Gujarat victory. Gujarat has given a different model of development, and it is a faith and trust towards Modi that BJP keeps winning and coming back to power (in Gujarat),” Chouhan told reporters after the event.His Chhatisgarh counterpart Raman Singh said the poll result was the result of hard work put in by Modi and Shah. “Gujarat has again voted for BJP government. We thank Modi and Amit Shah who worked hard to achieve this. It will be a history that the BJP will rule a state for 27 years,” Singh said. Manohar Lal Khattar, Sarbananda Sonowal, and Nitish Kumar–chief ministers of Haryana, Assam, and Bihar, respectively—also extended their best wishes to the new government.

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The Long and Short of Gujarat elections

The results of the 2017 Gujarat assembly election results were something that both BJP and Congress would be happy as well as sad about. The BJP would be happy, because it won for the sixth straight time in the state despite strong anti-incumbency and other challenges, and the Congress would be pleased as it managed to give the BJP a run for its money in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.Why would the BJP be sad with the results? The answer is that Gujarat has been its fortress since the mid-1990s. Even when it barely had presence in other states, Gujarat was its stronghold. The party would be worried as the election results expose the chinks in its Gujarat armour, especially just a little over a year before the elections. The results take away the aura of invincibility from the formidable combination of Modi and Shah, and show that they can be beaten. The reason Congress would be sad is because it was a case of it being so close and yet so far from that elusive victory in Gujarat. In spite of several so-called missteps of the ruling BJP, Congress could not finish the job, so to speak.When the election results were announced on December 18, the BJP was declared the winner in 99 out of 182 seats. This was 16 seats less than the party had won in 2012, and its lowest in any assembly election in Gujarat since 1995, when it first stormed to power. The Congress, on the other hand, won 77 seats, which was 16 more than it had won five years back. The Congress’s allies won three more seats, including Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani from Vadgam seat, effectively taking its tally to 80.The BJP increased its vote-share marginally from 48 per cent in 2012 elections to 49 per cent in the latest polls, but Congress saw its vote share rising from 38 per cent to 41.4per cent . With its allies, the vote-share was more than 42 per cent.BJP biggies had it easyKey BJP candidates such as chief minister Vijay Rupani, deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, and state unit chief Jitu Vaghani were among the key winners. However, many other partyv leaders such as health minister Shankar Chaudhary, assembly speaker Ramanlal Vora, and energy minister Chiman Sapariya ended on the losing side.Cong leaders swept awayThough Congress was surely buoyed by its overall performance in the crucial elections, the loss of its entire leadership in the state, including the likes of Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia, Siddharth Patel and Tushar Chaudhary, came as a huge shock. Their defeats has led to calls to groom other leaders who can lead the party in the future.Paresh Dhanani, Mohansinh Rathwa and Kunvarji Bavaliya were among the senior Congress leaders who won in the elections. Dhanani is seen as a front-runner for the post of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader in the House.36 sitting MLAs lostAs many as 121 sitting MLAs were in the fray in the 2017 polls. However, of them, 36 ended up losing, with remaining 85 getting re-elected. Of the 85 re-elected MLAs, 58 are from the BJP, 25 from Congress, and one each from NCP and Chhotu Vasava of Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP).Incidentally, BJP had fielded seven Congress turncoats as its candidates. Five of them, viz. Tejshree Patel, Raghavji Patel, Ramsinh Parmar, Amit Chaudhary, and Mansinh Chauhan, lost. Only two of the turncoats, viz. Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and CK Raulji made it to the 14th Assembly.Three Muslim MLAsThe Congress had fielded six Muslim candidates, of whom three emerged as winners, and three came up short. Gayasuddin Sheikh and Imran Khedawala won from the Dariapur and Jamalpur-Khadia seats in Ahmedabad respectively. Sitting MLA Mohammed Javid Pirzada won again from the Wankaner seat. Congress’s Muslim candidates in Bharuch, Bhuj and Surat West seats lost.Close call in 27 seatsThough the difference in number of seats, BJP’s 99 and Congress’s 77, would suggest that BJP notched up an easy victory, the elections were far more closer than the numbers suggest. As many as 27 seats were won or lost with a margin of less than 3,000 votes. Of these, the BJP won 15 seats, while the Congress bagged 12. The victory margin in seven seats was less than 1,000, which means they could have gone either way, but for a few votes.NOTA bad at allAs many as 5.51 lakh voters, or nearly 2 per cent of the 2.98 crore who voted, chose None Of the Above (NOTA). In spite of the presence of Nationalist Congress Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Aam Aadmi Party, it was NOTA that bagged the highest number of votes after BJP and Congress, and in fact, in nearly 30 seats, NOTA votes numbered more than the winning margin. Again, another indicator of how close the elections really were.For Congress, the biggest positive from the 2017 elections was its performance in Saurashtra, where it improved its tally from 11 in 2012 to 27 in 2017, even as BJP’s tally fell from 29 to 21.The Congress did reasonably well in north Gujarat, where it won three more seats than in 2012. In south Gujarat too, it won two more than the last elections, but it won two less in central Gujarat.Near-sweep in cities saved BJPIn the overall analysis, it was its near-sweep in the four major cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot, that saw the BJP home. Out of 36 seats on offer in these cities, Congress won just four, all of them in Ahmedabad. The party came a cropper in Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot, even failing to open its account.While it won more rural seats than BJP, the urban seats again proved to be the Achilles Heel for the Congress, once again, where the results turned out to be a lopsided affair.Advantage Cong in RS pollsIf assembly results are anything to go by, the Congress would seem to have the numerical advantage in 8 to 9 Lok Sabha seats, especially the ones in Saurashtra and north Gujarat, when they go to polls in early 2019. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had won all 26 seats in the state.While these are based on conjectures, the results would definitely boost Congress’s strength in Rajya Sabha. Four seats in the Upper House from Gujarat are set to fall vacant in April. Incidentally, all four Rajya Sabha members who are slated to retire are from BJP, viz. Arun Jaitley, Mansukh Mandaviya, Parshottam Rupala and Shankar Vegad.Considering its reduced strength of 99 in the assembly, BJP would be able to fill only two of the four vacant seats, while Congress is assured of the remaining two. However, this could change if elections were held and in the unlikely scenario of massive cross-voting.Hardik fails to deliverPatidar reservation agitation leader Hardik Patel’s roadshows attracted large crowds, but the results show that only few actually voted for the Congress. The second possibility probably explains the lower turnout in many of the Patidar dominated urban seats.“Even with the simmering anger among Patels, we could not win a single Patidar dominated seat in Surat or Ahmedabad. This is a big worry for us, and needs to be addressed immediately,” said a senior Congress leader.Fairer sex strength down to 13Thirteen women were elected this time, three less than in 2012 when the number was 16. Nine of the female MLAs are from BJP, including five sitting MLAs, and four new ones. Four women were elected to the assembly on Congress ticket, including sitting MLA Chandrika Bariya from Garbada.Modi, Rahul slogged it outThough stakes in the Gujarat elections were very high, both for BJP, which was keen to hold on to its traditional stronghold, and Congress, seeking to challenge the ruling party in its own den, the campaign was surprisingly low-key. This in spite of extensive campaigning by both prime minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.Modi addressed more than 30 rallies across the state, while Gandhi undertook yatra in all corners of the state and also addressed several rallies and public meetings. The Congress’s campaign mainly centred on the Centre’s alleged mishandling of the economy with moves such as demonetisation and hasty implementation of GST, which Gandhi dubbed as Gabbar Singh Tax. Gandhi also attacked Modi for devoting his speeches to the Congress party, while failing to utter a word about his vision for Gujarat’s future.Modi’s speeches, on the other hand, talked about the work done by him while he was the CM and now as PM, and also targeting the Congress for its alleged anti-Gujarat and anti-Gujarati mentality. He also likened Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as Congress president to Aurangzeb-raj, seen as an attempt to polarise voters.Neech, Pakistan,and what notThe election speeches, however, got nastier after the first phase of polling was over, especially after now-suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s comment used the word ‘neech’ for the PM. Modi brought up the word in speech after speech to attack the Congress.However, what led to a major controversy, and was seen by many as an attempt to polarise voters by bringing the Pakistan angle, Modi alleged that Aiyar had hosted a secret meeting with some Pakistani officials a day before calling him ‘neech’, and also accused Congress of conspiring with the enemy country to install senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel as Gujarat chief minister.While it is difficult to say if the episode influenced voters in any way, the election results suggest it did, as the BJP fared much better in the second phase than in the first one.The last of the Pakistan angle is yet to be seen as it later emerged that former PM Manmohan Singh, and former vice president Hamid Ansari were among those who had attended the dinner meeting at Aiyar’s residence. The charge, which Congress alleges amounted to Modi accusing Singh, Ansari and others of treason, continues to paralyse Parliament with the Opposition seeking an apology from the PM, and the BJP ruling out any such possibility.Vikas went missing, crazyThough the Gujarat election was supposed to be contested on the issue of development, the word Vikas somehow did not figure much in election speeches, especially those of BJP leaders. This was quite ironic considering that BJP’s election slogan was Hun Chhu Vikas, Hun Chhu Gujarat (I am development, I am Gujarat).Many believe that this was because of the Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe (Development has gone crazy) campaign that went viral on social media a few months ago. The campaign made BJP the butt of jokes, and also inspired several memes.BJP sought to hit back with the Pappuone Pachtu Nathi (Pappus cannot digest this) and other campaigns, but frankly, they didn’t catch people’s imagination.1,444 lost deposit1,444 of the 1,828 candidates who contested in the Gujarat polls lost their deposits. An analysis of the results reveals that in 172 seats, all candidates barring the winner and loser, lost their deposits. In the remaining ten seats, the third-placed candidates won more than one-sixth of the total votes polled, and hence their deposits would not be forfeited.HOW THE RESULTS WERE EXPECTED & UNEXPECTEDEXPECTED BECAUSEBJP was expected to win, it did It was expected to win less seats than in 2012, it did Congress was expected to put up a fight, it did BJP was expected to sweep urban seats, it did BJP was seen as losing ground in rural areas, it did UNEXPECTED BECAUSEBJP tally was expected to fall, but not below 100 seats, but it did The kind of reverses BJP suffered, especially in Saurashtra, were unexpected Loss of four top Congress leaders was unexpected Patidar anger failed to hurt BJP, or benefit Congress, much, quite unexpectedly POLLS IN FIGURESBJP 49.1% 1,47,24,427Cong 41.4%1,24,38,937Ind. 4.3%12,90,278BTP 0.7%2,22,694BSP 0.7%2,07,007NCP 0.6%1,84,815NOTA 1.8%5,51,615

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Once jobless, PhD woman slays 5-time BJP MLA from Unjha

About five years ago, Ashaben was 35 and held a PhD degree. But she was still jobless. After her initial frustration, she decided it was time to reform the education system in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a man who has been amply vocal about his ambitious development vision. But the hitch was: to change a system, one has to be in the system.Thus, Ashaben Patel, who has her heart in social work and soul in teaching, made the leap into politics.Ashaben’s first poll fight was in 2012, when she was beaten by a BJP MLA on 24,203 votes. Not the one to give up, she worked harder. This Assembly elections, Ashaben, now 40, toppled Narayanbhai Patel, a five-time MLA, at Unjha constituency which includes PM Modi’s hometown Vadnagar.Speaking with DNA, Ashaben said, “My native is Vishol which, too, falls under Unjha. I lost the previous elections as I was very new and people in Vadnagar did not know me. This year, I have won because of the people’s love.”Ashaben wrested the seat which falls in the Patidar-dominated Mehsana district with a margin of over 19,000 votes. She attributed her victory to her extensive social work in Vadnagar.Mehsana was the epicentre of the Patidar agitation which flared up in 2015. Ashaben bagged 81,797 votes as against Patel’s 62,268 votes.”In 2012, every one knew me in Unjha, but not in Vadnagar. My social work spread across 20 villages in Vadnagar over the past few years. Social work is carried out in small places and are low-cost affair,” she says.Ask her why she did not join the BJP. “Their ideology does not suit me,” she notes.Being a Gujarati, she does not accept BJP’s campaign – ‘Hu Chu Vikas, Hu Chu Gujarat’. “The word ‘Hu’ in Gujarati is about an individual and represents arrogance,” she points out.A PhD in Chemistry, Ashaben is a guide to six students today. “I have been into social and community work since my childhood, the reason I never got married. But when I did not get a job despite being a PhD, I had to clear GPSC to join as a class 2 officer. I wanted to teach, but did not get a job; I decided to change the education system. I first fought in zilla panchayat elections, followed by the 2012 Assembly elections.”Now that she has finally won a ticket to the Assembly, Ashaben has set her priority clear: improve the education and health care systems.SYSTEM ERRORAshaben Patel joined politics to change education system in the state Lost in 2012 polls, this time, beat BJP’s Narayan Patel in Unjha

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Gujarat elections 2017: Hardik Patel in the dock for Ahmedabad poll rally without police permission

Merely two days after election results were announced in Gujarat, a police case was lodged on Wednesday against Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel and his associates for organising a roadshow on December 11 despite not having permission from the authorities.A case was lodged with the Bopal police in Ahmedabad against the Patel, who is the convenor of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Raju Patel, Suresh Patel and 50 other members of the Patidar movement for disobeying a police notification. They have been booked under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.”In future, more cases are going to be lodged against me, this is just the start,” Patel said in response to the case. “After 9 days from the day of the incident they have opened their eye, if it was really about the notification they could have lodged the case on the same day of the rally and wouldn’t have waited. They had a fear at that time and waited for the election results to get announced. I know there is more going to come and I am ready for it.”The police, however, dismissed his allegations.”Due to the election bandobast duty and its process, the FIR process was on hold,” said Bopal police station inspector I H Gohil. “Only on Tuesday we got a reply from the Daskoi Taluka Mamlatdar regarding the matter and finally lodged a case against Patel and 52 of his members for disobeying the police order.”On December 11, City Police Commissioner AK Singh had denied permissions for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s roadshows scheduled for the next day, citing security and law-and-order issues, as well as public inconvenience. Permission for Hardik Patel’s 52-km roadshow was also denied; instead, he was allowed to have a convoy along the route with a maximum of 5 vehicles a day before.AK Singh, in his order, had said that “If any individual disobeys the police notification legal actions will be taken against them.”Nonetheless, Patel conducted the roadshow starting from Guma crossroad and ended it in Nikol area, where he was to conduct a public meeting. About 5,000 people joined the roadshow.

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Jignesh Mevani asks PM Modi to retire, go to Himalayas

Dalit activist and newly elected MLA Jignesh Mevani asked prime minister Narendra Modi to retire and go to the Himalayas. Mevani contested in the elections from Vadgam (SC) seat of Bansakantha as an independent candidate, but with Congress’s support.”I want to tell Modi ji that we are done with you. You now bore us. You should go to the Himalayas, find a Ram Temple and ring bells,” Mevani told a news channel on Wednesday, a day after returning to his home at Ahmedabad. However, Mevani’s comment did not go down too well with many in the social media criticising him for his language.In his comment Mevani also said that the BJP, which was talking about winning 150+ seats in the state, had to eat the humble pie by being restricted to under 100 seats.”We are going to fight against the BJP in 2019, and the same will happen then. We will intensify our movement, both in the assembly and outside to corner the BJP,” he said.Mevani, along with Patidar reservation agitation leader Hardik Patel and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, are seen as three youth leaders in Gujarat. While Mevani and Thakor were elected as MLAs, Hardik had only campaigned for the Congress.(With agency inputs)

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PM Modi meets BJP MPs from Gujarat, Himachal

Even as the choices for chief ministers of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are shrouded in secrecy, BJP MPs from both states met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.”Met party MPs from Himachal Pradesh. Had a wonderful interaction with BJP MPs from Gujarat,” Modi said in tweets.The two sets of MPs felicitated the Prime Minister for the two victories; the party retained Gujarat for a sixth consecutive term and recaptured Himachal after a gap of five years.Also present were party president Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The party’s state in-charge Bhupendra Yadav was also present for the Gujarat MPs’ meet, while Union Minister JP Nadda and MP Anurag Thakur were present in the meeting with Himachal MPs.Within the party, the thinking seems to be that there are no ‘moral grounds’ for making Prem Kumar Dhumal the CM, given his electoral loss. He is also just two years shy of the BJP’s 75-year caveat for retirement. The two other top contenders are Nadda and Jai Ram Thakur, a five-time winner.In Gujarat, however, Vijay Rupani is likely to stay on as CM as insiders believe removing him would look like capitulation to Patidar pressure, not to mention that he was projected as the Chief Minister face. Rupani won by a huge margin, beating one of Congress’s strongest candidates.Apart from Vijay Rupani, the other names doing rounds are that of MoS road transport and shipping Mansukh Mandaviya, Vajubhai Vala, the incumbent governor of Karnataka. Ranchodbhai Chanabhai Faldu, who is a Patel leader and won the Kalavad seat is also being projected as a Patidar face.

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FIR registered against Hardik Patel for holding roadshow in Gujarat without permission

An FIR was registered on Wednesday against Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel and around 50 of his supporters for holding a roadshow on the city outskirts on December 11 without permission, police said.The Ahmedabad Police registered the case in connection with the roadshow held in Bopal area.”Hardik, who heads the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), and his supporters were booked under IPC section 188 for disobeying the police order,” Bopal Police Inspector I H Gohil said.Hardik and his supporters, who were on their bikes, had organised a roadshow on December 11, despite being denied permission by the district authorities, he said.”Today, we have lodged an FIR against him and 50 other bikers for disobeying the police notification,” Gohil said.This is the first FIR against Hardik after the state Assembly elections.Three days before the second phase of Gujarat Assembly polls, the rally-cum-roadshow on motorcycles and cars was organised, which started from Bopal and culminated at Nikol area on the other end of the city, covering a distance of around 15 km.While Bopal area falls under the jurisdiction of rural police, Nikol area is under the city police limits.After the roadshow, Police Commissioner A K Singh had expressed displeasure over Patel’s move and said that legal action would be taken for holding the event without permission.Singh had denied permission to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to hold roadshows in the city during the campaign which the leaders of the two parties had obeyed.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Saffron wave holds on to South Gujarat

Though the Congress had its best performance in the last six elections, it is the party’s performance in Saurashtra, a traditional hub of the BJP, that could be the biggest takeaway.In 2012, the Congress won just 11 seats out of 48 in Saurashtra, and the BJP 29. The Congress has increased its tally to 26, even as the BJP’s has declined to 22.The BJP had the upper hand in Rajkot, from where Chief Minister Vijay Rupani contested, as it won five out of eight seats. In Bhavnagar, from where its state president Jitu Vaghani contested, Bjp won six out of seven seats.Buoyed by the Patel reservation agitation and support for its leader Hardik Patel, the Congress made a clean sweep in several districts. The party won all three seats in Morbi, four in Gir Somnath, and five in Amreli.Analysts said that the agrarian crisis in Saurashtra, which had led to anger against the BJP, also helped the Congress in many seats.Congress leaders Paresh Dhanani, and ex-MPs Virji Thummar and Vikram Madam, were among the key winners for the Congress.BJP holds on to south GujaratIf the BJP has been able to hold on to power in the state, it is largely thanks to south Gujarat, where it managed to more or less retain its seats in spite of GST’s impact, the Patel reservation agitation and other factors.The BJP had swept south Gujarat in 2012 winning 28 out of 35 seats on offer. In this election, it won 25 of the seats, while the Congress could increase its tally from six to eight. The Chhotu Vasava-led Bhartiya Tribal Party won two seats.The Congress was banking heavily on south Gujarat, especially Surat, but it failed to make inroads. In Surat city, the Congress failed to win a single seat out of 12, while in Surat Rural, the party won only one seat out of four.The Congress had high hopes from the five Patidar-dominated seats in Surat, but it could not breach the BJP’s fortress. The ruling party had dropped four of MLAs in the five Patidar-dominated seats to minimise the impact of the Patidar anger, and the strategy worked well.Minister Ganpat Vasava won for the fourth straight time from Mangrol (ST) seat, while former minister Chhatrasinh Mori of BJP lost from Jambusar seat.Tushar Chaudhary and former MLA Dhiru Gajera were among the other prominent losers from the Congress.Jitu Chaudhary, the Congress MLA from Kaprada (ST) seat, defeated BJP candidate Madhu Raut with a margin of just 170 votes.The BJP won three seats out of four in Navsari, and four out of five in Valsad. The Congress won both tribal seats in Tapi district, and also the Dangs seat.In Narmada district, the Congress won one seat and the Bhartiya Tribal Party the second one.Congress gains in KutchThe Congress seems to have gained in Kutch as it has won three seats out of six as against one in 2012. In 2012, the Congress won Abdasa, whereas this time, it has won Mandvi and Rapar along with Abdasa.BJP won Gandhindham, Bhuj and Anjar as against 2012 when it won five seats: Mandvi, Gandhindham, Bhuj, Rapar and Anjar.The Congress won Mandvi, Abdasa and Rapar with a margin of nearly 51,000, 10,000 and 15,000, respectively, whereas the BJP won Gandhidham, Bhuj and Anjar with a margin of nearly 20,000, 14,000 and 9,000, respectively.BJP’s Nimaben Acharya and Vasanbhai Ahir won for the second time.Congress loses edge in central GujaratThe BJP further strengthened its position in central Gujarat widening its gap with rival Congress. The Congress feels that aligning with agitating Patidars alienated the powerful Kshatriya community in the region. It has been a traditional supporter of the Congress. On the other hand, the Patidar agitation was not effective in the region resulting in net loss of two seats.Of the 40 seats that went to the polls in second phase, the BJP won 22 seats, while the Congress managed 16. Two seats went to independents. In 2012, BJP won 20 seats followed by 18 by the Congress, while one seat gone to the NCP and one to an independent candidate.Before 2012, central Gujarat region was a Congress stronghold. The BJP got strength after cooperative dairy leader Ramsinh Parmar defected to it during the recent Rajya Sabha polls. While Parmar lost from Thasra, the Congress gained in terms of seats.Congress retains seats in North When Congress dissidents in North Gujarat were up in arms after ticket distribution in North Gujarat, it seemed that the party would lose badly in the region. Mainly the opposition was against Thakor leader Alpesh Thakor, but surprisingly, the Congress did well in this region. On the other side, the BJP failed to save two of the ministers in Vijay Rupani’s government. This is the region where the hometowns of BJP bigwigs like PM Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and former CM Anandiben Patel are.

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Assembly elections 2017 result: BJP suffers defeat in PM Narendra Modi’s home district

The Unjha constituency, under which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown Vadnagar falls, on Monday slipped out of the BJP’s hands with the Congress winning the north Gujarat seat.Congress’ Ashaben Patel wrested the seat, falling in the Patidar-dominated Mehsana district, from BJP’s five-term MLA Narayanbhai Patel.Mehsana was the epicentre of the Patidar agitation, which flared up in 2015.BJP was trying to contain the damage in Unjha by playing up the fact that its local candidate heads the Umiya Dham Temple, which is revered by the Patel community, but it clearly came a cropper.Ashaben defeated Narayanbhai by a margin of 19,529 votes. She bagged 81,797 votes as against the BJP candidate’s 62,268 votes.The 79-year-old BJP veteran had defeated Ashaben, 40, in the 2012 assembly election, winning the seat by a margin of over 24,000 votes.Out of the total 2.12 lakh voters of Unjha, over 77,000 are Patidars, while around 50,000 belong to the Thakor community.Both Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi had held poll rallies in Vadnagar.Overall, in the Mehsana district, BJP won five of the seven seats, with two going to the Congress.Apart from Unjha, Congress bagged the Becharaji constituency while the Mahesana city, Kheralu, Visnagar, Kadi and Vijapur seats went to the BJP.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Hardik Patel puts blame on EVMs, vows to continue ‘struggle’

Young Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Monday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been able to win in Gujarat Assembly elections only because of money and EVM tampering.Talking to reporters as trends showed BJP’s win in the Assembly polls, the 24-year leader said, “There has been tampering in EVMs in Surat,Rajkot and Ahmedabad, hence the gap is very less wherever tampering happened. EVMs are hackable.”He also vowed to continue his “struggle” for the people of Gujarat.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Key candidates and their fateAs per the official trends provided by the Election Commission at 3:30 pm, the BJP has already bagged 46 seats while it is leading on 63 others. Congress has won in 42 Assembly constituencies while its candidates are leading on 35 other seats.Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor urged all opposition parties to take this concern against EVMs forward. Also readGujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: Rajnath Singh takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi, says ‘sar mundwate hi ole pade’ “If ATMs can be hacked, why can’t the EVMs,” he repeated his earlier remarks. Patel also congratulated the BJP for the win in a sarcastic tone. “I congratulate the BJP which wins the elections by tampering with the EVMs,” he said. On Saturday, Patel had also questioned Supreme Court’s decision to reject Congress’ plea, seeking cross-verification of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails with votes cast with Electronic Voting Machines and asked why they were used in the Gujarat elections.He had also said if EVMs were not tampered with then the exit polls’ results, which showed BJPs’ victory, would be proven wrong.Hardik Patel, who led the Patidar quota agitation last year, had extened his support to the Congress and had extensively campaigned against the ruling BJP.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP, Congress undecided on CM face

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

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Gujarat elections 2017: Will Congress’s Patidar gambit yield electoral results in Guj?

When Congress announced its intent to provide quota to Patidar community in poll-bound Gujarat this month, many wondered whether the party was back to committing the same mistake that it had committed in Maharashtra, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in past polls.If what all exit polls suggested about BJP’s win in Gujarat, it is clear that Congress quota gambit has once again not paid rich dividends.Like its past promises to provide reservation to Marathas in Maharastra and Jaat in Haryana failed to yield much electoral gains to it in 2014 Lok Sabha poll, even the quota promise to Patidars seem to have led to a kind of counter polarisation among the reserved classes.Releasing party manifesto in Ahmedabad on December 4, Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki, announced reservation in jobs and education to Patidars under a special category. It said that a special bill will be brought to provide quotas to those who are not presently entitled by quota and the quota given to OBCs, STs, SCs will not be touched. Congress said that Patidars will get quota under special category.Congress said that if it won the Gujarat elections, it would pass a proposal for reservations under Articles 31-C and 46 of the Constitution.”We will consult all stakeholders on reservation to Patidars and a commission will be constituted for this purpose,” Solanki said adding that a bill will be introduced in the assembly.Hardik Patel accepted the formula, elating Congress leaders. Votes of Patidars could have influenced results in more than 60 of 182 Assembly constituencies. If the exit polls are correct, then this did not happen. Possibly it also led to a kind of polarisation for BJP among OBCs. It should not be forgotten that though Hardik and Alpesh Thakor, both backed Congress, Alpesh has risen in stature, countering the former’s agitation for reservation for Patidars.BJP is learnt to have worked seriously on the sizeable Koli community among OBCs to offset the losses from its erstwhile core vote Patidars going towards the Congress. A few months before Lok Sabha poll, the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra granted reservation benefits to the dominant Maratha caste there. It had announced to provide 16 percent to reservation to Maratha to five percent to Muslims in jobs and education.Amid the raging demand for Jaat reservation in Haryana, the Manmohan Singh government at the Centre then announced quota to the dominant peasant community in nine states. While both the measures could not stand legal scrutiny, the move also failed to bring any electoral gains to Congress. BJP not only romped home in both states in Lok Sabha elections but also won with huge margins in subsequent assembly elections there in 2015, replacing the Congress-NCP and Congress government in both states. In the Jaat dominated regions of North India, Congress stands marginalised.Many Congress leaders in private argue that such quota promises proved counter productive.POWER OF PATIDAR?Votes of Patidars could have influenced results in more than 60 of 182 Assembly constituencies. If the exit polls are correct, then this did not happen. Possibly it also led to a kind of polarisation for BJP among OBCs. It should not be forgotten that though Hardik and Alpesh Thakor, both backed Congress, Alpesh has risen in stature.

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Pune: BJP RS MP Sanjay Kakade predicts party’s loss in Gujarat

During Pune municipal elections earlier this year, he had predicted 92 seats for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and he was ready to quit politics if his prediction goes wrong. His party went on to win 98 seats in PMC and now the same MP of BJP Sanjay Kakade has predicted that his party will not win enough number of seats in Gujarat election.After the voting in Gujarat, most of the exit poll surveys have been predicting a victory for BJP but Kakade, the Rajya Sabha MP claimed that he has done his own survey in the state and according to the findings of his survey, performance of his own party will be dismal. Speaking to DNA, Kakade said, “I had sent a team of six people to Gujarat and they have covered mostly the rural part of the state. They have met farmers, labourers, waiters and drivers. According to their survey, the party is not getting enough number of seats to reach to majority. In fact, it is the Congress party who is likely to reach close to majority mark.”Also readEC orders repolling in 6 booths of second phase in Gujarat”The Patidar community has supported Congress, the Dalits are supporting Congress and Muslims have been traditionally voting Congress party. Therefore, nearly 70 percent of the population is with Congress party which is why I feel, Congress will win enough number of seats to reach close to majority,” he said.Kakade stated that he had made his own observations about the Gujarat election and a there was no mention of the topic of development by his party leaders in the last phase of the campaign. “During last few rallies, our leaders did not speak about the development. The rallies were mostly aimed at making emotional appeal to voters and targeting opposition,” Kakade said.Also readGujarat elections 2017: Stars point at close contest, with an edge to BJPHe also stated that BJP was in power for 22 years and there is a negativity against the party. “Since independence, only communists have regained the power in West Bengal for a longer period of time. Apart from that, there is not a single party which has got the power for more than 25 years. At present there is negativity against the party in Gujarat. In spite of that negativity, if BJP wins the election, it will be because of only and only Narendra Modi,” Kakade said.

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

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

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Gujarat elections 2017: 12 of 14 marginal seats see drop in voter turnout

Most seats that were won by a margin of up to 5,000 votes in the 2012 elections registered a fall in voter turnout in phase 2 of polling in Gujarat. While the rise in two seats is marginal, the drop in a dozen seats is up to 16 per cent according to the final voter turn out.Sharp deviation in voter turnout in such constituencies means that the vulnerability of the past winner has increased in the 2017 election. Of the 14 Assembly seats in the second phase, Congress had won eight seats in the previous elections, BJP won five and NCP one. All the seats where BJP won witnessed a fall in turnout in the 2017 elections. While two constituencies where Congress had won witnessed a nominal rise in turnout, the rest of the seats saw a drop between one and 16 per cent.The turnout in Jetpur-ST constituency dropped from 72.54 per cent in 2012 to 56.21 per cent in 2017. Congress had won it by a margin of 4,273 seats in 2012. The party attributes the fall in voter turnout to giving the constituency to ally Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP). “As the Congress candidate was not contesting for the seat, workers were not motivated enough and so their participation was low, resulting in lower voter mobilisation,” said Kailash Gadhvi, spokesman of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee.He attributed the fall in voter turnout to the disenchantment of voters with the 22-year BJP rule in Gujarat. “These voters have been disillusioned. They had hopes, which BJP failed to deliver. So these BJP voters either did not vote or voted for the Congress,” said Gadhvi. The longer duration of voting because of the use of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) also caused a lag of about second seconds per voter. This had an effect in booths that had traditionally high turnout, he said claiming that Congress has emerged stronger in both rural and urban seats in 2017.The Patidar factor could also have affected in Patel dominated seats of Kalol, Bapunagar, Gandhinagar-North and Anand.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Sabarkantha, Mehsana see highest voting, Dahod lowest

Sabarkantha and Mehsana districts saw the highest turnout of voters in the second phase of the Gujarat assembly elections on Thursday, official sources said. The overall turnout in 93 seats of the 14 districts that went to polls today, was recorded at 68.70%, about two percent higher than the 66.75% turnout in the first phase. Of the 2.23 crore registered voters, 1.54 crore exercised their right to vote, said officials.Voting figures released by the State’s Chief Electoral Officer show that Sabarkantha district, which comprises four seats, recorded 77% turnout, the highest among all districts. Out of 9.85 lakh eligible voters, 7.58 lakh exercised their right to vote.Mehsana, the epicentre of the Patidar reservation stir, saw 75% turnout. Being the hometown of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former chief minister Anandiben Patel, and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, who contested from Mehsana assembly seat, Mehsana district is a battle of prestige for the BJP. Another north Gujarat district of Banaskantha saw the third highest turnout at 74%.Anand (73%), Vadodara (73%), Panchmahals (72%), Chhota Udepur (70%) and Kheda (70%) were the other five districts that saw more than 70% polling.Surprisingly, the tribal-dominated Dahod district recorded just 60% voting, the lowest among the 14 districts. The turnout was in sharp contrast to tribal-dominated districts of south Gujarat, each of which had recorded more than 70% voting in the first phase. In some of the pockets, the turnout was as high as 84% in the first phase.Ground reportOverall turnout in 93 seats of the 14 districts that went to polls today, was recorded at 68.70%, about two percent higher than the 66.75% turnout in the first phase. Anand (73%), Vadodara (73%), Panchmahals (72%), Chhota Udepur (70%) and Kheda (70%) were the other five districts that saw more than 70% polling.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Ghatlodia BJP candidate promises vikas

BJP’s election in-charge in 2012 and Ghatlodia candidate Bhupendra Patel promised more development at Ghatlodia, a well developed zone.For Patel, the biggest challenge is to tackle traffic and he promised solutions.He said, “Ghatlodia is spread out. In terms of kilometres, it is huge and is a challenge as a lot of new areas like Gota, Lilapur, etc are developing. My biggest priority will be to provide basic facilities which includes garden and beautification and provide Narmada water to maximum areas. Another biggest concern is traffic on SG highway and SP ring road so my focus will be to ease the traffic problems.””For ease of traffic woes, we have already constructed five flyovers. We are dedicated to construct more flyovers, to ease the traffic burden on roads,” Patel added.Ghatlodia is a BJP bastion where Anandiben in 2012 had won with more than a one lakh margin. This time again, there is a target to maintain the leader, amid Patidar agitations. Patel is addressing different age groups, and also conducting door-to-door campaigns.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Hardik Patel’s bike rally draws big crowds

Patidars of Ahmedabad thronged the roads to join the motorcycle rally of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel on Monday.Before starting the rally in Ghuma, Hardik visited Khodiyar temple to take blessings. The rally that started around 11.30 am had nearly 500 bikers escorting the vehicle of the young Patidar leader amidst heavy deployment of cops. Among those who joined were women Patidars as well as their families. Residents of Ghuma and Bopal showed their support by coming out of their societies.A confident Hardik said, “We are getting good response and I am confident.”Resident of Ghuma and biker Prakashbhai Patel said that Congress is on the winning track. Prakashbhai had taken leave from his office to participate in the rally.Bikers were constantly chanting slogans such as ‘Jay Sardar’, ‘Dekho Modi kaun Aya, Hardik tera baap aya’.At different intervals, Hardik was welcomed with garlands and flowers were showered on him. At Pancharipuri near Sola Bhagwat, Pallaviben Patel, a resident of Shayona city, waited patiently at the town circle for the rally. She said, “BJP has not done anything for the middle class. I support Hardik and have come to see him.”The Patidar-dominated area of Ghatlodia, which suffered damage during the 2015 agitation, had not just heavy deployment of cops but also that of personnel of Rapid Action Force (RAF).At a society in Ghatlodia, women were seen waving to Hardik. Kalpanaben Raghvani, a homemaker, said, “We don’t care about any party. We are out here to see Hardik.”Shantibhai Chaparia, another onlooker, said: “All this ruckus has been created by Hardik only. I have been living in Ghatlodia for years, but I belong to Kutch which is 500 kilometres away. My village was parched but Modi has done that magic of bringing water, and that is a big thing for me. I am here only to see Hardik; there is no harm in seeing him.”

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Gujarat elections 2017: Final phase 1 turnout at 66.75%, says EC

A total of 66.75% voters cast their votes in the first phase of the state assembly elections held on Saturday, officials said on Sunday, a day after pegging the approximate turnout at 68%. The turnout in the 2012 assembly elections was 72.02%, which means the turnout in the first phase is more than 5% lower than the overall polling in the last elections.Voting statistics released by the State’s Chief Electoral Officer show that 1.42 crore out of 2.12 crore eligible voters exercised their right to vote in the elections to 89 assembly seats in Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat.Out of 1.11 crore eligible male voters, 76.60 lakh cast their votes. In the case of female voters, 65.11 lakh cast their votes as against 1.02 crore eligible voters.”The male turnout in the first phase was 68.98%, and female turnout was 64.30%,” officials said.The statistics shows that out of the 247 third gender voters, only 89, or 36%, exercised their right to vote.As is the case in almost every election, tribal dominated districts reported the highest turnout. Narmada district recorded 79.15% turnout, and was followed by Tapi with 78.56% and Navsari with 73.19%.Morbi district in Saurashtra also recorded exactly 73.19% turnout in Saturday’s elections, and was the only district outside the tribal belt among the top three.As far as the other tribal dominated districts are concerned, Bharuch recorded 73.01% voter turnout, Valsad 72.69%, and Dangs 72.64%, the statistics show.Gir Somnath district of Saurashtra saw 68.61% voter turnout. Rajkot, the home town of chief minister Vijay Rupani, was eighth in terms of turnout with 66.78%.In Surat, which has 16 assembly seats, including five dominated by Patidar community, and three tribal reserved seats, the turnout was 66.39%. BJP had won all 12 assembly seats in Surat city in 2012, but a failure to repeat its performance, owing to the Patidar anger, could hurt its chances of forming the government again.Surendranagar saw 65.27% turnout, the tenth highest among the 19 districts, as per the data.Incidentally, Saurashtra, a traditional stronghold of BJP, where the BJP had won 33 out of 48 seats on offer, saw much lower voter turnout as compared with south Gujarat.Officials said that Devbhumi Dwarka recorded 59.39% voter turnout, which was the lowest among all 19 districts. It was followed by Amreli with 61.29% voting. Congress leaders Paresh Dhanani and Virji Thummar, and BJP leaders Dileep Sanghani and Bavku Undhad were among the candidates in fray from different seats in Patidar-dominated Amreli.Bhavnagar, from where state BJP president Jitu Vaghani was among the candidates, saw 61.56% turnout of voters, which was the third lowest among all the districts.Porbandar, the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, from where Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia, minister Babu Bokhiria and Godmother Santokben Jadeja’s son and NCP MLA Kandhal Jadeja were contesting, recorded the fourth lowest turnout at 61.86%.Botad district, from where former heavyweight minister Saurabh Patel and minister Atmaram Parmar were among the key contestants, saw 62.08% voting, the fifth lowest.Kutch, the second largest district in the country in terms of area, from where senior Congress MLA Shaktisinh Gohil and BJP MLA Nima Acharya were among the prominent contestants, recorded 63.95% turnout, the data showed.HIGHEST TURNOUTDistrict Voting (%)Narmada 79.15Tapi 78.56Navsari 73.19Morbi 73.19Bharuch 73.01LOWEST TURNOUTDistrict Voting (%)Devbhumi Dwarka 59.39Amreli 61.29Bhavnagar 61.56Porbandar 61.86Botad 62.08OVERALL VOTERSTotal Voters: 2,12,31,652Votes cast: 1,41,71,717Turnout: 66.75FemaleVoters: 1,01,25,472Votes Cast: 65,11,110Turnout: 64.30%Third GenderVoters: 247Votes Cast: 89Turnout: 36%(Source: Gujarat CEO)

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Gujarat Election 2017: Congress took ‘supari’ to lose polls, BJP will win, says former CM Shankarsinh Vaghela

Having headed the two main political parties in Gujarat, former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela is convinced that the Congress has deliberately lost out to the BJP, which will end up with a majority in the state Assembly elections.Vagela, who quit the Congress earlier this year, believed that the opposition party’s central leadership had taken a “supari” (contract) from the BJP to lose the Assembly elections and predicted a clear majority for the ruling party in the state.The six-time MP who left the Congress to float his outfit, Jan Vikalp Morcha, a few months ahead of the polls, also claimed that Patidar leader Hardik Patel would be “history” after this election.”People like him only serve their own interests. You will see that once the election gets over, he will be history,” Vaghela, who was the chief of the Congress and the BJP in the state at different times, told PTI in an interview.In the forefront of state politics for more than three decades, 77-year-old Vaghela, earlier with the BJP, felt the Congress could have won the election if it had started preparing for it earlier.”The BJP has a strong organisation in Gujarat and a massive base of party workers. If you have to challenge them you need to start your groundwork at least six months before the elections,” he added.Vaghela, who was state chief minister from 1996 to 1997, said he had told Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that the party could win more than 90 seats and be able to form the government.”I also made it clear to him that I don’t want to be the chief minister. He also assured me that he was my friend in Delhi and would support me in running the party in the state,” Vaghela said.But a few leaders in the party’s high command did not want the party to win the elections, he claimed.”Leaders in the Congress’s central leadership have taken a supari (contract) from the BJP to lose the election in Gujarat. They could have won it,” he said, adding that the BJP would get more than 110 seats and form the government.He further said this would have been the best opportunity for the Congress to win an election as people were looking for a chance.”The BJP is shrewd in its political management and the Congress ignored that fact by not doing its groundwork,” he said.Vaghela also ruled out any possibility of going back to the BJP.”The party had offered a ticket to my son but he refused it, so there is no question,” Vaghela said.He said while he would not contest an election, he would continue to remain in politics and public life.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Highest turnout in South Gujarat, Congress buoyant

South Gujarat, which saw a near sweep by the BJP in the 2012 elections, witnessed the highest turnout in the firest phase of Assembly polls on Saturday. As against the average turnout of 68% in the state in the first phase of polling, all seven districts in south Gujarat, including Surat, recorded more than 70% voter turnout, officials said.According to the Election Commission, Navsari district recorded 75% voter turnout, the highest in the state. Approximately 73% voter turnout was recorded in Narmada and Tapi, while Bharuch, the home town of Congress leader Ahmed Patel, saw 71% polling. Surat and Dangs also saw more than 70% turnout. Incidentally, in these districts, the 14 tribal dominated seats saw even higher turnout.Even as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that the high turnout would work in BJP’s favour and the party would sweep the elections, many believe that anti-incumbency contributed in a big way to the high polling, especially in Patidar dominated seats in Surat.Of the 35 seats in Bharuch, Narmada, Surat, Tapi, Valsad, Navsari and Dangs districts that form the south Gujarat region, the BJP had won as many as 28 in the 2012 elections, including a clean sweep in Surat city where it won all the 12 seats, while Congress had won just six. However, a repeat of the performance is seen as highly unlikely.The Patidar anger towards the BJP over denial of reservation benefits to the community is seen as a factor that would hurt the party in the elections. In a bid to minimise the impact of this, the BJP had dropped four of its five MLAs, and fielded new faces in Patidar dominated seats in Surat city. However, high turnout in each of these seats could be an ominous sign for the party. While Kishore Kanani, the lone Patidar MLA from Surat to be repeated, exuded confidence that the community would again support his party, a Congress leader in the Diamond City said that his party was confident of winning three of the five Patidar dominated seats. “The anger among Patidar voters towards BJP is clearly visible. The BJP may deny this, but it will have to accept it on December 18,” said a Congress leader. If this happens, it would be the first time since 2002 that Congress will win a seat in Surat city.The party had failed to win even a single seat in the city in 2007 and 2012 polls. It had last won the Surat East seat in 2002, which has a considerable minority population. A party worker said that Muslims voted in large numbers from the constituency on Saturday.Even though demonetisation and GST dealt huge blows to textile, diamond and other industries in Surat, the BJP is confident of retaining seats such as Udhna, Choryasi, Majura, Olpad, Surat West and Limbayat seats. However, its vote share could see a decline, said party insiders.In Surat district, senior minister Ganpat Vasava is likely to record his fourth straight win from Mangrol (ST) seat. Congress leader Tushar Chaudhary is also expected to give a tough fight to sitting MLA from Mahuva (ST) seat Mohan Dhodiya.In Bharuch, BJP had won four out of five seats in 2012, but it faces a challenge in retaining all four. Strongman and sitting MLA Chhotu Vasava, who is contesting from Jhagadia (ST) on the Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) symbol in alliance with Congress, is also expected to win. In Navsari, the BJP had won three out of four seats, and the result is expected to remain the same.In Narmada, BJP had won both Nandod (ST) and Dediapada (ST) seats in 2012. However, Chhotu Vasava’s son Mahesh, who had lost the last time, could avenge his loss this time. The Congress has not put up a candidate from the seat this time.In tribal-dominated Tapi, the BJP and Congress had shared the honours by winning one seat each in 2012. A repeat of the same is expected this year. Congress is also confident of retaining the Dangs (ST) seat. BJP has repeated all three of its sitting MLAs in Valsad, viz. Kanu Desai, Bharat Patel and Raman Patkar, and they are unlikely to disappoint, said insiders. However, the two tribal dominated seats of Dharampur and Kaprada are likely to go to Congress again.WILL DIAMOND CITY THROW UP A SURPRISEIn a bid to minimise the impact of this, the BJP had dropped four of its five MLAs, and fielded new faces in Patidar dominated seats in Surat city. The 14 tribal dominated seats saw even higher turnout. Many believe that anti-incumbency contributed in a big way to the high polling, especially in Patidar dominated seats in Surat. In Surat district, senior minister Ganpat Vasava is likely to record his fourth straight win from Mangrol (ST) seat. Take money, give vote: Video goes viral A video showing a man distributing money to voters of Desaiwadi going to exercise their franchise has gone viral on Saturday. The video is reportdely from Umer Sadi of Pardi Constituency in Valsad. The video taken between 8 to 9 am allegedly shows the nephew of BJP candidate Kanu Desai giving Rs100 to each voter. The video also shows him noting down their name in the list.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Patidar strongholds witness high turnout in first phase

In close to 10 constituencies where the Patidar vote is considered significant, Patidars in large numbers came out to vote for the first phase of voting on Saturday. The voting in rural areas is higher than in urban areas. The community, once a hardcore supporter of BJP, is at the centre-stage of the elections, as young Patidars are now up in arms against the BJP government.While average voting is close to 70 per cent, early estimates indicate 62 per cent voting in Bhavnagar district, higher at 67 per cent in Amreli and 70 per cent in Surat. Leading politicians, whose fate will be decided in these constituencies include Dilip Sanghani (Dhari), and Bavku Undhad (Amreli) of BJP, while those of Congress include Paresh Dhanani (Amreli) and Dhiru Gajera (Varachha Road).High turnout in these seats has made the contest keen between Congress and BJP, but results of these constituencies are critical for BJP, as it holds nine out of these 10 constituencies in the outgoing Legislative Assembly (2012-17). Apart from Amreli, all the seats were either won by BJP or the winner later on defected to BJP.This time the situation is compltely inverse, as the Patidars are angry with the BJP for denying them reservations as well as raining ‘atrocities’ against them during the Patidar Agitation of August 2015. Surat, which has five of the 10 seats, is widely affected by GST and the traders who supported BJP are now antagonistic against the party.Meanwhile, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel appealed to voters from across castes to vote BJP out of Gujarat in the elections. In a live broadcast over Facebook, he said that it is not that he likes Congress, but instead that BJP needs to be taught a lesson as it is indifferent to the voters that voted it to power. He added that if the BJP regains power, people will have no one but themselves to blame.”How can the government commit atrocities on the people who brought it to power? Now, they have become extremely arrogant. They are trying to curb the voice of the people. I appeal to voters to vote out BJP. Do not vote for Independent, AAP, NCP or other parties,” Hardik said while appealing to voters on social media. He went on to admit that though he is not a fan of Congress, if voters feel that Congress failed to solve their problems, then they can vote them out in the next elections.Key SeatsAmreli: Dhari, Lathi, Savarkundla, AmreliBhavnagar: GariadharSurat: Karanj, Katargam, Kamrej, Limbayat, Varachha Road, Surat – NorthKey Patidar leaders in the first phaseBJP: Jitu Vaghani, Saurabh Patel, Dileep Sanghani, Bavku Undhad, RC Faldu, Raghavji Patel, Haribhai Patel, Chiman Saparia, Jayesh RadadiyaCongress: Paresh Dhanani, Dhiru Gajera, Virji Thumar

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Gujarat Elections 2017: 68% turnout in Phase 1, EC rejects Congress’ Bluetooth-EVM hack complaint

Over 68 per cent turnout was recorded today in the first phase of polling for 89 Assembly seats in Gujarat where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress’s soon-to-be chief Rahul Gandhi are locked in a bitter, high-stakes battle after a 22-year BJP reign.The final voting figure was set to go up as people stood in queues outside polling centres even after the closing time of 5 pm, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said in Delhi.Four persons were injured in clashes between two groups of the same community at Chorvila village of Sayla tehsil of Surendranagar district. The polls, however, largely passed off peacefully.Opposition leaders expressed apprehensions about electronic voting machine (EVM) tampering, a charge rejected by the EC. The BJP took pot-shots at the Congress saying that the party was looking for excuses.State Election Commission officials said there were reports of technical glitches in EVMs in Surat and some other places, but the polling resumed after the machines were replaced.Sixty eight per cent of the 2.1 crore voters exercised their franchise, Sinha said.Also readGujarat Elections: ‘No question of any challenge’, says CM Vijay Rupani who’s contesting against richest candidate The prime minister thanked the people of Gujarat for turning out in record numbers.”Thank you Gujarat! Gratitude to my sisters and brothers of Gujarat for voting in record numbers today. I am seeing that BJP is headed towards a historic victory, powered by the affection and support of every Gujarati,” he tweeted.Responding to a series of questions on reports of EVM tampering, Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Jain said a complaint filed by a Congress candidate in Porbandar regarding his cell phone connecting to an EVM through ‘bluetooth’ was found to be incorrect.Also readHeard EVMs are picking up gravitational waves: Twitter in splits after Congress leader thought Bluetooth could hack EVMsThe complaint was lodged by senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia. In a tweet, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had also asked the EC to look into the reports of EVM malfunctioning.Jain said experts found that the cell phone actually connected to the bluetooth of a polling agent’s mobile.The EVM has “no receptors” and cannot be connected to any other device except the control unit and the paper trail machine, he said, adding it has no bluetooth or USB (pen drive in common parlance) port.Officials said 977 candidates were in the fray from the 89 seats of Saurashtra and south Gujarat, of which 63 were won by the BJP and 22 by the Congress in the 2012 Assembly polls.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: EC disposes Congress leader’s ‘Bluetooth EVM’ hacking complaint after investigationIn the 2012 elections, the voting percentage was 70.07 while it was 60 per cent in 2007 polls in the corresponding constituencies of the 182-member Assembly.Several key leaders, including Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his opponent from Rajkot (West) Indranil Rajyaguru, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani were among the early voters.Cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara also cast his vote in Rajkot.Prominent candidates in today’s battle included Rupani and Congress’s Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi) and Paresh Dhanani (Amreli).As the polling process began at 8 am, people stepped out of their houses braving the winter chill and queued up to cast votes.With the marriage season on, brides and grooms, clad in wedding finery, came to polling booths along with their relatives to exercise their franchise. Many such voters were seen in Bharuch, Bhavnagar, Gondal and Surat.A 115-year-old woman from Upleta town of Rajkot, Aajiben Chandravadia, also voted, reports said.As per the turnout data of 8am to 5pm, both Navsari of south Gujarat and Morbi district of Saurashtra recorded the highest turnout of 75 per cent. Porbandar and Botad districts in Saurashtra recorded the lowest turnout of 60 per cent.In Visavadar town of Junagadh district, BJP candidate Kirit Patel allegedly entered into a heated argument with the election officer. “That was a minor incident. Patel was unhappy over some issue related to the timing of the polling,” said an official.In Surat, a person called Ashwin Patel, who claims to be running a parallel Patidar quota agitation, alleged that some persons attacked his car.The election in Modi’s home state is crucial for the BJP and Congress ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and is seen as a prestige battle for the prime minister, who was the chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, and a litmus test for the opposition party’s heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi.Emotive issues of religion and caste competed with that of development and the attacks by the two parties often turned personal as leaders indulged in name-calling.The Congress, in political wilderness in Gujarat for nearly 22 years, is desperate to break the jinx. It has raised questions on BJP’s Gujarat “development model”, demonetisation and GST.The BJP is banking on its performance and Modi’s popularity to counter any anti-incumbency or the impact of the Patidar quota stir. Modi has attacked the Congress over the issue of dynastic politics and corruption and invoked “Gujarati pride’ in his campaign speeches.While Modi addressed about 15 rallies for the first of the two-stage polls, Gandhi spent over seven days in Saurashtra and south Gujarat emerging as the Congress pivot to take on the prime minister on his home turf.EC officials said a total of 26,865 ballot units (on which votes are cast), 24,689 control units which are kept with the presiding officer and an equal number of paper trail machines were deployed.Out of these, 181 ballot units (0.6 per cent of the total), 223 control units (0.55 per cent of the total) and 714 paper trail machines (1.75 per cent of the total) were replaced during polling, they said.Over 6,000 ballot papers were electronically transferred to service voters, a major achievement considering that the practice of e-ballots was new, Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena said in Delhi.The second phase of polling in 93 seats will be held on December 14 while the counting of votes is scheduled on December 18.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Gujarat phase 1 polling in 89 seats today

The stage is set for the first round of the all important Gujarat Assembly elections, which are expected to be a closely contested one. On Saturday, 89 seats in Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat will go to polls, five days before the remaining 93 assembly seats. More than 2.12 crore voters will decide the fate of 977 candidates who are contesting in the first phase.The BJP has won the previous five Assembly elections, each of them with a comfortable margin, but the Congress is keen to end its losing streak in the state. If reports are anything to go by, these elections are likely to be the closest in the past couple of decades. There are many who expect the elections to go to the wire.While the BJP is betting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity, and ‘Vikas’ to woo voters, the Congress expects to draw a large number of voters away from the ruling party in view of the Patidar unrest, and economic disruptions caused by demonetisation and GST.Even as Modi has directed his energies at targeting the Congress for its anti-Gujarat mentality, Gandhi has hit back with repeated jibes at Modi, citing the economic slowdown, agrarian crisis, unemployment, and other issues in a bid to boost his party’s electoral fortunes.Though the campaign has been relatively low-key, controversial statements have kept up the poll heat. Modi likened Rahul’s elevation as Congress president to Aurangzeb Raj, while BJP leaders targeted Rahul for his temple visits. However, now suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s comment describing Modi as ‘neech’ on Thursday came just in the nick of time for the ruling party, who made it a huge issue in the past couple of days to target Congress’s elite mentality.Coming back to the polls, Saurashtra and south Gujarat could actually decide the fate of the elections.The two regions are BJP strongholds. In the 2012 elections, the party had won 33 out of 48 seats in Saurashtra, and 28 out of 35 seats in south Gujarat. In Kutch, it had won five out of six seats. The Congress had won only 19 of 89 seats.BJP insiders admit that a repeat of the performance is highly unlikely; in fact, they expect to see some reverses, owing mainly to the Patidar factor. The community dominates in more than 30 seats in these regions.The Congress has also been buoyed by Patidar reservation stir leader Hardik Patel’s support. In spite of his alleged sex tapes, Hardik continues to remain highly popular in the community, especially among youths.Agrarian issues, particularly in Saurashtra, is also expected to hurt the BJP.Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani, Assembly speaker Ramanlal Vora, Congress leaders Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia and Paresh Dhanani, are among the 977 candidates in fray in the first phase.The remaining 93 seats, in north and Central Gujarat, where Congress had won more than 40 seats in 2012, go to polls in the second phase on December 14. The counting of votes will take place on December 18.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP claims its support, Khodaldham rebuts

Hours after the BJP claimed that influential Leuva Patel community leader Naresh Patel had declared support for it in the coming elections, Shree Khodaldham Trust, the body that Patel heads, rebutted the claims, and asked voters to ignore any such messages.The media cell of Gujarat BJP sent messages to journalists on Tuesday afternoon stating that Khodaldham Trust chairman Naresh Patel had in a meeting appealed to the Patel community for a win for BJP and state BJP president Jitu Vaghani, who is contesting from Bhavnagar West seat. The media cell also released pictures of a meeting between Patel and Vaghani, and another with Patel and some Patidar community members.As the message went viral, Khodaldham Trust quickly came out to reject BJP’s claim.”A message has gone viral in social media that Nareshbhai has declared support for a particular party. This is a rumour, and I reject it,” Khodaldham Trust president Paresh Gajera said.Gajera said that Naresh Patel and Jitu Vaghani had met, but it was only a courtesy meeting.”Khodaldham Trust is a neutral body. It has never declared support for any party, nor has it spoken against any party. Patidar community is connected with all parties, and the Trust respects all parties,” he said, while reiterating that “Khodaldham is a non-political organisation, and wants to remain one”.Gajera also asked voters of the community to ignore any such messages and claims in the elections.Patidar reservation stir leader Hardik Patel, who has announced support for Congress in the elections, too had met Naresh Patel last week. Hardik had said after the meeting that he had cleared doubts that the Khodaldham chairman head. Even at the time, the Trust had reiterated its non-political role.The Patidars, one of the most influential communities in elections, have traditionally supported BJP in the past few decades, but many in the community are unhappy over denial of reservation benefits to them by the state government. They are said to be considering extending support to other parties, which is why both BJP and Congress are aggressively wooing the community.
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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 manifesto promises farm loan, Patidar quota

With less than a week to go for the Gujarat Assembly polls, Congress on Monday released its election manifesto. Congress in its manifesto has promised to waive off farmer loans and also to give quota to the Patidar community. This has been a longstanding demand of the Patels, which sparked off violent protest in the state in past. Now, the party in its manifesto has assured that the party will give quota to the Patidars without touching the reservations already there for SC, STs and OBC community. The Gujarat assembly elections are to be held on December 9 and December 14 and the results will be declared on December 18.Also readGujarat elections 2017 | Gujarat has fallen behind Maharashtra in 22 years: Prithviraj ChavanHere are some of the points of the party’s manifesto:1. Bill will be introduced in the Assembly to give reservation to the Patidars under special category. Quota for SC, ST and OBCs not to be touched. Also readGujarat elections 2017: Bharuch fishermen unhappy with BJP2. Farmer loan to be waived off. Also, farmers to be given at least 16 hours of electricity. 3. Petrol and diesel prices in the state will be reduced by Rs 10 /litre.4. Remunerative MSP pricing with declaration before beginning of season. 5. Youth unemployment allowance upto Rs. 4000 per month; 100% finance for small self-employed entrepreneurs from all communities. 6. 200 square meters plots with 0% down payment and 5 years moratorium in GIDC for all self employed youth; withdrawal of contractual, outsourcing and fixed salary structure and filling of vacancies in government jobs 7. All college students will be provided laptops and smartphones.8. To end contract-based system in all government jobs and the contractual workers are to be made permanent.9. There will be fast-track courts to ensure women’s safety and to deal crimes against women in the state.10. Subsidised house for all women who don’t have any houses.
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Gujarat elections 2017: Will Saurabh Patel card help BJP win Botad?

Can Gujarat BJP’s flamboyant leader Saurabh Patel who was once considered a successor to PM Narendra Modi and then to Anandiben Patel in the state pull a coup of sorts and rescue BJP in Patidar bastion of Botad.Saurabh has been away from the limelight since Vijay Rupani replaced Anandiben Patel as CM. Armed with an MBA degree from USA, Saurabh is the son-in-law of Ramnikbhai, the elder brother of late Dhirubhai Ambani. In Patel villages in the constituency, which has both Kadva and Leuva Patel, there is a discerning anger against the BJP. To make the matters worse for the ruling party, Congress has fielded a Leuva Pate leader DM Patel.But the development works done by Saurabh in the constituency when he represented it thrice before shifting to Akota Assembly seat in 2012, are recalled by people. BJP dropped its sitting MLA Maniya Thakarshibhai Devjibhai, who had won the seat with 86,184 votes in 2012 assembly polls. Complaints are galore in the constituency that the development pace triggered in the constituency by Patel, then a high- profile minister in Gujarat government, came to a halt between 2012 and 2017.That both the BJP and Congress are so keen on the constituency is clear from the fact that while BJP risked two seats dropping one sitting MLA and shifting the other, the Congress also brought in DM Patel, replacing Manhar Patel it earlier named for Botad just hours before the deadline for nomination filing expired to give a challenge the Gujarat’s former minister.At Sitaram Nagar in Botad, a BJP supporter Kalpesh Darbari says, “BJP would have lost the election had it not brought in Saurahbhai. DM Patel was initially in Congress. He then joined BJP and became Chairman in the marketing yard. This time he is back in Congress and contesting as MLA. But he is a light weight in comparison to Saurabhbhai.”In the nearby Sethadi village dominated by Patels, the issue of Patidar agitation for reservation kicks up a heated debate. “Saurabh Patel will not get our votes due to lotus (BJP’s poll symbol) this time. Yes we had earlier been voting for BJP but not this time,” says Jayesh Lania.In Nagalpad, Ankesh Patel who works in Morbi Ceramics, said, “Saurabh Patel will get some votes from the community, which has been a traditional BJP supporter. Darbaris, Prajapatis, Brahmins, Baniya, Dalvadis, Rawaldeo and some other smaller castes of OBC give a favourable response towards BJP.”At Nagalpad, Kalubhai Samant says “500 to 600 Rawaldeo community members went to Saurabh Patel recently and requested for a boundary wall to their shamshan. He has agreed.” He says he ”samaj” has been voting for BJP for long and there is no change even now.In the Koli- Patel (OBC) dominated Dhanduka Assembly segment BJP MLA Kolipatel Laljibhai Chatrubhai is contesting against Congress’ Rajesh Koli, a lawyer. Youth Congress worker overseeing the social media campaign of the constituency says he is baffled how Rajesh Koli’s name was announced as the district president of Congress Harpal Singh and Raju Bhai were stronger candidates.PADMAVATI AND PAANIAt Rayaka Village, the Rajput youths talk with gusto about Padmavati controversy. “We had protested against the release of the film. We are happy that the film was not released,” says Harpal Singh. Maganbhai in Botad recalls how the area faced acute water crisis which was resolved after Saurabh represented the constituency.
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Gujarat elections 2017: With Patels’ support, BJP feels safe in Anand

In a poll-bound state where Patels are going to be a deciding factor to leading a political party’s future, the BJP is feeling safe and secure in Anand city constituency. Local leaders in the constituency say they have worked for the people and introduced many projects.”Several development projects have been implemented in the constituency. We have introduced all facilities and doing changes as per central government schemes. We have allotted around Rs10 crore for beautification of two lakes in city. All streetlights in city are LED and all areas have roads,” said Vijay Patel, president pf Anand Nagarpalika.”To increase the tree cover in city, we have planted 10,000 neem samplings this year. Taking ahead the agenda of development, we are going to make dust free zones in some pockets of city. We are also planning to make free Wi-Fi zones and extended them to constituency also,” added Patel. Patel denied the fact that the Patidar agitation may damage their vote bank. “The Patels are loyal to the BJP, and here there is no issue of education or of unemployment. Moreover, we have worked so much for the people that people will vote for BJP and we will win with a majority,” remarked Patel.But, what local Congress people are saying is totally different. They claim that there is no development and few pockets where BJP have won wards at the municipality level.”Not a single college has been constructed here during the rule of BJP. There is no proper health facility. Location of the civic hospital has been changed three times by them,” said Ketan Barot, congress council at Anand municipality.”There is a major parking issue here. Permission of building construction to their favourites and there is always extra favour in them. They are not giving proper drainage lines to the people. During monsoon some of the pockets face flooding situation,” said Barot.”There is a government-run hospital here, but the doctors hardly visit the place. The building is so bad and not maintained that people hardly visit that as the doctors are never been in the hospital. Also, there was not a single streetlight in the 1.2 km-stretch of Dandi Heritage Marg for a decade. We installed 60 electric polls just two months ago,” added Barot. Barot also added that the rate of crimes have shot up in the area and there is absolutely no security for women in the area.COMPLAINTSThere is a govern-ment-run hospital here, but the doctors hardly visit the place. The building is not maintained and people hardly visit it as the doctors rarely come to the hospital, Barot said. Crimes have shot up and there is absolutely no security for women, he said.
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Gujarat elections 2017 | Hardik Patel’s rally in Surat on December 3

Hardik Patel got huge support from Patel community in the rallies he held at Morbi, Rajkot and Junagadh in recent days, and now he has set the target on Surat city. Hardik will hold a roadshow in Katargam, Surat North, Varachha, Karanj and Kamrej constituencies and then will give an address at a public rally to be held at Yogi Chowk area. The PAAS has not received the permission from the authorities yet, but they are firm to hold power performance by PAAS leader in any case.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 1 December 2017 6:55 ISTMust readGood news at last for Noida homebuyersGujarat elections 2017: Congress will waive off farm loans if voted to power, says Rahul Gandhi <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel is prepared to create ripples in Patidar community-dominated BJP fort in Surat on December 3.PAAS has announced the programme for Hardik’s visit to city and he will cover five seats of Surat city where Patel community from north Gujarat and Saurashtra region dominates on vote bank. All the seats had gone to BJP in last assembly polls held in 2012. The BJP has changed all the candidates dropping sitting MLAs including a minister, except for the sitting MLA, Kishor Kanani.Hardik Patel got huge support from Patel community in the rallies he held at Morbi, Rajkot and Junagadh in recent days, and now he has set the target on Surat city. Hardik will hold a roadshow in Katargam, Surat North, Varachha, Karanj and Kamrej constituencies and then will give an address at a public rally to be held at Yogi Chowk area. The PAAS has not received the permission from the authorities yet, but they are firm to hold power performance by PAAS leader in any case.
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Gujarat elections 2017 | Have ‘achhe din’ arrived, Rahul Gandhi asks Saurashtra

After demonetization and GST, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi attacked prime minister Narendra Modi over his achhe din promise, saying they had arrived only for a select few while most people continued to grapple with problems.”Have achhe din arrived? Did Gabbar Singh Tax bring achhe din? Did you queue up during notes ban and saw thieves converting black money into white? At least some people’s achhe din have come,” Gandhi said addressing a gathering at Lathi in the Patidar dominated Amreli district on Thursday.In an attempt to reach out to farmers, the Congress leader raised the issue of their land being taken away, and they not getting the right MSP for their produce.”The Modi government waived off loans of Rs1.30 lakh crore of five biggest industrialists last year, but there was no waiver for farmers. Modi ji is talking about farmers for 22 years, but has not given any benefit to them,” he said, promising that the Congress would start the process to waive farmer loans within ten days of forming the government.He also recalled that the UPA government had waived off loans worth Rs70,000 crore of farmers across the country. Later, at an event in Botad, he said that its the first time in a state that so many communities, be it Patidars, OBCs, Dalits or tribals, were agitating.”Only a few people in the state are not agitating,” he said. Gandhi also raised the issue of Rs33,000 crore favours granted to Tata Motors for Nano plant in Sanand, saying the money was almost equivalent to what the UPA government provided in a year for MGNREGA.”If the same Rs33,000 crore was invested in colleges or hospitals, you would not be required to spend lakhs of rupees for admission or for treatment,” he said. He also accused the Modi government of snatching farmers’ land and giving it away to industries. “Modi ji took away 6.5 lakh acre land of Gujarat’s farmers and gifted it to his friends,” he charged.Congress challenges BJP-ruled gujaratContinuing to target GST as Gabbar Singh Tax, the Congress scion alleged that it had destroyed small traders and industries. He alleged that corruption is rampant in Gujarat, saying no work happens without paying money.. He also came down heavily on the PM for his note-ban decisions saying it had resulted in the whole country queuing up at banks.
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Watch: Child dressed as PM Modi leaves him awestruck at event in Navasari

On Wednesday, during a hectic campaign in Gujarat, PM Modi was greeted with a wonderous sight when a child dressed exactly like him greeted him onstage at Navasari.From Modi’s trademark white beard, glasses, saffron scarf, the child was dressed exactly like the PM and even PM Modi appeared awestruck by the similarities.PM Modi asked the child to wave to the crowd and realised that they were even wearing similar sacred threads on their wrists, an attention to detail that appeared to please the Prime Minister.Watch the video below: Speaking in Navasri, the PM said: “When we remember people, we remember Mahatma Gandhi, Lord Buddha, Sardar Patel, Netaji Bose, Bhagat Singh but they remember Gabbar Singh. What more can I say about their thought process.”Continuing his high decibel campaign in poll-bound Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for calling GST ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ and said those who looted the country could only think of dacoits.In a stinging rebuttal to Gandhi’s repeated criticism of the Goods and Services Tax, a key economic reform of the NDA government, Modi said a recently emerged “economist” was propagating a “grand stupid thought” by suggesting that GST rate be capped at 18 per cent.Making a fresh bid for power in his home state, where the BJP has ruled for over two decades, Modi also listed various development works by the government on water conservation, agriculture and development of the Saurashtra region.Addressing a huge rally in Morbi town in the region, which goes to polls in the first phase on December 9, he accused the Congress of taking credit for minor schemes, like providing hand-pumps, while saying that the BJP rule brought in major works like the Narmada project.Making a strong appeal to the people to vote for the BJP in this Patidar community stronghold, Modi said his party should not be voted out for 100 years.
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Gujarat Elections 2017: Willing to sell tea, but will never sell nation, says PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Pushing the BJP’s campaign in Gujarat into high gear, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said he is ready to sell tea but will never sell the country as he asked Rahul Gandhi why he had applauded the release of LeT chief Hafiz Saeed.Modi, who started his high voltage campaign with rallies in Bhuj in Kutch district, Jasdan in Rajkot, Chalala in Amreli and Kadodara near Surat, took on the opposition Congress on issues related to China, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Hafiz Saeed, the surgical strike as well as corruption. He accused the Congress vice president of applauding the release of a terrorist in Pakistan and asked why he hugged the Chinese ambassador during the Dokalam standoff. “You are happy to hug the Chinese ambassador, you are clapping at the release of Hafiz Saeed, you cannot respect Indian Army’s surgical strike… But why did you speak about it? You could have just remained silent,” he said in Bhuj, not specifying how and where Gandhi had hailed Saeed’s release.Gandhi had recently tweeted: “Narendrabhai, baat nahi bani. Terror mastermind is free. President Trump just delinked Pak military funding from LeT. Hugplomacy fail. More hugs urgently needed.” The tweet had come after the release of LeT founder and 26/11 mastermind Saeed by a Pakistan court. Hitting out at the Congress over a recent meme targeting his “chaiwala” past, the prime minister said in Jasdan that he is being targeted by the main opposition party because of his humble background and for being born to a “poor mother”.
ALSO READ Why BJP is comfortable in Gujarat despite Congress onslaught: Inside party’s formidable messaging machinery “They are feeling uneasy because a chaiwala became the PM. We used to read in books how the downtrodden get harassed by those in higher strata. But I never imagined they would stoop so low,” Modi said in his speech in Gujarati at Jasdan ahead of the first round of polling on December 9. He said he gets messages from people threatening him that they would once again turn him into a tea-seller. “I want to tell them that I am Modi, who is ready to sell tea but will never commit the sin of selling the entire country,” he said, in an apparent reference to scams during the Congress-led UPA rule.”Why are you mocking poverty? Why are you insulting a poor mother?” he asked. In an apparent bid to woo the influential Patidars, who seem to be drifting towards the opposition party, Modi said the Congress “harassed” four former chief ministers of the community because of a “grudge” against Gujarat. Babubhai Jashbhai Patel, Chimanbhai Patel, Keshubhai Patel and Anandiben Patel belonged to the Patidar community. Without directly accusing the Congress of fanning the protests, Modi said the opposition had done everything to “disturb” the BJP’s Anandiben Patel-led government. “They fanned violence to disturb her. This Congress party harassed four Patidar CMs just because the people of Gujarat never accepted the party.”
ALSO READ Gujarat election is contest between development and dynastic politics: Modi attacks CongressAt the Bhuj rally, Modi pitched the election as a fight between trust on development and dynastic politics. He asked the people of Gujarat not to forgive Congress leaders as they had levelled baseless allegations on the “son of Gujarat” who has a stainless public life. During his campaign in the state in the last few days, Gandhi had trained his guns at the Modi-led government over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal. He also alleged during his campaign that Modi is not a “chowkidar” (watchman) but a bhagidar (partner) in “corrupt” practices in BJP president Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah’s company.Modi said he had written a poem, saying that Gujarat is his ‘atma’ (soul), while Bharat is his ‘parmatma’ (God), that Gujarat is his mother and he her son. “I have grown up on this soil, you Gujaratis know my plus and minus points, what was good in me has evolved due to this `mitti’ (soil) due to my mother (Gujarat),” he said, seeking to emotionally connect with voters. The prime minister said Gujaratis will not forgive those attacking its child.Recalling Sardar Patel, he said the Congress should understand that Gujarat tolerated insults when atrocities were committed against him but the times had changed and they would not do so again.Modi said many people have come here for election campaigning and “sprayed muck”.”Farmers prepare their land before the start of the monsoon season. In the same way, much muck has been sprayed here. It is good as it will help the lotus (BJP’s election symbol) bloom.” Modi referred to the 26/11 terror strike and the attack in Uri and asked what the difference was between one government and another, one leader and another. “They killed our soldiers in Uri, our soldiers went inside their territory, conducted a surgical strike and came back. The next day a newspaper said they (in Pakistan) carried bodies in trucks,” he said.Modi alleged that the Congress raised questions on the surgical strike in September 2016. “They could not respect Indian Army, they asked questions like none of our soldiers was injured? None of them died? Have you any photo or video evidence? Had they gone to shoot a movie in Pakistan?” he said. The second phase of elections to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held on December 14. The votes will be counted on December 18.

Gujarat elections 2017: Dy CM slams Congress and Hardik Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Deputy Chief Minister and senior leader of BJP Nitin Patel slammed the Congress and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel saying that Hardik cheated his community by accepting the Congress formula. He also alleged that Hardik did not take his community into confidence before announcing his stand to support the Congress.Patel said, “The Congress has given Hardik a soiled lollipop for the reservation quota and he is licking it now. In fact, Hardik kept the Patel community in the dark and fixed the deal with the Congress in the name of reservation. We have received letters from religious institutes of the Patel community and they said that Hardik did not inform them about his final call.””Khodaldham trustee Naresh Patel and President in Umiya mata Sansthan in Unjha, Vikram Patel informed us in writing that Hardik Patel never approached them before announcing his support to the Congress. This shows that Hardik is cheating the community,” he added.Patel also added that the formula for reservation that Hardik Patel and the Congress had endorsed was fickle and not maintainable before any legal forum. He said, “We approached different legal experts and they informed us that the formula given by the Congress for reservation is not maintainable before any legal forum and can be set aside if the same is challenged. They also informed us that Congress leader Kapil Sibal had firmly admitted before the court as a lawyer during the hearing of the cases related to reservations that it could not be more than 50 per cent in any case.”

BJP men threatening me to join party, alleges former PAAS leader Nikhil Sawani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti(PAAS), Surat Nikhil Sawani, on Thursday has alleged some of the BJP workers and associated men of giving him threat calls over last few days.Addressing the media, Sawani alleged that a Surat-based businessman, who is close to BJP leader Amit Shah, had threatened him with dire consequences if he did not join the BJP. Sawani had joined the BJP three months ago but quit after Varun and Reshma Patel joined the party.”I am living in fear even in Surat, my hometown. The BJP people can crush me in a road accident. I am scared whenever I meet people associated to BJP. Surat-based A businessman, Mukesh Patel, who has close proximity to BJP national president Amit Shah, frequently calls and asks ms to join the BJP again. He also asks me not to make any statement against the party,” Sawani said.”Mukesh had told me that he will release a morphed video footage of me, where I would be seeing boosing and in a compromising position with a woman. He is trying to malign my image. I told him that I have never indulged in such acts. My former colleagues, Varun and Reshma, had joined BJP and I think they are under the same pressure that I had been under,” added Sawani.Reacting to Sawani’s statements, BJP leader Varun Patel said, “Hardik had said that, apart from him, no other PAAS leader would make any statement. This is a violation. I want to ask Nikhil why is he making such statements. Sawani is lying because BJP is not a party which issues threats to people.””Neither I nor Reshma Patel joined BJP under pressure. We saw that agitation for reservation was going on a wrong track and we decided to part our ways,” Varun Patel added.

Hardik-Congress club one of mutual deception, 50% reservation cap can’t be breached: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the club consisting of the Congress and Patidar leader Hardik Patel was one of ‘mutual deception’ as they were deceiving each other as well the voters.Speaking at a media briefing, the union minister said, ‘The Congress-Hardik club is one of mutual deception. The law of the land is very clear and that has been laid down by the Supreme Court. Last week, it was reaffirmed that the 50 per cent reservation cap cannot be breached. They (Hardik Patel and Congress) can continue to mutually deceive each other and the public by saying that they will devise a methodology of breaching the cap.”He added that in elections, only those promises should be made to each other and the public that could be implemented, otherwise “you deceive your own constituents.
ALSO READ ‘A fool made a request and another fool accepted it’: BJP says Congress gave ‘lollipop’ to HardikPatidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel today declared his support to the Congress for the Gujarat Assembly elections, saying that the opposition party has accepted the demand of giving reservation to his community in a “special category”.The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader said that reservation formula given by the Congress for his community will be over and above the 50 per cent quota for the SC, ST and OBCs.
ALSO READ Hardik Patel says Congress agreed to Patidar quota demand, asks party to put details in manifestoOn the 50 per cent reservation cap set by the Supreme Court, he said that it is just a “suggestion”.Hardik said if the Congress comes to power, it will conduct a proper survey for providing reservation. The party will bring a Bill in the state Assembly and give reservation, he said.”My fight in Gujarat is against the BJP and that is why we will directly or indirectly support Congress (in the elections) as it has accepted our demand for reservation,” he added.”Congress has promised to include our demand in its manifesto,” he said.”The percentage of reservation under a special category to be given to us will be decided after the survey conducted by the commission to be formed by the government.” “As per the formula, without touching the 49 per cent quota (now provided in the state) to the Schedule Tribes (ST), Schedule Castes (SC) and Other Backward Class (OBC), the Congress has decided to provide quota to the communities, who have not got the benefit of reservation so far under Article 31 (C) and Article 46 of the Constitution,” he told reporters here.Article 46 of the Constitution says the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.Article 31 (C) has two parts. The first part protects a law giving effect to the policy of the state towards securing the principles specified in Articles 39 (b) and (c) from being challenged on the ground of infringement of the Fundamental Rights under Article 14, 19 and 31.The second part of Article 31 (C) originally sought to oust the jurisdiction of the courts to find out whether the law in question gave effect to the principles of Articles 39 (b) and 39 (c).When pointed out that the Supreme Court had “restrained” the Rajasthan government from taking any action on conferring the benefit of reservation resulting in crossing the total reservation beyond 50 per cent, Hardik said, “This (50 per cent cap) is just a suggestion of the Supreme Court.” “In our Constitution, there is no mention of 50 per cent cap on reservation. I am of the firm opinion that reservation can be given over 50 per cent,” he said.Hardik also said that there were no differences with the Congress over seat-sharing. “We had not demanded any seats, but we had asked the Congress to put up candidates of our community, who have a strong character,” he said.Asked what will he do about the PAAS members who have filed nomination papers to contest elections, Hardik said that they will no longer be members of the organisation.Hardik also accused the BJP of trying to buy PAAS members by offering Rs 50 lakh.The Congress, which has mounted a hectic campaign to dislodge the long-ruling BJP in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and saffron party chief Amit Shah, has been wooing the Patel stir spearhead for quite some time.Elections in Gujarat will be held on December 9 and 14.With inputs from PTI and ANI

‘A fool made a request and another fool accepted it’: BJP says Congress gave ‘lollipop’ to Hardik

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hours after Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel declared that the Congress party had accepted its demand for reservation, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that the Congress gave a ‘lollipop’ to Hardik.The Patidar leader has said the Congress will include the extension of reservation benefit to Patidars in its election manifesto.However, reacting to the development, Nitin Patel said, “A fool made a request and another fool accepted it, and they say others are fool (Moorkh ne darkhwast di aur moorkh ne darkhwast maani, aur doosre ko moorkh bolte hain).Stating that the Congress party is misleading Hardik Patel, Patel said, “Hardik is aware that over 50% reservation is not possible. In the name of reservation, Congress has given a ‘lollipop’ to Hardik.”Nitin even accused the Congress Party of bargaining with Hardik Patel and trying to divide the Patidar community.Meanwhile, clearing the air about ticket distribution, Hardik, “I never asked for any ticket from the Congress party to contest the assembly polls and there is ‘no conflict within the PAAS’. “Our organization will continue to fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat,” he added.The Congress, which has mounted a hectic campaign to dislodge the long-ruling BJP in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and saffron party chief Amit Shah, has been wooing the Patel stir spearhead for quite some time.(With agency inputs)

Hardik Patel says Congress agreed to Patidar quota demand, asks party to put details in manifesto

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday said that the Congress party has agreed to give Patidars reservation.Addressed a press conference, Hardik Patel said, ” Congress has accepted our issues. They have agreed to give Patidars reservations under section 31 and provisions of section 46.””Congress will bring in a bill when they come in power in Gujarat,” he added.He also said that the Congress will have to put this reservation formula in details, in their manifesto.Stating that they are not openly extending support to Congress, he said, “We will fight BJP. So directly or indirectly, there will be a support to Congress.”Meanwhile, Patidar leader said that he never asked for any ticket and there is no conflict within PAAS.He also said that he never appealed to anyone to vote for Congress, however, since they are talking about their rights, we leave it to people to decide.Last week, in Surat, several PAAS members ransacked the Congress city unit’s office and indulged in sloganeering against the party.”You must have seen on television how some people went on a rampage (on Sunday night when Congress issued its first list). I want to make it clear that I neither sought any ticket in the past nor I will seek in the future. We will not forget the martyrdom of our youths for the sake of three-four tickets,” Hardik had said on Tuesday.

Gujarat: PAAS-Congress workers clash over ticket distribution; Praful Patel says NCP will fight alone

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a late-night drama, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and Congress party workers exchanged blows over ticket distribution ahead of assembly polls in the state.Following the release of Congress’ list of candidates which includes only three PAAS candidates, angry leaders of the community staged a protest. The agitated protestors also allegedly vandalised Congress office in Surat.The development took place even after the Gujarat Congress and the Hardik Patel led-Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) said that they have reached an agreement over the issue of granting reservation to Patels.However, before the official announcement about the nitty-gritty of the reservation formula and the PAAS’ stand on supporting the Congress by Hardik Patel in Rajkot, Patidar leaders said they will Protest against Congress.”We will protest against Congress, and will rethink about extending our support to them, who are shirking their responsibility,” PAAS leader Dinesh Patel told ANI.”We will also ask the public to rethink about Congress because they are not answering a simple question. How can we expect to be heard when our questions are also not being answered by Congress,” he added.Meanwhile, NCP also said that they will fight alone.”We wanted to contest in Gujarat in alliance with Congress and had talks with them too initially, but Congress did not seem serious and kept on delaying, so we will fight alone,” Praful Patel told ANIHe also said that he is confident that the party will do even better alone.Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that PAAS leaders, who were working as agents of Congress, have been exposed following their clash over ticket distribution.Hardik Patel had earlier set a condition that he would support the Congress in the Assembly polls, due next month, only if the party committed itself to allotting reservation in education and government jobs to his community.The polling for the two-phase elections in Gujarat will take place on December 9 and 14 and votes will be counted on December 18.

Gujarat elections 2017: Jan Adhikar Manch names candidates from 11 seats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat Jan Adhikar Manch, which was in talks with the Congress over extending support to it in the upcoming elections, announced candidates from 11 constituencies on Sunday. It came after talks between the two sides fell through.The outfit, which has been taking up the cudgels on issues concerning unemployed youths, farmers, fixed pay employees, Asha workers, and others, announced that its leader Pravin Ram would contest the Assembly polls from two seats – Gandhinagar North and Keshod.The Gandhinagar North seat will go to polls in the second phase on December 14, and Keshod in the first phase on December 9.Pravin Ram is seen by many as an emerging young leader in the state, and is believed to have good following among youths.The outfit announced candidates from three seats in Ahmedabad city, which will go to polls in the second phase. It has fielded Hitesh Gupta from Amraiwadi, Ashwin Patel from Nikol, and Vasantbhai from Thakkarbapanagar.Arvind Patel, former convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), has been nominated from Morbi constituency. Its other candidates are Pravin Nakum from Talaja, Raju Ahir from Gariadhar, Bhavesh Vala from Una, and Ronak Todarmal from Porbandar. These seats will go to polls on December 9.JOINING THE POLL FRAYIts leader Pravin Ram would contest the Assembly polls from two seats – Gandhinagar North and Keshod. It has fielded Hitesh Gupta from Amraiwadi, Ashwin Patel from Nikol, and Vasantbhai from Thakkarbapanagar.

Gujarat elections 2017: Cong, PAAS reach agreement on quota, announcement today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress and Patidar reservation outfit Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) said on Sunday that they had reached an agreement on providing reservation to Patidars, and quota stir leader Hardik Patel would make a formal announcement in Rajkot on Monday.”We had a fruitful discussion with the PAAS leaders. We clarified their queries on issues that had stalled the talks the previous time, and have reached an agreement. The outcome of the meeting is positive,” Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki told media-persons after meeting PAAS leaders.From the Congress’s side, Siddharth Patel and Babu Mangukiya took part in the talks, while the PAAS was represented by its conveners. However, Hardik himself did not take part in the meeting.Solanki declined to share any further details of the agreement, saying that PAAS leader Hardik Patel would make an announcement on Monday.Talking to reporters, PAAS convener Dinesh Bambhania too said that the Congress had accepted their demand for a quota in the Patidar community.”Our and first and last concern is reservation. The Congress has accepted it. Hardik will make the details public in Rajkot tomorrow,” he said, divulging nothing further.In response to a question about the number of tickets sought by PAAS for the coming elections, Solanki claimed that the outfit had not sought any ticket. He said that neither OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, nor Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani had demanded any tickets either.”However, keeping in mind the welfare and development of Gujarat, Congress will give tickets to them,” Solanki said.There are reports that say that Congress could give as many as 11 tickets to PAAS, including some of its leaders such as Lalit Vasoya (Dhoraji seat), Dilip Sabwa (Botad), Manoj Panara (Morbi), Kirit Patel (Patan) and Janak Talaviya among others.Former MLA Dhiru Gajera, who had contested unsuccessfully on Congress’s ticket in 2007 and 2012 assembly elections, is also believed to be in the fray for a ticket from PAAS’s quota.11 TICKETS LIKELYAccording to reports, Congress could give as many as 11 tickets to Patidar reservation outfit Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti.
​Lalit Vasoya (Dhoraji seat), Dilip Sabwa (Botad), Manoj Panara (Morbi), Kirit Patel (Patan) and Janak Talaviya among others are likely to find names in the PAAS list.

Gujarat elections: Patidar leaders give Congress 24 hours deadline to decide on reservation issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after Hardik Patel expressed satisfaction over the options given by the Congress, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leaders have reportedly given the party a 24-hour deadline to declare their stand on the reservation status for the community.The development comes a day after PAAS leaders flew to the national capital to hold talks with Congress leaders regarding their demand.”Now we have given a 24-hour ultimatum to the Congress. If you don’t accept the demand, then we will assume that you don’t need support in the next election,” PAAS convener Dinesh Bambhania told NDTV.The Congress party has also not announced its list for Gujarat Assembly polls due to on-going talks with Patidar leaders, even as Central Election Committee of Congress chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi held deliberations for the second time on Friday.The PAAS group has made known its opposed stance to the ruling BJP in Gujarat in the coming elections.Hardik had earlier set a condition that he would support the Congress in the Assembly elections, due next month, only if the party committed itself to allotting reservation in education and government jobs to his community.The polling for the two-phase elections in Gujarat will take place on December 9 and 14 and votes will be counted on December 18.

Permission denied, but PAAS to holds rally at Mansa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It will be an acid test for the Gandhinagar administration and police on Saturday, as the administration has withdrawn a permission that it had granted to the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) for a rally at Mansa. PAAS is adamant to hold the rally at the venue that the administration had approved earlier.Sources from the Gandhinagar district collector’s office said that earlier, permission was granted with conditions and organisers were asked to share details about the programme and for the purpose of the rally. When PAAS failed to submit them, the collector officer thought fit to cancel the permission. The administration also asked the organisers to change the location, to which they have not agreed. If they come up with an alternative location, the administration may review its stand on permissions.On the other hand, PAAS leader Atul Patel claimed that permission was canceled on a flimsy ground. “We were told that if the meeting is allowed at the location decided by the PAAS, it could create enmity among communities and so the venue should be changed. This is not possible for us,” he said. According to him, all arrangements were made at the present location and so it was difficult to change the location in the last moment, as he firmly said, “Come what may, we will not change the rally location in Mansa.”Earlier, the PAAS convener while speaking to DNA said that he was going make some shocking revelation, but refused to divulge details. Notably, Mansa is the native village of BJP’s national president Amit Shah. Hardik Patel’s rally at the Mansa is considered to be show of strength in Shah’s native town. Hardik expects that people across north Gujarat will participate in the meeting.Though recently, two alleged sex CDs of Hardik Patel went viral, it has not deterred him at all. On Thursday, PAAS leaders alleged that the said expose of Hardik was on the behest of top BJP leaders.

Patels will have to retain patience, will get more tickets in second round

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling BJP tactfully avoided any announcement of the names of the candidates for seats which are highly affected by the Patel community led reservation agitation. The party gave only 10 of the 70 seats for which candidates were declared on Friday, that is 14 per cent of the total. The party, however, will give preference to Patel community in the next round of announcement of candidates for rest of 112 seats.A senior Patel community leader of BJP said, “This cannot be implied that Patel community has been meted with injustice. The party has tactfully avoided any announcement of names of the candidates for the seats where the Patel community is in dominance. The only reason is the stop the Congress from making any change in their list according to our list. This is our strategy and it is obvious that the Patel community will get equal representation in the final list.”There are 35 seats in Gujarat, including Saurasthra, Kutch, north Gujarat and central Gujarat region which are Patel community dominated. However, the impact of agitation is limited in North Gujarat and some pockets of Saurashtra. But the BJP is still trying to read the minds of Patel community voters and party is still clueless.”It is very difficult this time to come to conclusion that in which direction Patel votes would go. This is the reason why party is acting very cautiously on the selection of candidates. Looking at the first list, it can be seen that party would hardly change the sitting candidates, but it is all about the strategy and high command would have taken all the parameters under the consideration,” added the leader.Especially when we look at Mehsana, Morbi, Rajkot, Surendranagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh districts and Surat city, the Patel leaders from BJP have been facing ire from their community. The community believed that their leaders failed to sympathise with their people or did not standby them when they needed the support.The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) also is another factor in this polls as the organisation has demanded tickets from Congress. The BJP is waiting for the Congress’ list so as they also can make changes in the final list if required.The leader further added, “I do not believe that PAAS will be a deciding factor for us after the incident of video release involving him in sexual act. This would surely change the minds of Patel community and our Patel candidates will receive good results of the same.”The patel cardThere are 35 seats in Gujarat, including Saurasthra, Kutch, north Gujarat and central Gujarat region, which are Patel community dominated.

Gujarat elections: BJP’s first list of candidates shows trust in old war horses, several sitting MLAs get ticket

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party put paid to at least some speculation as it came out with its first list of 70 candidates for the Gujarat assembly elections. The list shows both cautions as well as trust in old war horses of the party.Prima facie the list reflects party strategy to come out with its most trusted candidates or such that it feels would be in the safe zone in the polls. As just about half the seats have been taken care of, it also goes on to show that the party is still in the cautious and not a celebratory mood, taking its time to deliberate and read more signs from the ground and taking a last minute feedbacks.A cursory perusal shows that the party has more or less repeated its candidates, at least, on most if the symbolically significant seats.Chief minister Vijaybhai Rupani has been given ticket from the Rajkot West seat. While a couple of other seats in Rajkot have also been declared.Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Bhai Patel has once again given a chance from the hot seat of Mehsana which was one of the most disturbed during the Patidar agitation.Sitting MLA Jayeshbhai Radadiya too has got a ticket from Patidar dominated area of Jetpur. Radadiya is a fairly popular figure in the constituency.Sitting MLAs – Pabubha Virmbha Manek and Jashabhai Banabhai Bar have got tickets from the holy towns of Dwarka and Somnath respectively.In the controversial town of Godhra, the party has poised faith in a sitting BJP MLA and five-time legislator, KC Raulji.From Valsad sitting MLA Bharat Bhai Patel has once again got a chance.The expectant candidates of the party have been on the tenterhooks as sources said the party had decided to axe several sitting and non-performing MLAs, as well as a few sitting ministers. The Patidar question is one of the biggest for the party as there are 45 seats out of 182 that have Patidar majority. Patidars comprise nearly 17% of the population and BJP presently has 44 out of 45 Patidar-dominated seats.

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

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

Hardik Patel’s clarion call to supporters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Battling heat from the release of three alleged sex tapes, Patidar leader Hardik Patel has put out a video on social media where he is giving a clarion call for payback for all ‘atrocities’ and is urging to get rid of the current establishment.In the video, Hardik says that when Patidars asked for their rights, they were attacked; even women were not spared. He says that Patel community have been made to look like fools and taken for a ride for a really long time.Hardik tells his followers if they want to forget all the harassment and go back to them (BJP), it would be an insult to the Patel community. In a clear message to oust BJP, Hardik says Patidars can’t be fooled any longer and it is time for payback for all the sufferings they had to go through to get their rights. Hardik ends his speech by saying that people need to do it for the generations to come.The Congress party has agreed to back Patidar leader Hardik Patel’s demands and will field eight candidates that he has recommended for the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat.According to senior Congress leader, apart from reservations for the Patidar community, Hardik had asked for tickets in seven to eight Gujarat assembly constituencies mostly. “Hardik’s demands are very reasonable. We have no problem in fielding strong candidates from the Patidar community. For the rest of the state that are dominated by Patidars, he has asked us to field strong Congress candidates,” a party member informed.Jignesh Mevani,the Dalit youth leader, refused to join Congress but assured he would support the party candidates in Gujarat elections.’WON’T END FIGHT’Hardik has put out a video on social media urging his community members to not give up their fight against atrocities and to oust the BJP from the state in this Assembly elections.

Tape for tape: Hardik Patel says will drop a bigger bomb on Nov 18

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the leak of three alleged sex tapes featuring him, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday said he will make some shocking revelations about some BJP leaders at his rally to be held on November 18 at Mansa town of Gandhinagar district.Talking to DNA, the Patidar quota stir leader said, “I am firm on my stand and did not deviate from my path. I will be organising many rallies in the near future. I will make a shocking revelation at the rally in Mansa. I don’t want to say what it will be about, but it will sort of be a great explosion.”Hardik has chosen Mansa, the ancestral village of BJP national president Amit Shah, to hit back at the BJP. He claimed that the people from across Gandhinagar, Sabarkantha, Arvalli and nearby areas would gather at the rally.”I have been holding rallies with the same zeal and there will not be loss of temperament at any moment. I addressed a rally in Bharuch on Tuesday evening; that received great response from the people,” Hardik added.After the rally, Hardik posted a tweet in Hindi which, roughly translated, said, “Let us believe that I am wrong. Lynch me when you get the chance to, but the core issue is the right of the society. The issue is the future of farmers and the youth. Why is the BJP government not acting upon these issues?”Hardik has been receiving sympathy from various sections, including his own community. The urban youth have come out in support of the PAAS leader, with social media posts backing him.A senior BJP leader said, “People believe the BJP leaked the sex tapes, but the fact is that this is the outcome of the rivalry within the PAAS. The BJP has gained on the political ground, but the Patel community in rural areas is opposing Hardik after this incident.”Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said, “The Congress is making efforts to shield Hardik. This is not about someone’s personal life, this is about honesty and ethics. It was a shameful act, Hardik indulged in it, and some people have come to his defence.”

Dirty Picture: Two more videos of Hardik surface, PAAS stays mute

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A month before the elections, the Dirty Picture seems to be continuing in Gujarat. A day after a sex video purportedly featuring Hardik Patel went viral on social media, two more videos of the Patidar reservation agitation leader surfaced on social media on Tuesday.DNA cannot vouch for the authenticity of the videos and the claims that the person featured in them is Hardik.One of the two videos shows a male bearing close resemblance to Hardik, along with two other unidentified males, and a female, lying on a bed in a hotel room. The video, shot using a hidden camera, shows the female cuddling up to the person who looks like Hardik. It also shows them talking about Vodka, PAAS members, besides other things.The video is allegedly from May 22, a day after Hardik had undertaken the Nyay Yatra in Botad in protest of atrocities against his community members. He and other Patel leaders had got their heads tonsured a day earlier before undertaking the yatra. Uncannily, all three males who are seen in the video have tonsured heads.In the second video, the person who looks like Hardik, is seen lying on the bed, while the others allegedly consume liquor sitting on the floor.Hardik, who has denied that he was the person in the video that had surfaced on Monday, could not be reached for a comment after the latest videos surfaced. Other members of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) also declined to comment.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has denied having any role in surfacing of the videos, was guarded in its reaction, with a senior functionary saying that the videos have exposed Hardik before the Patidar community.State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi accused BJP of resorting to Hardik’s character assassination ahead of the elections.In the video that had gone viral on social media on Monday, a person bearing close resemblance to Hardik was seen in a comprising position with an unidentified woman. That video was allegedly from May 16. Hardik said on Monday that it was the beginning of dirty politics in Gujarat.MORE TROUBLE?The video is allegedly from May 22, a day after Hardik had undertaken the Nyay Yatra in Botad in protest of atrocities against his community members. He had got his head tonsured a day earlier, before undertaking the yatra

Hardik Patel video part of political conspiracy, say kin

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Barely 24 hours after a sex video allegedly showing the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel went viral, his relatives and the residents of Zalawadi Society at the outskirt of the Viramgam city were visibly annoyed. They were coming out in large numbers to extend their support and express confidence in Hardik’s leadership.Hardik has a bungalow in the same society. His relatives, who also stay there, targeted the ruling BJP for masterminding the plan but said it won’t deter Hardik from pursuing his agitation to press for quota for Patidar community in Gujarat.Incidentally, his relatives and society members were unanimous on one thing that if BJP had to really take on Hardik, it should fight it on the political front and not stoop to the personal level. Hardik’s bungalow wore a deserted look as he and his parents are in Ahmedabad.Hardik, who is currently in talks with Congress for a pre-poll alliance, in a bid to jointly take on BJP in the upcoming assembly election, has claimed that it was an expected ploy to defame him though it heated up the political climate in Gujarat. The video shows a Hardik Patel-lookalike, with an unidentified woman, fully clothed and with her back to the camera, and then the room becomes dark.Ambalal Patel, Hardik’s grandfather, who stays just opposite his bungalow, told DNA, “It is really painful to see how our grandson is being targeted, especially by BJP. It is none of BJP’s business to peep into Hardik’s personal life. Time and again Hardik has announced that he does not fear about any penal action as he is fighting for a cause and he will continue to pursue his goal.’’ He admitted that quota for Patidar community is definitely one of the major poll planks and BJP seems to be worried about its prospects.Latitaben Patel, who had just finished watching TV news, was proud of her grandson for single-handedly taking on the mighty BJP. ‘’Such tactics won’t in any way hamper Hardik’s movement but it will instead become stronger,’’ she notes. Raunak, a fifth standard student from the same society, said, “Hardik bhai is our role model and I wish him a success.’’ However, a trip to the Viramgam market fetched mixed reactions about Hardik’s role in puncturing BJP’s prospects in the ensuing poll. Defeating BJP, Congress won the Viramgam seat in 2012 election. It is a part of the Surendranagar Lok Sabha constituency.Now, both are in a bitter fight claiming their victory. The offices of BJP and Congress were closed for lunch, while the campaigning has yet to gather mileage. Rajeshbhai Thakkar, a trader engaged in cattle food, downplays Hardik’s agitation and claims that it will have a little impact on BJP’s winning prospects. ‘’Hardik is cashing in on support from some disgruntled members of the Patel community and also banking on support from Congress and other opposition parties who have no standing in Gujarat.

Gujarat assembly elections: Congress party flooded with 2,200 applications for 182 seats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the chances of Congress party surges in Gujarat assembly elections scheduled to take place on December 9 and 14, the screening committee set up by Congress party has been flooded with over 2,200 aspirant applications for 182 seats.According to the screening committee, initially, they received 1500 applications.“After Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi visited parts of Gujarat by road, more aspirants want to contest on Congress symbol now. We are also surprised to receive such huge numbers of applications at eleventh hours. It is a tough job to finalise the candidates,” said one of the members of four members screening committee headed by Balasaheb Thorat, senior Congress leader from Maharashtra.When contacted Balasaheb Thorat, he confirmed that they had received 2,200 applications but refused to reveal more details.“Initially, we received applications from sitting MLAs and newly elected members of Taluka and District panchayat, its various committee presidents. Out of 32 District Panchayat in Gujarat, the 23 are controlled by Congress. Now, ex-MLAs, Member of Parliaments (MP) and ex-ministers are also putting pressure on us for a ticket,” said another member of screening committee requesting anonymity.”They feel that the chances of Congress coming to power has increased. If they get elected, they will have natural claim and chance of getting a ministerial berth in ‘next Congress government’ in Gujarat,” he added.Further stating that Rahul Gandhi has categorically told them not to succumb to any pressure, he added, “We have been asked to go by merits. We have now stopped taking applications.”A member said that before issuing a ticket, they are also taking inputs from multiple agencies and social groups. “Now, most groups have recommended the same names. In next two-three days, we are having the screening committee meeting in Delhi in presence of Congress President and Vice President and other in-charge of Congress party in Gujarat. In this meeting, names of candidates contesting in the first phase will be finalized and declared,” he said.The party leader who is close to Rahul Gandhi said that they have made a cluster system to avoid the division of votes among various caste groups. “In one Lok Sabha constituency, there are six-seven assembly seats. In one constituency, Patidar will be given a ticket while in other Thakore or any other dominant caste candidate will be fielded. So all these castes who are attached to Congress will remain intact during polls,” he said.

This Hardik doesn’t have an easy time when Patel and Pandya trend on Twitter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday, Hardik Patel, the Patidar leader was trending on Twitter because of a video, allegedly featuring him, sitting in close proximity with a woman. People immediately jumped to the conclusion that Patel was involved in a sex CD, and the trolling began.Most of the tweets were directed at @hardik, which unfortunately isn’t Patel’s Twitter handle. The @hardik handle belongs to Mumbai resident Hardik Shah, who put out a tweet on Tuesday. “PSA: Hardik Patel’s twitter handle is @HardikPatel_. Please tag him. Also Sex is really a fundamental right, so stop making a big deal about it. #bait.”While speaking to DNA, Shah said that the tweet would not make too much difference. “I don’t think that tweet will make a lot of difference – folks who tag me (mistakenly I guess) – probably do not understand how they should use Twitter. Besides – a lot of friends actually keep mentioning me just to pull my leg – so I typically play along. If you notice, I did put #bait out there – hoping no one will actually take it. I should have used #HardikPatel – but that would unleash the troll army on me.”Patel isn’t the only case of mistaken identity Shah faces. He was also trolled when cricketer Hardik Pandya underwent a radical transformation, and was a laughing stock because of his haircut.For his sake, we do hope that Shah doesn’t face that much of a brunt, but social media is a cruel place.

Hoping for a change

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It bore the brunt of the police violence against Patels in August 2015 and decided to root for the Opposition. Power play has no stand here as Bapunagar is looking for a change, and is even convinced if the Congress comes to power.Residents of the lower middle class suburb of Ahmedabad want relief from both BJP and Congress. They need solutions, and fast. Less than a month to elections, they want a change in power.In the municipal election of December 2015, all wards of Bapunagar, including Rakhial and Saraspur voted in favour of the Congress after they suffered from police violence due to a Patidar rally demanding caste-based reservations.While the claims of the Opposition and the residents are on the same lines with the primary problems being water and pollution, the sitting BJP MLA Rajput Jagrupsinh Girdansinh says that most issues have been solved. “To curb pollution, we have made an Oxygen park that has 3,500 trees,” he said. Jagrupsinh had defeated Shyani Dhirubhai Thakarshibhai of Congress in 2012 with a margin of 2,603 votes.On the other hand, the opposition and residents have a list of issues to be talked about. One of the residents of India Colony said, “Change is needed. BJP is ruling for 22 years and now should change. We have complained so many times about the water problems but no one responds. Check the list of societies that every water tanker pays a visit to. This shows the actual problem.”BAPUNAGAR NEWLY FORMED CONSTITUENCY IN 2012Population: Over 2.5 lakhVoters: 167009Male: 89535Female: 77473Other: 1CASTE-WISE BREAK-UP OF VOTERSMuslims: 50,000SC: 32,000Hindi speakers: 36,000Thakor: 10,000Devipujak: 12,000Patels: 10,000 (all figures are approx)VOTER TURNOUT IN PAST THREE ELECTIONS2012- 67.50%WHICH PARTY / MLA HAS WON IN THE PREVIOUS THREE ELECTIONS2012: BJP- Rajput Jagrupsinh Girdansinh (victory margin 2603 ) Congress: Shyani Dhirubhai Thakarshibhai2007: BJP – Barot Bharatkumar Chimanlal (margin 32%)Congress: Shaikh Mohammad Faruk Hussainmiya (margin: 18%)KEY ISSUES:Water
Pollution
Colleges
Gambling, liquor AUTHORITY SPEAKS1. Rajput Jagrupsinh Gidansinh, MLA, BJP:Bapunagar residents were facing a lot of issues due to pollution and to curb the same, we made an Oxygen park with 3500 trees.On an average, nearly 600-700 visitors come to the park. On health front, we have added important facilities like MRI, blood bank, CT scan, etc at Shardaben hospital. To prevent water logging during monsoon, in past five years, we have made stronger network of storm water network and built 4 bore wells and 3 water tanks.2. Shyani Dhirubhai Thakarshibhai, CongressI am out of town and I had fought elections in 2012. After that, I have no idea what kind of problems are there. My office gets all sorts of complaints.LIKELY CANDIDATES IN 2017:BJP: Prakash GurjarCongress: Dinesh SharmaWHAT VOTERS HAD TO SAY1. Meenaben Gohil, social workerBapunagar is a hub of all kinds of illegal activities like bootlegging, gambling, etc. School students of higher grades are into serious addiction. There is a pan parlour which is a nuisance in our area, that promotes these activities. The most dirty water is released in our area that attracts dangerous insects into our homes. I have been fighting for these issues and will continue for the same. BJP needs to go now.2. Amit Naik, doctorIn all elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took out roadshows in our area and said that he will make this part like West Ahmedabad. While he became PM from CM but Bapunagar still remains the same. The biggest issue is that sports complex opened by the state government does not have qualified coaches. Young children of our area are struggling to learn. We do not have a government college and the place which was reserved for a government college today has an Oxygen park.3. Popatbhai Gajera, retired (I have photo of a water tanker as well that visited the society)Election or no election, biggest problem in my area is water. Women in my area struggle every day due to non availability of water. Despite so many complaints, the issue is never resolved and there is no one to listen to us.4. Mukesh Patel, sells pani-puriI used to rub diamonds earlier but left the work many years ago. Since then, I have been selling pani puri. My business got affected during the Patidar andolan, when the roads were shut for few days. I do not have any issue with the government but just that the fee of schools is too much. I have two children and hence it gets difficult to run the house.”5. Nalin Brambhatt, jewellerTo get season passes for buses, there is no facility available at any depot here. Students especially girls have to travel till Lal-darwaja for the same. Another important aspect is that there is no Anganwadi in Bapunagar. Free medicines are not given to the poor in Shardaben hospital.

Days after Hardik Patel’s premonition, alleged sex tape of Patel agitation leader surfaces

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after Hardik Patel had a premonition that his opponents may release a sex tape to defame him, his apprehension has come true. A video has emerged online on Monday which shows a man with resemblance to Hardik Patel in compromising position with a woman. The Patel agitation leader has denied that it’s him in the video and has accused BJP of hatching a plot to defame him. The video was uploaded on YouTube but it has been taken down subsequently. The video was reportedly shot on May 16 earlier this year.The 10-minute video, which went viral on social media on Monday afternoon, shows a male bearing close resemblance to Hardik Patel sharing some private moments with a female in a hotel room. Incidentally, Hardik was attending the core committee meeting of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) in Gandhinagar when the video became viral.Talking with reporters after stepping out of the meeting, Hardik said, “I have said earlier too that such allegations are going to be made (ahead of polls). Our core committee was meeting today to decide (on Congress’s proposals offering reservation to Patidars). This is just the beginning. This is election time. Our agitation is going strong. Winds of changes are sweeping Gujarat, and such allegations will be made.”He also tweeted: It roughly translates as, ” Now filthy politics is being down.It’s one thing to defame me, but women of Gujarat are being defamed here’. Dismissing the video as a political stunt, the Patidar quota stir leader said that BJP members will make even worse attempts to defame him going ahead. He alleged that the video was made in Bangkok, and vowed to take necessary legal steps. He also said that he would continue to fight for the Patidar community and the state, and was not going to be discouraged by such attempts.DNA can’t independently vouch for the authenticity of the video. It remains to be seen if the video hurts Hardik Patel politically as Gujarat elections are barely three weeks away. Hardik Patel has indicated supporting Congress to defeat BJP, though a final decision is yet to be taken.

Congress yet to decide on Hardik Patel seats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress top brass, while finalising names of around 80 candidates for the Gujarat Assembly polls on Friday, kept most of Patel dominated seats out of the ambit of the decision as no final word is yet out on its arrangement with Patidar leader Hardik Patel.There were some issues with regard to candidates on four seats seats and hence, they were not finalised, sources said. The names that were deliberated were single names on the Assembly seats and which came before the CEC after deliberations and scrutiny at the level of the screening committee and below. The party had also got independent feedback about the candidates.Emerging after the meeting, Gujarat Congress chief Bharat Singh Solanki said that the first list of party candidates will be declared on November 16. A source in the party said the Congress would like the BJP to declare its candidates first as a section in the party believes that given the complex web of social arithmetic at play in Gujarat polls this time, such a strategy will help it name its candidates take on the BJP candidates.Congress is trying do a balancing act between its old Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslim (KHAM) with its newly-cultivated association with Patels, who have under Hardik Patel’s leader protested against the BJP government in the state over the issue of reservation for them.Hardik Patel has asked for a categorical response from Congress on Patidar reservation issue.

Hardik Patel’s critic eyeing BJP ticket from Unjha constituency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehsana-based developer RP Patel, who had come down heavily on Patel reservation stir leader Hardik Patel last week, is believed to be eyeing a ticket from BJP from the Unjha seat in Mehsana.Patel, convener of Patidar Organisation Committee with representatives from six influential Patidar organisations, had accused the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik of turning the Patidar reservation agitation into a “Private reservation agitation”.However, insiders say the attack on Hardik could be driven by his own political ambitions. Sources in the BJP as well as the Patidar community informed that Patel is seeking a ticket from BJP for contesting from Unjha assembly consituency in the upcoming elections. The seat is presently represented by Naran Lallu Patel, a five-time MLA.RP Patel could not be reached for a comment despite several attempts.Incidentally, Surat district collector MS Patel is also believed to be eyeing a ticket from the BJP for contesting the elections from Unjha. A promotee IAS officer, Patel is a native of Unjha, and is keen to contest the elections.At the November 1 press conference, RP Patel had clearly denied that he would be contesting the elections.”There are many people in our community who are interested in contesting elections. However, I personally am not,” he had said.At the press conference, he had accused Hardik and others of leading the community’s youths down the wrong path, “Some misled youths are misusing the Patidar community’s name for personal gains.”While coming down heavily on the Congress for “misleading the Patidar community for electoral gains”, Patel had also defended the state government saying it had already accepted the community’s key demands about withdrawal of court cases against Patidars, giving jobs to kin of dead Patel youths, granting reservation benefits, among others.

Gujarat Elections 2017: Amit Shah meets party workers, Cong likely to take call on Patel reservation on Monday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the high-stake Assembly polls approaching in Gujarat, BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday held separate meetings with key party leaders and workers from the southern, central and northern regions of the state.Shah, who has been camping in Gujarat since yesterday to strategise for the upcoming polls, held meetings with the BJP workers of Valsad, Navsari and Dang districts at the Tata Hall in Navsari town of south Gujarat in the morning. In the afternoon, the BJP president guided the party workers and leaders of the tribal-dominated Panchmahal and Dahod districts in Godhra town. In the evening, Shah reached Himmatnagar town in north Gujarat to hold meetings with the party workers of Sabarkantha and Aravalli districts, said a BJP release.Yesterday, the BJP chief was engaged in similar deliberations with the party workers from Kutch, Morbi, Surendranagar, Bhavnagar, Botad, Amreli and Ahmedabad city. He is scheduled to meet the BJP leaders and workers of the remaining districts and cities in the state till November 9, the release added. The 182-member Gujarat Assembly will go to the polls in two phases — on December 9 and 14 — and counting of votes will be taken up on December 18.Congress likely to take final call on Patel quota The Congress might take a final call on Monday on the issue of promising reservation for Patidars under the OBC category, a condition set by quota spearhead Hardik Patel for extending his community’s support to the party in poll-bound Gujarat, a state party leader said today.This was stated by former Gujarat Congress president Siddharth Patel, who along with Gujarat High Court lawyer Babubhai Mangukiya, met senior party leader and advocate Kapil Sibal here. After the meeting, Patel told reporters that the party high-command might take a call on the issue tomorrow. Hardik has set a condition that he would support the Congress in the Assembly election, due next month, only if the party committed itself to allotting a quota in education and government jobs to his community under the OBC category. He has set November 7 as the deadline for the Congress to make its stand clear on the issue.Sibal said he had conveyed his opinion about the quota to party president Sonia Gandhi. “I have studied the Constitution in detail and given my views (about reservation) to the party high-command,” he told reporters. On his meeting with the Gujarat leaders, Sibal said they discussed the quota issue in detail. “However, the final call on the issue will be taken by the party high-command. I cannot say anything about the issue of reservation (to Patels) as of now,” he said.Siddharth Patel said the Congress high-command was likely to take a call on the issue of reservation for Patels tomorrow. “We have discussed various alternatives during today’s meeting (with Sibal). By tomorrow, the party high-command is expected to take a call on those suggestions (about giving reservations to Patels), following which, we will engage in discussions with Hardik,” he said, adding that the party was “doing its best” to resolve the issue. Mangukiya said the Constitution did not have words such as OBC or EBC (economically backward class) and Patidars should not insist on the OBC quota. The words OBC and EBC are not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. It mentions only ‘Backward Classes’ and ‘Weaker Section’. Don’t give too much stress on OBC or EBC, the important thing is that they will definitely get reservation,” Mangukiya said, adding that Sibal might come to Gujarat to hold a meeting with Hardik on the issue, if needed.Hardik Patel (24), the face of the quota stir, recently met Congress’ Gujarat affairs in-charge Ashok Gehlot to discuss the quota demand. The issue of OBC quota for Patels remained unresolved during a meeting between Patidar representatives and state Congress leaders on October 30. Trying to do a balancing act, the Congress had promised to offer reservation in jobs and education to Patidars under the EBC category, but not in the other backward class (OBC) group as demanded by the community.The Congress had agreed to various demands of Patidars, including the formation of an SIT to investigate alleged atrocities against the members of the community during a PAAS (Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti) rally in Ahmedabad on August 25-26 last year, if voted to power. The party is trying to wean away the Patidars from the ruling BJP in the state. The community is believed to be a loyal vote bank of the saffron party and its numerical strength can tilt the scales in elections.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tried to reach out to the Patels on November 2 when he attended the silver jubilee function of the Akshardham temple of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) in Gandhinagar. He had said that the Patidars had traditionally been with the BJP, “but a section of the community has turned against the party due to the recent agitation for reservation”.

Parshottam Rupala asks Congress, Hardik Patel to clarify on OBC quota for Patels

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP leader and Union minister Parshottam Rupala on Friday asked the Congress and PAAS leader Hardik Patel to shed some light on whether the Patidar community would be included in the OBC (Other Backward Classes) category for reservation benefits.Rupala’s statement comes a day after Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Mohansinh Rathwa said it was not possible to carve out a separate quota for Patidars in the existing 49 per cent reservation.”Mohansinh Rathwa’s statement exposes the doublespeak that the Congress and Hardik Patel have been indulging in. Both need to clarify their stand on the issue as Hardik has been demanding reservation under the OBC quota, and the Congress is now saying that it is not possible,” Rupala told media-persons.The BJP leader said that the Congress was silent about granting OBC status to Patidars, and it was now clear that the party as well as Hardik Patel had only been trying to mislead the community ahead of the elections.Speaking at a rally in Valsad on Thursday, Rathwa, an eight-time MLA, had said that Patidars would be given reservation without interfering with the 49 per cent existing quota, which is meant for OBCs, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.The issue of reservation is expected to be a major one in the upcoming elections. While the state government has already announced reservation benefits to all non-reserved communities under the EBC quota, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and other Patel organisations are seeking reservation under the OBC quota. The Congress, on the other hand, has assured 20 per cent quota under EBC to non-reserved communities if it comes to power.

More power to Congress? Gujarat Dalit leader meets Rahul Gandhi, pledges to defeat BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Patidar leader Hardik Patel has not cleared the suspense over his support for the Congress in the upcoming Gujarat Elections, another influential Dalit leadre met Rahul Gandhi today.Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch’s convenor Jignesh Mevani, who gained political prominence after the last year’s Una flogging incident, met the Congress Vice President in south Gujarat on Friday.Though he joined Gandhi scion’s Navsarjan Yatra in Navsari, Mevani maintained that he is not joining the Congress.“Met Rahul Ji. He told us 90 per cent of our demands aren’t demands but our constitutional rights which will be included in manifesto,” Mevani said.He also said that he will work with the Congress to defeat the ruling BJP in the state.Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Gandhi continued his election campaign in the state.Addressing a rally, he said that if Congress comes to power, it will change the GST.Criticising the GST implemented by the Narendra Modi government, Gandhi said, “This is not the GST, this is Gabbar Singh Tax. Its aim is to take away your hard earned money.”“If you ask us to make changes in the GST or its structure, I assure you that the day we come to power in country we will change it. We will bring in a GST that will benefit you,” he added.

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