There’s a popular perception that election time makes politicians the busiest lot. Going by the deserted looks of police stations across Ahmedabad, in reality, however, it is not politicians but cops who are the busiest during elections.Senior police officials told Mirror that Ahmedabad city police has a sanctioned strength of 15,500 police personnel. However it is running short by about 3,000 with a headcount of only 12,500. Out of existing strength, 5,000 are on first-phase poll duty. All DCPs and ACPs, along with their staff, are deployed for the roadshows.During Mirror Check at some city police stations, only two to four cops were found present while the rest were on election duty.Satellite is one of the busiest police stations of Ahmedabad but it was completely deserted on Thursday. A Head Constable present at the police station said, “We have only two police personnel present in the station. All others are deployed on poll duty, either in the city or in the first phase of voting in Saurashtra, South Gujarat and Kutch.”Mirror came across 24-year-old Kansinh Chauhan who was told that his police verification will be done only after December 8. He told Mirror, “I have to buy a bike. The dealer wants a police verification certificate as I am from Rajasthan. Police are telling me to come after December 8. I also applied for a verification certificate online eight days ago but there has been no reply. What should I do?”Vastrapur and Anandnagar police stations had the same story to tell. There were only four policemen inside the police stations, everybody else was on poll duty.Even traffic police are facing the same issue. A senior traffic police official told Mirror that 80% of the staff has been deployed on poll duty. Another 600 have been deployed in the road shows by different political parties.“We are managing traffic junctions with police recruits under training and some TRD jawans,” the official said.
In a whirlwind campaign tour in his home state Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took part in a more than 30-km-long roadshow here and addressed three rallies while asking people to teach a lesson to the Congress in the Assembly elections following its “Ravan” jibe for him.Addressing a rally at Kalol in Panchmahal district, Modi said he respected Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, but it was the opposition party’s “high command” which compelled Kharge to use such jibes.Voting for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections in 89 seats was held on Thursday, while that in the remaining 93 seats including 16 of Ahmedabad city will take place on December 5.Kharge, at a rally in Ahmedabad city on Monday, had said the prime minister asks people to vote “looking at his face” in all elections. “Are you 100-headed like Ravan,” he had said.On Thursday, Modi said, “I respect Kharge ji, but he has to follow orders of the party high command. He was compelled to say that Modi has 100 heads like (demon king) Ravan.” “But the Congress did not realise that Gujarat is the land of Ram Bhakts. Those who never believed in the existence of Lord Ram, have now brought in Ravan from Ramayana just to abuse me,” the PM said.Congress leaders never apologise over such insults but think it is their right to use abusive language for the country’s prime minister, he added.“For them, that family is everything. They will do anything to make the family happy. There is a competition among Congress leaders as to who will use the most abusive and most toxic slurs for Modi,” he said, apparently referring to the Gandhi family.“There is only one way to teach them a lesson. Vote for the BJP on December 5 by pushing a button near lotus,” Modi said.At a rally at Bodeli town in Chhota Udepur district, the PM said despite the Congress’ ‘Garibi Hatao’ slogan, poverty actually increased under its rule.“For decades, Congress has been saying only one thing – Garibi Hatao (eliminate poverty)…The only thing they did was to raise slogans, make promises and misguide people. That was the reason why poverty actually increased during its regime,” Modi said.The poor, tribals and Other Backward Class (OBC) communities were not given priority in education, health and industrial sector by Congress governments, he said.The opposition party also did not support a tribal woman becoming the country’s President, and hence it fielded a candidate against Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election earlier this year, Modi claimed.Speaking at his last rally in Himmatnagar town in Sabarkantha district, he asked people not to repeat the “mistake” committed after Independence.“This election is not just about forming a government here for five years. The country has completed 75 years of Independence. You must keep in mind where India will be 25 years from now. This election is all about making a government which would strengthen the foundation of the country for the next 25 years,” Modi said.“Everyone says that India would have been moving in a different direction had Sardar Patel been the country’s first prime minister. We have already begun the course correction and have put the country in the right direction with so much hard work. Therefore, we cannot afford to commit the same mistake that was committed at the time of India’s Independence,” he added.In the evening, Modi took part in a more than 30-km-long roadshow in Ahmedabad city, starting from Naroda village.A large number of people standing on both sides of the route greeted the PM during the roadshow which began around 5.20 pm.Standing in a specially-designed vehicle, the prime minister waved at the crowd.The roadshow was to pass through the eastern part of Ahmedabad and end at IOC circle in the Chandkheda area on the city’s western side, covering 13 constituencies in Ahmedabad city as well as Gandhinagar-South.
Ahmedabad, Dec 1 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening led a 30-km-long roadshow through Ahmedabad city where polling will be held on December 5 in the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections.During the procession that lasted for more than three-and-half hours, he passed through 14 Assembly constituencies.At one point, the prime minister"s convoy made way for an ambulance.The roadshow began from Naroda village in the eastern part of the city around 5.20 pm and ended at IOC crossroads in Chandkheda area in the west around 9 pm.A large number of people standing on both sides of the route welcomed Modi and greeted him with flowers.Standing on a specially-designed vehicle, the PM was seen waving at the crowd all along the route.He also paid floral tributes at the statues of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay and Subhash Chandra Bose in Thakkarbapa Nagar, Maninagar and RTO Circle on the route. Modi"s convoy gave way to an ambulance at one point. On seeing the ambulance coming from behind, the PM"s security personnel asked the driver of his vehicle to move sideways so that the ambulance could pass.The roadshow passed through various areas including Hirawadi, Hatkeshwar, Maninagar, Danilimda, Jivraj Park, Ghatlodia, Naranpura and Sabarmati.It covered 13 constituencies in Ahmedabad city as well as Chandkheda area which falls in the Gandhinagar-South Assembly seat, a BJP release said.Polling for the first phase of elections in 89 seats of Saurashtra and south Gujarat regions was held on Thursday, while that in the remaining 93 seats including 16 of Ahmedabad city will take place on December 5. PTI PJT PD KRK KRKYour support to NYOOOZ will help us to continue create and publish news for and from smaller cities, which also need equal voice as much as citizens living in bigger cities have through mainstream media organizations.
Ahmedabad, Dec 1 (PTI) In a whirlwind campaign tour in his home state Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took part in a more than 30-km-long roadshow here and addressed three rallies while asking people to teach a lesson to the Congress in the Assembly elections following its "Ravan" jibe for him. Addressing a rally at Kalol in Panchmahal district, Modi said he respected Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, but it was the opposition party"s "high command" which compelled Kharge to use such jibes. Voting for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections in 89 seats was held on Thursday, while that in the remaining 93 seats including 16 of Ahmedabad city will take place on December 5. Kharge, at a rally in Ahmedabad city on Monday, had said the prime minister asks people to vote "looking at his face" in all elections. "Are you 100-headed like Ravan," he had said.On Thursday, Modi said, "I respect Kharge ji, but he has to follow orders of the party high command. He was compelled to say that Modi has 100 heads like (demon king) Ravan." "But the Congress did not realise that Gujarat is the land of Ram Bhakts. Those who never believed in the existence of Lord Ram, have now brought in Ravan from Ramayana just to abuse me," the PM said.Congress leaders never apologise over such insults but think it is their right to use abusive language for the country"s prime minister, he added. "For them, that family is everything. They will do anything to make the family happy. There is a competition among Congress leaders as to who will use the most abusive and most toxic slurs for Modi," he said, apparently referring to the Gandhi family."There is only one way to teach them a lesson. Vote for the BJP on December 5 by pushing a button near lotus," Modi said.At a rally at Bodeli town in Chhota Udepur district, the PM said despite the Congress" "Garibi Hatao" slogan, poverty actually increased under its rule."For decades, Congress has been saying only one thing - Garibi Hatao (eliminate poverty)...The only thing they did was to raise slogans, make promises and misguide people. That was the reason why poverty actually increased during its regime," Modi said.The poor, tribals and Other Backward Class (OBC) communities were not given priority in education, health and industrial sector by Congress governments, he said.The opposition party also did not support a tribal woman becoming the country"s President, and hence it fielded a candidate against Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election earlier this year, Modi claimed.Speaking at his last rally in Himmatnagar town in Sabarkantha district, he asked people not to repeat the "mistake" committed after Independence. "This election is not just about forming a government here for five years. The country has completed 75 years of Independence. You must keep in mind where India will be 25 years from now. This election is all about making a government which would strengthen the foundation of the country for the next 25 years," Modi said."Everyone says that India would have been moving in a different direction had Sardar Patel been the country"s first prime minister. We have already begun the course correction and have put the country in the right direction with so much hard work. Therefore, we cannot afford to commit the same mistake that was committed at the time of India"s Independence," he added.In the evening, Modi took part in a more than 30-km-long roadshow in Ahmedabad city, starting from Naroda village.A large number of people standing on both sides of the route greeted the PM during the roadshow which began around 5.20 pm. Standing in a specially-designed vehicle, the prime minister waved at the crowd.The roadshow was to pass through the eastern part of Ahmedabad and end at IOC circle in the Chandkheda area on the city"s western side, covering 13 constituencies in Ahmedabad city as well as Gandhinagar-South. PTI PJT PD COR NP GK KRK KRK KRKYour support to NYOOOZ will help us to continue create and publish news for and from smaller cities, which also need equal voice as much as citizens living in bigger cities have through mainstream media organizations.
A little over a year after it changed the entire Gujarat Cabinet, the BJP will go to polls in the first phase of the Assembly elections on Thursday as it attempts to return to power for the sixth straight term.Around 2.39 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to elect MLAs in 89 constituencies in Saurashtra, Kutch, and south Gujarat, with the BJP looking to regain the ground it lost in Saurashtra in the 2017 Assembly elections. For the ruling party, the main competition will come from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress. The electoral contest between the BJP and the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit will be especially intense in Surat. Both camps aggressively campaigned against each other in an attempt to bag the 12 seats in the city.In 2017, of the 89 constituencies, the BJP won 48 and the Congress bagged 38 seats. Two seats went to the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), which was in alliance with the Congress at the time, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won one.In Saurashtra, the agrarian region with 48 seats, the challenge for the BJP is to increase its tally from the 19 constituencies it managed to win last time, while the Congress will look to hold on to the gains it made five years ago and build on their success. The Congress’s seat count of 28 in Saurashtra in 2017 was a gain of 13 seats, while the BJP’s tally came down by 11 seats. It was the ruling party’s worst performance in Saurashtra since 1995 when it formed the government in Gujarat for the first time.But in the last five years, 10 Congress MLAs from Saurashtra defected to the BJP or extended support to the ruling party. They are Kunvarji Bavaliya (Jasdan), Parsottam Sabariya (Dhrangadhra), Jawahar Chavda (Manavadar), Vallabh Dharaviya (Jamnagar Rural), Pravin Maru (Gadhada), JV Kakadiya (Dhari), Soma Ganda Patel (Limbdi), Brijesh Merja (Morbi), Bhagwan Barad (Talala), and Harshad Ribadiya (Visavadar). Save Sabariya, Dharaviya, Maru, Patel, and Merja, the others are BJP candidates this time from their respective seats.The Congress’s Saurashtra performance in 2017 was propelled by support from the Patidar community, which had been traditional BJP supporters since the mid-1980s. But the community drifted towards the Congress five years ago following protests against the BJP-led government over demands for Other Backward Class (OBC) status. The quota agitation stir’s leader Hardik Patel is the BJP candidate from Viramgam in Ahmedabad district this time. Pointing out that the quota agitation has long fizzled out, BJP leaders have claimed that Patidars will back the ruling party this time around.The first phase covers several Patidar and tribal-dominated seats and will be crucial for the ruling party’s stated objective of breaking all Assembly election records. Among the BJP’s objectives is winning most of the 27 constituencies reserved for Scheduled Tribes (STs). In Phase 1, seven of the constituencies at stake are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) communities and 17 are ST seats.For the BJP, a stumbling block in the run-up to the elections was ticket distribution. In the first phase, seven BJP members filed nominations against the party’s candidates, most of them as Independents and one each as Congress and AAP nominees.Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading the BJP’s campaign and has addressed 25 public meetings since November 3, when the Elections Commission notified the poll schedule. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been the second-most prominent face to campaign for the party. The party has also deployed a battery of national leaders such as chief ministers Yogi Adityanath, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and Pramod Sawant, Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and its national president JP Nadda.The BJP aggressively played up the Hindutva card by raking up issues such as the 2002 riots, terrorism, “love jihad”, and the Shraddha Walkar murder case. In its poll manifesto, the ruling party promised an anti-radicalisation cell and the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code.The AAP ran an aggressive campaign, especially in Saurashtra and south Gujarat. The electoral plank of the Kejriwal-led party is based on its guarantees such as free education, free electricity, employment, and free religious pilgrimages for the elderly.On Wednesday, Kejriwal issued a video message requesting the people of Gujarat to opt for change. Speaking in Gujarati Kejriwal, who began with the common greeting in Gujarat, “Jai Shri Krishna”, said, “Twenty-seven years are a lot, no? This time try to change. Change is the rule of life. Even trees change their leaves every year. Give AAP one chance. I will never break your trust. Now, the atmosphere is also changing, cold is also increasing. Take care of everyone in the family. Jai Shree Krishna!”The Congress too has promised voters things such as free electricity, implementation of the old pension scheme, and jobs. Its campaign, however, was low-key, with some of its top national leaders largely staying away from the campaign.In six assembly constituencies, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi has fielded candidates. These seats are Mangrol, Khambhalia, Bhuj, Mandvi, Surat East, and Limbayat.Notable names in the frayThere are a total of 788 candidates in the fray in Phase 1, including 718 men and 70 women. Some of the notable BJP candidates who will be battling it out on Thursday are Kanti Amrutiya (Morbi), Kunvarji Bavaliya (Jasdan), Jayesh Radadiya (Jetpur), Rivaba Jadeja (Jamnagar North), Pabubha Manek (Dwarka), Babu Bokhiriya (Porbandar), Parshottam Solanki, Mukesh Patel (Olpad), Harsh Sanghavi (Majura), Jitu Vaghani (Bhavnagar West), and Raghavji Patel (Jamnagar Rural).The first phase will also see the fate of some top AAP leaders being decided. Among them are its CM face Isudan Gadhvi (Khambhalia), state president Gopal Italia (Katargam), and former Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leaders Alpesh Kathiriya (Varachha) and Dharmik Malaviya (Olpad).From the Congress, leaders such as Naushad Solanki (Dasada), Lalit Kagathara (Tankara), Indranil Rajyaguru (Rajkot East), Vikram Madam (Khambhalia), Arjun Modhwadiya (Porbandar), Punja Vansh (Una), Paresh Dhanani, Virji Thummar (Lathi), Ambarish Der (Rajula), Kanu Kalsariya (Mahuva), and Anant Patel (Vansda) will be contesting in the first phase.New initiativesThis is the first election where a section of the electorate will have a chance to vote from home. This facility has been made available to 9.87 lakh voters above the age of 80 years and 4.03 lakh voters with disabilities. The Election Commission (EC) distributed around eight lakh forms for voters to avail of this facility but only over two per cent of voters have opted for it.The other initiative is monitoring workers in industries if they have cast their votes or not. The EC has already signed MoUs with various industrial associations for this and asked them to give a holiday or a break to workers on polling day.“We have already conveyed the message to our sister associations for giving workers a break or holiday for polling. Though we cannot force workers to vote, all industrial units have also been asked to monitor the number of workers and share whatever figures possible with us so that we have at least an estimate,” said Pathik Patwari, president of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).This is also the first election in the state where details of criminal cases faced by candidates needed to be published in newspapers.With inputs from Avinash Nair and Rashi Mishra in Ahmedabad
SURAT: At a time when disputes between siblings or between a father and a child have become a common occurrence, this family of 81 members is a unique example of unity, harmony and bonding. More importantly, their zeal to exercise their franchise together. The Solanki family in Kamrej wants to give a message how important it is to participate in the election process. The eldest voter in the family is 82-year-old Shamjibhai and the youngest ones are 18-year-old Parth and Vedant who are first-time voters. Live updates: Gujarat assembly elections phase 1The Solanki family will go to Navagam polling booth in multiple vehicles to cast their votes on Thursday. Of the 81 members, 60 are registered voters. "At the age of 82, my father is very enthusiastic about voting and inspires us all to vote," said Nandlal, son of Shamjibhai. 'We want to encourage others to take part in polls' We jointly participate in voting with enthusiasm the way we participate in a marriage function in the family. Through this, we want to encourage others to participate in elections," said Ghanshyam, one of the 17 brothers. In 1985, one of six brothers, Lalji Solanki, a blacksmith by profession from Lakhiyani of Botad, came to the city and settled in Kamrej. He, along with his brothers, started making agricultural equipment and gradually the family grew. Currently, the family's size is 96 of whom 15 live in a village while 81 live in Kamrej. "We now run a manufacturing unit of farming equipment and have developed a brand called Jyoti. The family jointly runs the business," said Pradip, a brother. Read AlsoGujarat election campaigns: PM Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal carpet-bomb, cameo from Rahul GandhiAs the implacable hostilities of campaigning for the first phase of Gujarat election ended on Tuesday, the analysis of star campaigners indicated the BJP and the AAP relied on their most known faces — PM Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal. PM Modi helmed 23 rallies and roadshows, and Kejriwal 19."Most of the members live in a joint family, and it has its advantages. We share responsibilities hence everyone gets some free time," said Nirali, a woman from the family. The home they live in has a huge hall that allows them to assemble in one place for family functions. As the family is growing, they are facing space issues when a son gets married. Read AlsoGujarat polls 2022: Fertile for Congress; BJP vote machine aims to pluck seatsThe candidates in South Gujarat did not just fear the backlash from angry villagers when they visited tribal areas. What scared them more were the mobile phones that tech-savvy tribals wielded with great efficacy to scuttle campaigning."The majority of the members live in the same home where they grew up while young members are going to live in separate houses after marriage,'' said Ghanshyam. "The family unanimously decided to vote together to make a strong nation. We will not go by caste or any other illusions," said Bhavesh, another brother.
The Election Commission will conduct live monitoring of 13,065 polling booths in 19 districts that go to poll on Thursday. The election commission will keep an eye on voting through the special control room, which has been set for monitoring. As many as 163 NRI voters will vote on 89 seats in Phase I. Of these voters, 125 voters are males while 38 are females, stated the Election Commission. The EC has stated that the voting for Phase I will be held at 25,430 booths, and it will keep a watch from 6am before voting begins. The chief electoral officer has appointed six senior officials to oversee the webcasting at 13,065 booths. The voting will be held from 8am to 5pm. The EC stated persons with disability would handle 89 polling booths and over 600 booths will have all women staff.
Election Commission has declared 95% of the booths in Surat city’s Varachha and Karanj constituencies as sensitive. Out of 4,637 polling booths in Surat, 41% have been declared sensitive. EC classifies a polling booth as sensitive if it has reported incidents of criminal offences like booth capturing in the past.Polling in Surat will take place today amid strong presence of paramilitary forces and will decide the fates of AAP Patidar candidates Gopal Italia and Alpesh Kathiria.Out of 199 polling stations in Varachha, 193 have been declared as sensitive. In Karanj, out of 176 polling stations, 168 have been declared sensitive.In Kamrej, 383 out of 520 polling stations are sensitive. In Surat North and Katargam, about one-third of the polling booths are sensitive.During the 2017 Assembly elections, the effect of Patidar reservation agitation led to minor untoward incidents in the Patidar-dominated seats of Surat, including Varachha and Karanj.
As the state votes for phase-1 of the polls on Thursday, the state police are on high alert. However, for some reason three high ranking IPS officials, one each in Saurashtra, Bharuch and Kutch, have been rushed at the last moment. While police said that these officers have been posted for overseeing law and order, a whopping number of security personnel – about 1,230 for each of the 89 constituencies – have already been posted there for the first phase.Top officials said that they have deployed about 109,500 personnel and officials in Saurashtra, Kutch and South Gujarat to ensure smooth and peaceful elections. Quick Reaction Teams (QRT), mobile police patrolling, ancillary parties such the Sector Mobiles have also been deployed in the poll-bound areas. “Apart from 32,000 strong police force in the two cities of Surat and Rajkot and about 20 districts the will see voting for phase -1 on Thursday, 42,000 jawans of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), 500 jawans of State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and 35,000 Home Guard jawans have been deployed for poll duty.Meanwhile, top police sources said that IGP (ATS) Amitkumar Vishwakarma has been sent to Saurashtra, IGP Subhas Trivedi is camping in Bharuch and IGP G L Singhal has been deployed in Kutch region. Several high ranking state IB officials also have been dispatched to different places where the elections are scheduled for Thursday.Meanwhile, to ensure that liquor is not sold or distributed in the state during the election period, Gujarat police have registered about 34,000 cases under the Prohibition Act, and seized over Rs 20 crore worth of liquor. Some 3.27 lakh persons, seen as potential threats to peaceful conduct of elections, have been detained under the precautionary Act. Under the NDPS Act, 1,477 kg drugs worth over Rs 61.95 crore have been seized.Live webcast from 13,065 booths in 1st phaseLive webcast of more than 50% polling stations in the state will be done to keep a close eye on the voting process in the first phase of polling on December 1. In the first phase, 19 districts in Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat region will see voting on Thursday. Live webcast of the operations at 13,065 polling stations will be done. As per the instructions of the Election Commission of India (ECI), voting will be held in 25,430 polling stations in the first phase, of which 13,065 will be webcasted live. A state-level monitoring room has been set up by the office of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) at Vidya Samiksha Centre in Sector-19 in Gandhinagar from where all 13,065 polling stations will be closely monitored. As many as 42 staff/officers in the monitoring room will continuously monitor the polling webcast from the time voting begins at 8.00 am.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that security of the state was bigger priority than the development.“Today, I have not come to seek votes in name of development. The first priority is development.. but the security of the state is a bigger than development,” said Shah addressing an election rally at Mansa constituency in Gandhinagar.He also attacked the Congress party pointing out how Jagannath Rathyatras in Ahmedabad used to be targeted by rioting mobs during their rule.“BJP in its manifesto has talked about creation of anti-radicalisation cell against those spreading radicalisation and extremism,” he said while campaigning for JS Patel, the richest candidate contesting the 2022 polls with declared assets worth Rs 661 crore.Speaking about development, Shah said, “The Gujarat government is the foundation of the journey of development that Narendra Modi began. Today Bhupendra Patel is the chief minister and is doing beautiful work under the direct guidance of Narendra Modi. Special care is being taken by Narendrabhai along with other parts of the country.”Earlier in the day, addressing a similar election rally at tribal dominated Santrampur seat, Shah spoke about the contributions made by BJP for tribals.“Narendrabhai has made 10 museums dedicated to tribal freedom fighters across the country. At a cost of Rs 200 crore, memorials are being built in remembrance to the contributions made by tribal communities towards freedom struggle. Be it Raghunath Shanker Shah or Bhagwan Birsa Munda or unknown Bhil tribes who fought alongside Maharana Pratap and against vast armies of Akbar, all of their memories have been treasured by us,” Shah said.“These museums are being built at Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur and Mizoram,” he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will carry out a roadshow named Pushpanjali Yatra from Naroda to Chandkheda in Ahmedabad city on Thursday, during which he will offer floral tributes to statues of leaders, including Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay and Subhash Chandra Bose.Ahead of the roadshow, Modi will also address three public meetings — in Kalol of Panchmahals, Bodeli of Chhotaudepur and Himmatnagar of Sabarkantha district.On Wednesday, a group of diplomats from Denmark, United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore visited Naroda and watched the campaign of BJP candidate from Naroda constituency, Payal Kukrani.The group was accompanied by Vijay Chauthaiwale, in charge of BJP’s foreign affairs department.Speaking with The Indian Express, Chauthaiwale said, “Our president (JP Nadda) has launched ‘Know BJP’ initiative with an idea of ‘external’ outreach. In Delhi, he (Nadda) is meeting ambassadors from various countries who can ask questions about BJP. We also invite some foreign dignitaries to the BJP office.” He added that the envoys’ visit to Naroda was part of it.“During the interactions, lot of ambassadors ask how the party manages such massive election campaigns so meticulously. Therefore, we thought of taking them in a group to see the campaigns,” Chauthaiwale said.According to him, similar exercise was first carried out in Himachal Pradesh where the diplomats saw an election rally of PM Modi.“We are replicating similar pattern here. Today, they have viewed roadshow of (JP) Naddaji. They visited our party’s media headquarters, saw our media war room and social media war room. Then (we took them) to one of the candidates in Naroda area, Dr Payal Kukrani. We wanted to show them how she campaigns door-to-door… they saw how the residents respond, what questions they ask…”On Thursday, the group will visit BJP state headquarters, Shree Kamalam, in Gandhinagar and will attend an election rally of PM Modi in Himmatnagar.
The Election Commission of India on Wednesday said there had been “massive” seizures of drugs, liquor, cash, precious metals and other freebies in Gujarat during the campaign period, with the state Anti-Terrorism Squad intercepting drugs worth Rs.478 crore in an ongoing operation.The EC said officers of the ATS had seized 143kg of mephedrone, a synthetic drug, worth about Rs.478 crore from manufacturing units in Vadodara (Rural) and Vadodara City.“They have detained five persons from Nadiad and Vadodara and a criminal case is being registered in ATS Police Station, Ahmedabad under relevant sections of the NDPS Act, 1985. The operation is in progress and complete details will be made available once the operation is completed,” an EC statement said.Including the latest seizure, the authorities have made seizures of Rs.768.94 crore, of which drugs account for Rs.539.96 crore. A total of Rs.27.07 crore in cash, 4.11 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs.14.88 crore, precious metals worth Rs.15.79 crore and “freebies” worth Rs.171.24 crore had been seized till Tuesday, the EC said.With campaigning for the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls still on, the authorities have already made seizures of 28 times more than that in the 2017 polls.“The total seizures in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly Election were Rs 27.21 crores. Going by seizure chart as on 29.11.2022 which marks total seizures of Rs 290.24 crore, there is a massive jump in the amount of seizures which is 10.66 times of seizures in 2017. Add to it, the ongoing seizure of drugs, it becomes whopping 28 times. Behind the stupendous rise in seizure figures has been the comprehensive strategy, detailed planning and rigorous follow-ups by the Election Commission,” the EC said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has downplayed AAP’s challenge in Gujarat polls, claiming Arvind Kejriwal’s party may not even open its account, and said the BJP state unit’s announcement of setting up anti-radicalisation cell is a good initiative that can be considered by other states and the Centre.In an interview to PTI, Shah described Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity, all-round development of Gujarat during his tenure as the state chief minister and the implementation of zero appeasement policy as the main reasons for people repeatedly reposing faith in the BJP over the last 27 years.“The BJP will register an unprecedented victory in Gujarat. People have full faith in our party and our leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Shah, who has been crisscrossing the state and addressing five rallies a day in the run-up to the two-phase polls on December 1 and 5.On the question of AAP entering Gujarat assembly elections, the BJP leader said, ”Every party has a right to contest elections, but it is up to people whether they accept the party or not.“AAP is nowhere in the mind of the people of Gujarat. Wait for election results, maybe AAP’s name would not figure in the list of successful candidates,” he said.While the Congress has been the BJP’s principal rival in Gujarat, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (APP) has undertaken an aggressive campaign in Modi’s home state.On Congress, Shah said, “It is still the main opposition party, but the party is going through a crisis, and its impact is visible in Gujarat as well.” Asked about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, Shah said sustained efforts are a must in politics.“I have always been of the view that politicians need to be hard working and it is good when someone works hard. But in politics only sustained efforts show results. So let’s wait and see,” he said.Shah, who has been talking about issues of national security in the campaign for the state election, said they are important in every assembly poll.The Opposition has accused the BJP of raising national issues like terrorism in state elections to divert the people’s attention from governance-related concerns.“Is the security of Gujarat associated with national security or not? “Security of Gujarat and national security are not different issues. And if the country is not secure, how can Gujarat be secure? Therefore, national security is a major issue in all state assembly polls.“Being a border state, the people of Gujarat are sensitive about national security. We cannot afford to have national security impacted at any one location in the country,” he said while replying to a question.With the Opposition often accusing the government of misusing investigative agencies against its political rivals, Shah said there is an independent and neutral judiciary in the country, and “if there is any misuse of investigative agencies, then they can approach the judiciary”.Shah, who has been raising law and order issues in his campaign speeches, described ending lawlessness as one of the achievements of the BJP government in Gujarat.The former BJP president described the party’s poll promise to set up an anti-radicalisation cell as a good initiative and said any organisation like PFI that pushes youths towards terrorism will not be tolerated.He said the Popular Front of India (PFI) was banned after due diligence and several states had demanded it.“The Modi government decided to ban PFI after gathering a lot of information and proof related to their anti-national activities, especially their activities to push youth towards terrorism by radicalising them.“And several states have demanded to ban PFI. Such activities of any organisation will not be tolerated in the Modi government,” Shah told PTI.On whether BJP’s announcement in manifesto for setting up an anti-radicalisation cell in Gujarat will be implemented in other states also, Shah said, “It is a good initiative. Let it be implemented (here) first. It will be given a legal shape and its working mechanism will be decided.” He said radicalisation should be checked not only in Gujarat but in the entire country.“And it (anti-radicalisation cell) can be considered at the national level and other states. Radicalisation has nothing to do with any sect, but we all know which forces are promoting radicalisation. And the entire world is concerned about it,” Shah said.Asked about issues such as inflation impacting the election, the Union Home Minister said countries across the world are facing this problem, and India is the least affected among them.“Slowdown was a global challenge after Covid but still the Indian economy witnessed a V-shaped recovery. Similarly, I also believe India will very effectively tackle inflation, which is a challenge for countries across the globe. And today, the country’s social life is least impacted by inflation,” Shah said.On whether Bhupendra Patel will continue as chief minister if the BJP wins again, Shah said he has been doing “good work and taking forward all the initiatives started by Prime Minister Modi as Gujarat chief minister”.To a question on all regional parties coming together along with national parties to counter the BJP, Shah suggested that they stand nowhere in front of Prime Minister Modi’s popularity.“If you look at the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government he gave in the last eight years, I do not think such alliances will have any impact. And these regional parties do not have anything outside their respective states.“One regional party has nothing in another state. Eventually, it will be a one-on-one fight. And such alliances exist only on paper and are good for headlines.” Discussing the BJP’s expansion in southern and eastern states, Shah said the party’s vote share jumped to 40 percent in West Bengal and it won 18 Lok Sabha seats. He claimed the BJP will further improve its tally in West Bengal in the next Lok Sabha polls.In Telangana, the BJP has ”become the main opposition party”. The party is doing well in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Shah said, adding that the expansion of cadre-based parties is not possible overnight. “It takes time, but we are doing well in these states,” he said.
Low voter turnout in various assembly constituencies in Ahmedabad district in previous elections has spurred the district administration to turn to schools to boost up voters turnout in the second phase of election on December 5. It plans to hold various parents-students activities for this.Primary, secondary and higher-secondary schools in districts have been asked to call voters from the nearby areas to the school and raise awareness about voting. As per the instructions from the district SVEEP nodal officer to the district education officer, schools are entrusted to call students’ parents to the school for a meeting on December 1 and appeal to vote.The schools will send a team of students and teachers in the nearby areas for the door-to-door awareness about exercising their vote on December 2, three days before the polls. The schools are asked to hold rallies in the nearby areas on December 3 to make people aware to vote in the election. On December 4, schools will have to share messages about voting in the school’s WhatsApp groups for students and parents.New task for teachers besides election dutySchool teachers have been also roped in for various electoral duties, and this new task about raising voting awareness hasonce again burdened school administrations with theadditional workload.The district administration has shared with the city schools a list of polling stations with low turnouts with the schools and the school administration has been asked to ensure better voter turnout on December 5.A few school officials said that while they will follow the district administration’s orders, many schools are struggling anyways to hold internal exams, manage work amidst multiple election trainings and electoral duties.
By Ketan Dave and Shreyas PanditThey say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. In the case of voters and workers, serving them potli and good food means more votes in EVMs.Election campaigns cannot be successful without the support of party workers and voters. Political parties and candidates know that party workers and voters, especially in rural and backward areas, will be more dedicated if food, and in certain cases hooch, is provided to them.However, the trend has picked up fast in urban areas as well. Candidates have been ordering large quantities of chevda-chavana, fulwadi and other instant snacks besides potli (hooch).Advance orders are placed to ensure that the tummies of workers and party activists always remain filled. In fact, farsan shops are working round-the-clock in three shifts to meet the demand. Chefs, cooks and ‘maharaj’ are being called from Rajasthan and UP to meet the increased demand.Workers who come early are provided tea and snacks whereas those working late are served dinner.Hard drinks are also supplied to specific groups. In big cities, workers reach party offices after dinner but they are being lured to come early by providing them with meals.Tuver thotha, green turmeric vegetable, bhaji pav are most preferred in cities while in South Gujarat umbadiyu and other traditional meals are served.Certain candidates have been putting up menus in advance so that workers can plan accordingly.Hot snacks and ‘advance’ menusHot snacks are being served at party offices in the morning and evening. Instead of just poha or theplas, a varied menu is prepared and new snacks are served. Dilip Thakkar, who has been involved with the food industry for years, said the demand for light snacks including poha, upma, sev usal, dabeli, vada pav and idli-sambhar, mix farsan, ganthia and mix farsan is high besides tea and coffee.Teams deliver foodpackets to votersSpecial teams have been set up to deliver fulvadis and chavana packets to voters at their homes. The significance of workers is being truly appreciated during the election time and certain candidates who have not met the voters for five years are trying to please them by delivering snacks at home. This trend is strong in rural areas.
A day after Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, while taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for asking people in all constituencies to vote for BJP on the basis of his face, asked whether he is hundred-headed Raavan with a head everywhere, the BJP hit back, calling it an insult of Modi and every Gujarati. The ruling party called it a “testimony to their hate for Gujaratis”, and asked people of the state to teach the party a “lesson” by voting for BJP.The Congress countered the attack on its chief — and the party’s tallest leader from Dalit community — by accusing BJP leaders of unleashing an “anti-Dalit tirade”.Taking a strong exception to Kharge’s remarks, Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel tweeted, “Bereft of any development agenda and support from the people, Congress is out to abuse Gujarat and Gujaratis. The statement made by Kharge-ji against PM Narendra Modi-ji is a testimony to their hate for Gujaratis…”Patel was reacting to Kharge’s address at a public rally on Monday night at Ahmedabad’s Behrampura. Hitting out at BJP for relying on Modi for every election, Kharge said, “We see your (Modi’s) face in corporation elections, MLA elections or MP elections, everywhere… Do you have a hundred heads like Raavan?”He also said, “I have been seeing that votes are sought in the name of Modi-ji — be it municipality elections, corporation elections (or Assembly polls)… Ask for vote in the name of the candidate…is Modi going to come and work at the municipality? Is he going to help you in times of your need?Reacting sharply, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on Tuesday asked people in Gujarat to cast “100 per cent” votes for “son of the soil” Modi and take “revenge” in a democratic manner. At a press conference, he alleged Kharge was voicing the views of Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. Personal attacks on Modi started with Sonia’s “maut ka saudagar” (merchant of death) remarks during 2007 Gujarat Assembly polls, Patra pointed out.“What Kharge said is condemnable and shows the mindset of the Congress. This is not merely an insult of Modi but of every Gujarati,” he said.BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya tweeted, “Unable to take the heat of Gujarat election, pushed to the fringe, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge loses control over his words, calls Prime Minister Narendra Modi “Ravan”. From “Maut ka Saudagar” to “Ravan”, Congress continues to insult Gujarat and its son.”Congress media department head Pawan Khera shot back, “Why can’t you digest the fact that a Dalit who has worked his way up is the elected president of the Congress? Calling him fringe shows what you and your party thinks of Dalits.”With PTI inputs
Targeting the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in New Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said that during winter he wished to be in Ahmedabad which had cleaner air compared to the national capital.Shah was addressing an election rally in Amraiwadi locality of Ahmedabad.“Ahmedabad was one of the top five most polluted cities during Congress rule. Narendra Modi brought CNG rickshaws and even provided loans. I live in Delhi. When it is winters, I wish to be in Ahmedabad, as I choke (in Delhi). Under AAP’s rule, the air in Delhi is not breathable and when you come here, you breathe in good air and in a good environment,” said Shah.“From December, India is going to head G-20. This G-2O will become a bog reason for the progress of India,” Shah added claiming that the country’s image across the globe has improved.He said state government in Gujarat is already planning to host Olympic Games in 2036.The BJP has worked a lot in East Ahmedabad and bridged the difference in infrastructure that it had with West Ahmedabad, the Union Minister added. He also asked local residents in Amraiwadi to call 20 people up in their area and ask them to vote for BJP.Addressing another election rally at Thasra in Kheda district, Shah said that neither Hindus nor Muslims benefit from communal riots“The Congress has no other work other than making Hindus and Muslims fight. BJP government ended communal riots in the state. Neither Hindu nor Muslims get any benefit from communal riots,” he said.During the rally, he alleged that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi used to warn people against taking the Covid-19 vaccine terming it “Modi vaccine”, but later got vaccinated himself secretly.Shah also reiterated that rioters were taught a lesson in 2002 by the then chief minister Narendra Modi.-PTI inputs
From live rallies to poll promises, raps to trolling, social media reflects the high-octane, three-cornered Gujarat poll battle in its spirit and essence, with Twitter and Facebook leading from the front. Now, with only two days remaining for the first day of polling in the elections, political parties have intensified their campaign on these platforms as well.AAPAmong the three major players, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s social media accounts are the most up-to-date and active on the Gujarat Assembly elections. Even though the party is battling crucial MCD polls along with the Assembly Polls in Gujarat, every second post from its main handles is related to Gujarat polls.According to a PTI report, more than 95 per cent of content shared from the AAP’s main Facebook and Twitter accounts was on the party’s activities in Gujarat on Sunday.દબાવીએ ઝાડુનું બટન,બનાવીએ સુખી જીવન! pic.twitter.com/r4xzyyfsjg— AAP Gujarat | Mission2022 (@AAPGujarat) November 29, 2022The party has 6.4 million followers on Twitter and 5.5 million followers on Facebook.The party’s regional Twitter handle, ‘AAP Gujarat | Mission2022’, with 138k followers, shares the detailed programme schedule of its star campaigners every morning. AAP, which is trying to make inroads into the state, is fighting the battle mostly on its welfare schemes and promises of Kejriwal’s ‘sache din’.BJPThe ruling BJP is close behind AAP in this race. More than 40 per cent of its tweets and above 35 per cent of its Facebook posts shared between November 21 and November 27 were related to the party’s campaigning in Gujarat, the PTI report said. The BJP’s Twitter handle has 19.5 million followers, and its Facebook page has 16 million followers.The party’s state handle which has around 1.5 million followers, features Gujarati folk singer Arvind Vegda for the party. The rap song by Vegda goes, “This is a tale of what happened 30 years ago, what time it was. Lack of water was an enemy of people. Cattles were looking around for water and dairies were shut. Modiji gave the gift of water, animals and birds get water day and night. Cut the votes of those who kept you thirsty for water. Vote for BJP who is dedicated to development. With the BJP, water is now overflowing. That is why BJP is ‘trust.”મોદીજીએ આપી દીધી પાણીની સોગાત રેપશુ પંખી સૌને મળે પાણી દિનરાત રેતો પાણી માટે તરસાવે એના મત કાપો રેવિકાસને વરેલ BJP ને મત આપો રેભાજપ સાથે પાણીની છોળો રેલાય છેએટલે જ તો ભાજપ એટલે ભરોસો કહેવાય છે #ભરોસાની_ભાજપ_સરકાર#કમળ_ખીલશે_ગુજરાત_જીતશે#ભાજપ_આવે_છે#આવશે_ભાજપ_ફાવશે_ભાજપ pic.twitter.com/jE4Xz5ivOo— BJP Gujarat (@BJP4Gujarat) November 29, 2022The party heavily relies on PM Narendra Modi and his popularity for the election campaign. Among the campaign rallies, the party also features the BJP government’s pride projects in the state, from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s Statue in Kevadia to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.CongressMost of the content posted by the grand old party is regarding Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, with only 15 per cent of the tweets posted by the Congress’s official Twitter handle taking up content related to Gujarat elections. Out of 280 tweets posted between Nov 21-27, only 42 were related to the party’s campaigns and party leaders’ rallies in Gujarat.On the other hand, 22 per cent of the Facebook content of the Congress was related to the state elections in Gujarat, while 75 per cent of posts from the main handles (198 tweets and 194 Facebook posts) were on the events related to Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra from Monday (Nov 21) to Sunday (Nov 27) last week.જળ-જંગલથી વંચિત આદિવાસીઓ કહે છે ઉદ્યોગપતિઓની સરકારને બદલો અને આદિવાસીઓને અધિકાર આપનારી કોંગ્રેસની સરકાર બનાવો#ભાજપ_જાય_છે#કૉંગ્રેસ_આવે_છે_125_લાવે_છે pic.twitter.com/R8EhOrNfvu— Gujarat Congress (@INCGujarat) November 29, 2022The Congress has 9 million followers on Twitter and 6.3 Million followers on Facebook.The party’s Gujarat handles are much more active in posting election-related content. Along with the campaign rallies, the party shares its poll promises and criticises the ruling BJP government on issues concerning farmers, woman, and the tribal population. Ever since the campaigning began, the party has been at loggerheads with the BJP over tribal welfare.(With PTI inputs)
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge Monday drew sharp reactions from the BJP for comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Raavan during a rally in poll-bound Gujarat.Hitting out at the BJP for relying heavily on Modi for every election, Kharge, at a public rally in Ahmedabad’s Behrampura, said, “We see your (Modi’s) face in corporation elections, MLA elections or MP elections, everywhere… Do you have 100 heads like Raavan?”Kharge added, “I’ve been seeing that votes are sought in the name of Modiji, be it municipality elections, corporation elections (or Assembly elections)… Ask for vote in the name of the candidate… is Modi going to come and work at the municipality? Is he going to help you in times of your need?Unable to take the heat of Gujarat election, pushed to the fringe, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge loses control over his words, calls Prime Minister Narendra Modi “Ravan”.From “Maut ka Saudagar” to “Ravan”, Congress continues to insult Gujarat and it’s son… pic.twitter.com/je5lkU4HBw— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 29, 2022Reacting sharply, BJP spokesperson Amit Malviya accused the Congress party of insulting the prime minister. “Unable to take the heat of Gujarat election, pushed to the fringe, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge loses control over his words, calls Prime Minister Narendra Modi “Ravan”. From “Maut ka Saudagar” to “Ravan”, Congress continues to insult Gujarat and it’s son.”Malviya was referring to an old adage adopted by the Congress, blaming PM Modi for the Godhra incident and the subsequent communal riots in Gujarat.At a press conference on Tuesday, Malviya added that Kharge’s remarks were “condemnable” and showed “Congress’ mindset”. “It’s an insult not just to PM Modi. It is an insult to every Gujarati, to Gujarat,” he said.In the rally, Kharge further said, “If the BJP believed it was winning in Gujarat, then Modiji, who should have been in Delhi working for the Central government, would not have left to tour the alleys of Gujarat, visiting every Assembly segment… He is going to every ward of Gujarat. He is going, Shah is going, four-five other chief ministers are going, more than 40 union ministers are going… Because they got to know people are against them and they can see it…”
With one day to go before campaigning for the first phase of the Gujarat election ends, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge were among a plethora of political heavyweights to address rallies in the state on Monday.Modi, who held four rallies in the Saurashtra region, said Gujarat had suffered under the Congress’s “divide and rule” policy until the people of the state united against “divisive forces” more than 20 years ago.“Our mantra is peace, unity and harmony. The root cause of Gujarat’s progress is the unity here. On the other hand, Congress’s core ideology is to divide and rule — making people fight among themselves so that its interests are protected. This was Congress’s trick,” Modi said at a rally for the BJP at Palitana in Bhavnagar district. He said that the Congress made Marathas and Gujaratis fight each other before Gujarat became a separate state, and added that after the state was formed, the party caused rifts among various regions, communities and sects.Seeing through the Congress’s “trick”, he said, the people of Gujarat went on to adopt a path of unity and choose the BJP to govern the state. “Thanks to walking the path of unity, Gujarat has been progressing constantly for the past 20 years unlike in the times when bombs used to explode in markets and temples, and when an atmosphere of insecurity prevailed,” the Prime Minister said. The BJP formed a government in Gujarat for the first time in 1995, and Narendra Modi became chief minister of the state in 2001, staying on in the post until he became Prime Minister in 2014.Shah addressed rallies in Mehsana, Aravalli, Ahmedabad and Vadodara, and accused the Congress of “disrupting peace”. He alleged that during Congress rule, the state saw communal riots and curfews. In Ahmedabad, Shah said the BJP converted it from a city of “badshahs and begums” to “Karnavati”. Changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati, after the legendary king Karnadev Solanki, has been on the BJP’s agenda since the 1990s.“They (Congress) orchestrated Hindu-Muslim riots and ensured that there was a curfew for 250 of the 365 days… Bombs used to be found from homes of their Cabinet ministers and 200 people would get stabbed daily in Ahmedabad jail. In 2001, when Narendrabhai became the chief minister, noone had the courage to cast an evil eye on the rath yatra of Lord Jagannath… The Congress had backed rioters always and so in 2002, they (miscreants) made another attempt to create a riot. But they were taught such a lesson that they never lifted their heads again,” Shah said.Also appearing at rallies in the state for the BJP on Monday were Union ministers Smriti Irani and Parshottam Rupala, as well as Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and actor-turned-politician Paresh Rawal.Kejriwal held a townhall with diamond workers in Surat, and also addressed a roadshow in Katargam, which was hit by stone-pelting, according to the AAP. Kejriwal appealed to the people to vote the AAP to power for five years and said that even to those who pelted stones, he would give “free electricity and education to your children”.The AAP, which is fighting on 182 seats, saw two of its candidates withdraw their nominations, of which the Abdasa candidate Vasant Khetani joined BJP on Monday.Addressing a public rally at Behrampura on Monday, Congress president Kharge targeted the BJP for failing to provide jobs in Gujarat and for paper leaks, while also taking a dig at the party for deploying PM Modi, Union ministers and chief ministers at the Gujarat election campaign.“If the BJP believed it was winning in Gujarat, then Modiji, who should have been in Delhi working for the central government, would not have left it to tour the alleys of the state, visiting every Assembly segment of Gujarat. He is going to every ward of Gujarat. He is going, Shah is going, four-five other chief ministers are going, more than 40 Union ministers are going…Because they got to know people are against them and they can see it…I’ve been seeing that votes are sought in the name of Modiji, be it municipality elections, corporation elections (or Assembly elections)…Ask for vote in the name of the candidate…is Modi going to come and work at the municipality? Is he going to help you in times of your need?” Kharge said.Sarma again brought up the Shraddha Walkar murder case on Monday in Ahmedabad. “So, it is my clear allegation that Congress has given the country an ecosystem where such incidents of ‘love jihad’ have become very easy. And people like Aaftab were under the impression that there is still a Congress government… Therefore, I believe that the country needs a law against ‘love jihad’. And it can be possible only in the BJP government under the leadership of Narendra Modi.”
AHMEDABAD: Responding to PM Narendra Modi’s accusation that the Congress was indulging in votebank politics over terrorism, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said his party has sacrificed two Prime Ministers in the fight against terrorism. Asking if any BJP leader had fought for the freedom of the country, Kharge said, “We have done the work to fight against terrorists. To maintain peace in the country, we have sacrificed our leaders. Indira Gandhi sacrificed her life to keep the country united. Rajiv Gandhi was martyred for the unity of the country. Is there a leader in the BJP who at least fought for the freedom of the country?” Kharge asked, while speaking to reporters at the GPCC headquarters on Monday. Accusing the BJP of attempting to divert attention from the real issues of the assembly election, Kharge said, “We are here before you with the issues affecting the state. It is better if he (Modi) talks about the successes and failures of the state.” He added, “They (BJP) are provoking Congress and other leaders to speak up and get angry. Their aim is to provoke us and divide society, but we are not going to fall into their trap.” Saying there is an undercurrent in favour of the Congress party for the assembly election, Kharge said, “The people are silent, but there is an undercurrent in favour of the Congress. When Modi gets a shock, he will realize that there is a current,” he stated. Slamming PM Modi for seeking votes in his name and saying only he contributed to the progress of Gujarat as if there were no leaders before him, Kharge said, “If any party built the country in 70 years, it was Congress.” He also attacked the “Gujarat model of governance”, saying that there are five lakh vacancies in government jobs, the state’s debt is rising sharply and three to four lakh Covid-19 deaths took place in Gujarat.
Canvassing for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly Elections to be held on December 1, will come to an end on Tuesday at 5 pm. As per the rules, canvassing by political parties is prohibited 48 hours before the elections as per the Section 126 of Representation of the People Act 1951. The Election Commission has issued directions stating that all canvassing in constituencies that are part of the first phase of election will end at 5 pm on November 29.AM
With Gujarat going to polls on December 1 and 5, the Election Commission has set up webcast facilities in 50% of polling booths of each of the state’s 33 districts. The webcast won’t be for people, however. It is aimed at allowing election officials to keep a watch on the proceedings to ensure a free and fair election.A control room will be set up in every district and will be manned by a few people at the District Election Office.An official said on the condition of anonymity, “Some 25,000 booths all over the state will have the webcast facility. The manning of the webcast will also be done at the state level by about 50 people, both in phase 1 and phase 2.” Ahmedabad has 5,611 polling booths, of which 2,827 will have the webcast facility.The purpose of the initiative is to ensure that polls are held peacefully and don’t see any violations. The facility can also be of help in case of complaints being filed.Earlier only 10-20% booths were coveredSources said, “There was a webcast facility in every district earlier also but it covered only 10-20% of the booths. This time the number has been increased to 50%. This is not for the people to view. It is for the officials to look into the process.” The booths that will see webcasting are in the critical and vulnerable category, or polling stations that have several booths.
Mamlatdar (Auda) and Assistant Election Officer of Dariapur constituency lodged a complaint against Congress candidate Gyasuddin Shaikh, who’s contesting from Dariapur, under section 127 (4) of Peoples Representation Act for mentioning the wrong time of voting in the second phase of elections in Ahmedabad on December 5. Shaikh had distributed pamphlets without the name and address of the printing press and also mentioned the time as 8 am to 6 pm against the actual time of 8 am to 5 pm.AM
AHMEDABAD: As political bigwigs 'carpet bombed' poll-bound Gujarat by holding 400-odd rallies across state since the announcement of the election, slogans as well as charter flights have rent the air. At least 650 charter aircraft movements were recorded at the general aviation terminal of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport from November 4 to November 28, as star campaigners held rallies and public meetings in the run-up to one of the most consequential elections in recent time. The charter flight movements are about 60% higher than in September, when on average 15 charter aircraft flew in and out of Gujarat, an airport source told TOI. In addition to corporate travel, electoral campaigns are driving charter movements in the state. Besides PM Narendra Modi, a battery of political notables including BJP president J P Nadda, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath have visited Gujarat since the poll was declared. Airports and airstrips across Gujarat have been busy handling private jets and helicopters this month, catering to the VIPs from the BJP, the Congress, and the AAP. “Since November 11, about 270 non-scheduled flight movements have been recorded here, including those of 180 choppers,” said another source. “The surge was spurred by the bustling election campaign and movement of star campaigners.” The Bhavnagar airport, which typically handles one flight a day, had to deal with 19 aircraft landings on Saturday alone. That day Union home minister Amit Shah, Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil, and Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil, among others arrived in the district for canvassing. Most political heavyweights flew by private charters and hired helicopters. Ahmedabad’s SVPI airport, which contended with 650-700 charter movements over the past 28 days, also handled scheduled commercial operations of about 6,700 flights.
NETRANG (BHARUCH): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused that the Congress of not having respect for the tribal community and said that the party opposed candidature of Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election held earlier this year. He was canvassing for the BJP in Netrang, a tribal area of Bharuch district. Modi also said that the entire world was amazed at how India managed to come out Covid-19 pandemic in such a short span. "Congress has no respect for tribals in the country. When we proposed to make our tribal daughter (Droupadi Murmu) the president of the country, the Congress opposed it. We put all our might and made the tribal daughter win the election," Modi said. "Be it Birsa Munda or Govind Guru, the Congress never gave the due respect to the tribal leaders," he further alleged. The PM said the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in a big country like India was terrifying. "We faced the pandemic and came out of it. The entire world is amazed how we did it," Modi said. During pandemic factories were closed, people had to go back to their villages. "In such circumstances, our first concern was to provide enough food to poor people. We have been providing free ration to 80 crore people for the last three years," Modi said. He said that when many countries are still struggling to vaccinate their entire population, India has provided more than 200 crore doses of anti-coronavirus vaccine to its people. "After two doses, we provided a booster dose also free," Modi said.
AHMEDABAD: Words by themselves are charms, and more so for the glib-tongued politicians. And yet, when it’s time to court the ballot, even the most artfully persuasive of them are seen to be carrying an extra lucky charm — call it their superstition or success mantra. Like former minister Yogesh Patel, 77-year-old senior BJP leader and a seven-term legislator. Even a seasoned politician like him has pulled out a ‘bandi’ and a ‘topi’ from his cupboard before setting off to campaign for the Manjalpur assembly constituency in Vadodara. The incumbent MLA believes that the ‘bandi’ that was gifted to him by Savli vala baba in 1990, acts as a “divine shield” that has not only protected him against his detractors but has also helped him escape unharmed, be it riots or other precarious situations. “Before I got elected as MLA for the first time, I had even lostcorporation election which I had contested in 1984,” recalls Patel, whom the BJP has given a shot to get elected for an eighth term even though he does not meet the party’s 75 years cut-off for candidates. “Before the 1990 election, I was responsible for stage decoration during Dussehra celebrations organized by Savli vala baba who used to live in a small ‘jhupdi’ and invite singers for nightlong celebrations. He was so impressed with the stage decoration that he asked me to wait until after the programme. He shared some jokes on ‘netas’ and then gifted me this bandi,” Patel told TOI. Patel added that the local saint, who is no more, had even pulled out a saffron topi from his pocket. “He asked me to keep it inside my pocket whenever I faced any difficulties,” said Patel, adding that the baba had predicted he will never lose any election. Unlike Patel, luck, however, did not favour Madhu Shrivastava, the six-term MLA from Waghodia, who was dropped after ticket allocation by the BJP. Nonetheless, the Waghodia strongman too, who is contesting as an independent, is relying on “divine” intervention. “I do everything after consulting my family astrologer. It was on his advice that I filed the nomination papers to contest the election as an independent. I also sought ‘gannakhedut’ as my election symbol as he told me that with the farmer with sugarcane stick as my election symbol, I will win the polls,” said Shrivastava. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and its chief ministerial face Isudan Gadhvi, who is contesting from the Khambhaliya seat, also starts all his work after praying to Kamai Mata, a temple near his native village in Kalyanpur taluka. He came to seek blessings of the deity before filing his candidature and also offered a ‘dhwaja’ and organized ‘havan’ on the day his namewas declared by the AAP as CM face for Gujarat. Gadhvi, who starts all the important activities of his life, after praying at this temple, is expected to visit this temple again on the day of counting. The BJP candidate from temple town Dwarka — Pabubha Manek, a seven-term MLA — always wears a necklace (mala) that was given to him by his guruji Mangaldash Maharaj in 1995. He had first won the election as an independent candidate in 1990. It is believed that he got his guruji’s blessings in the form of the necklace after that. Pabubha keeps his guruji’s blessings close to his chest with a strong belief that the necklace does not let him lose any election. He has won thrice as an independent candidate, once on a Congress ticket and thrice on a BJP ticket. And then, there’s Vinod Moradiya. Everywhere that he goes, his mare is sure to go! This BJP candidate from Katargam seat won’t move an inch without Reshma, his trustworthy mare, which he rides on every special occasion. Moradiya does everything in his capacity to keep her fit and implicitly trusts her ability to sense danger, which may not be visible to human eyes. “I feel energetic with my horse around, almost as if it is supplying me power,” he said. When he went to file nomination papers for the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) election for the first time, Moradiya went with Reshma. Thereafter, it was Reshma that ferried Moradiya for every form filling exercise in every election. “Reshma is a mixed breed of Marvadi and Kathi horse. It is the third generation of the horse family that has been with us for the past many years,” said Moradiya, who along with his entire family takes care of the precious mare including her regular exercise. (With inputs by Yagnesh Mehta)