Big Battle for Gujarat: Will it be BJP versus AAP?

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to the supporters during a public rally, as Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel looks on, at Jamkandorana, in Rajkot Tuesday. (ANI Photo)

As the election date in Gujarat comes close, the war of words between AAP and BJP is getting hot and ugly. AAP’s hopes in Gujarat have been fuelled by its good performance in the February 2021 Surat Municipal Corporation elections 

Our Bureau
New Delhi

In a stunning development, the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Gujarat unit head Gopal Italia was detained by the Delhi police from the National Commission of Women (NCW) office in Delhi. NCW chief Rekha Sharma summoned Italia over a controversial video, in which he was purportedly seen using derogatory language for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier, on Thursday, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers were seen protesting outside Sharma’s office after the Commission summoned AAP Gujarat chief Gopal Italia. Italia allegedly made casteist remarks about PM Narendra Modi and could be seen criticizing the Prime Minister.

Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sambit Patra slammed Italia over his remark. “Calling the Prime Minister, a lowly person is against the democratic rules of the country; it is an insult to the country. Be it any caste, or any religion, no person can be lowly,” Patra had said at a press conference.

As the election date in Gujarat comes close, the war of words between AAP and BJP is getting hot and ugly. Both the parties have intensified attacks on each other.

AAP made its debut in Gujarat in the 2017 Assembly polls, but could not open its account. AAP’s hopes in Gujarat have been fuelled by its performance in the February 2021 Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) polls in which BJP won 93 seats, while Aam Aadmi Party bagged 27 seats and the Congress drew a blank.

Meanwhile, in the 2017 Assembly elections, Congress had given a scare to the ruling BJP by restricting its MLAs to 99 and winning 77 seats on its own. There are 182 assembly seats in Gujarat. Notably, the party has been constantly making efforts to replace the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal (ANI)

Apparently targeting the ruling dispensation in poll-bound Gujarat and reacting to the posters that surfaced calling him “anti-Hindu”, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that he was born on Krishna Janmashtami and God sent him with a special task to finish off “descendants” of Kansa.

He alleged that the posters and banners have used insulting words for God adding that the people of Gujarat will not spare those who have used such words. “The people put the poster have used insulting words for God. They have insulted God. They hate me so much that they have not even spared God in the poster. I want to ask the people of Gujarat if they are going to spare those who have used such words. These people are the children of Kansa, who are insulting God,” said Kejriwal while addressing in Vadodara.

He further called himself a religious person and an ardent devotee of Lord Hanuman.

“I was born on Krishna Janmashtami and God has sent me with a special task to finish off the descendants of Kansa, the corrupts and goons,” said Kejriwal.

Trying to put an end to the controversy over alleged “anti-Hindu” statements by AAP’s Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam in Delhi. Gautam converted to Buddhism in a religious conversion event in which he allegedly denounced Hindu deities. He further said that they (AAP) all will fulfil this task given by God.

Earlier, banners and posters calling Arvind Kejriwal “anti-Hindu” and showing him wearing a skull appeared in several cities of Gujarat.

In the run-up of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) campaigning ahead of the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls, Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the “Gujarat Gaurav Yatra” in Ahmedabad on Thursday. Shah visited Sant Shree Savaiyanath Samadhi Sthaan to pay obeisance in Zanzarka, Ahmedabad.

Earlier on Wednesday, JP Nadda flagged off the ‘Gujarat Gaurav Yatra’ in Mehsana. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and other BJP leaders were also present at the occasion.

Addressing a public rally on the occasion, Nadda said, “BJP is a pro-active, pro-responsible government and pro-responsive government. He said the BJP government understands the plight of the people. What did Congress do for years? Pitted brothers against each other, areas against each other and did not supply water where it was needed. Jo vikas ki yatra chalani thi usko atkaya, bhatkaya, latkaya. Now they themselves are stuck…”

Union Home Minister Amit Shah with Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel offers prayers at Sant Shree Savaiyanath Samadhi Sthaan temple, Zanzarka, in Ahmedabad on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

“Gaurav yatra is not just for Gujarat alone, it is a yatra to establish pride of entire India. It’s a matter of fortune that Gujarat is the ‘Gangotri’ of ‘Gaurav Yatra’ to re-establish the nation on the global map, to make it self-reliant, developed.”

BJP has geared up for the upcoming Assembly elections in Gujarat.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a public meeting at Jamkandorna in Rajkot district. He also held a roadshow after the rally.

“Being in Jamkandorana is always special,” tweeted PM Modi.

PM also launched multiple projects worth over Rs 8,000 crore at Amod, Bharuch. He laid the foundation stone of the Bulk Drug Park at Jambusar, the Deep-Sea Pipeline Project at Dahej, Phase 1 of Ankleshwar Airport and the development of Multilevel Industrial Sheds at Ankleshwar and Panoli.

The Prime Minister also dedicated several projects which will give a boost to the chemicals sector in Gujarat including GACL Plant, Bharuch Underground Drainage and IOCL Dahej Koyali Pipeline.

Narendra Modi on Wednesday hailed the Union Cabinet’s decision to approve the development of a multi-purpose cargo berth and container terminal in Deendayal Port-Kandla at Tuna Tekra in Gujarat on the Gulf of Kutch and said it will benefit many states.

The Prime Minister said that this decision will benefit many states which do not have access to the coastline. “An important Cabinet decision, which will drive India’s efforts of port-led development and becoming a hub for trade. This decision will also benefit many states which do not have access to the coastline,” PM Modi said in a tweet.

In his attack on AAP, Modi heaped praise on the tribal communities of Gujarat while also cautioning them against the “Urban Naxals who are trying to enter the state” by changing their appearance.

The Prime Minister said that the Urban Naxals are “luring the youth” and asked the people to “warn their children” against their “initiative to destroy the country”. PM Modi’s remarks came while laying the foundation stone and dedicating to the nation multiple projects worth over Rs 8,000 crore at Amod, Bharuch on Monday.

“These Naxalite-minded people first tried their best to stop Sardar Sarovar Dam, and now these Urban Naxals are trying to enter with a new look. They have changed costumes, luring energetic youth,” PM Modi said while addressing the occasion, taking a veiled jibe at the Aam Aadmi Party which is also in the fray in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.

Stating that Naxalism could not enter Gujarat due to the state’s tribals, PM Modi expressed his gratitude to the community, while also adding that the Urban Naxals are “setting foot from above”.

“I have to say with satisfaction that my words were accepted by the tribal brothers and sisters. The result was that Naxalism could not enter Gujarat through that route. For that, I express my gratitude to my tribal brothers and sisters. But now Urban Naxals are setting foot from above,” he said.

Putting the charge that the Urban Naxals have taken the initiative to “destroy the country”, PM Modi said they are the “agents of foreign forces”.

“We should warn our children that Urban Naxals have taken the initiative to destroy the country. They have come as agents of foreign forces. Gujarat will never bow down in front of them,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister also recalled the time when some miscreants obstructed the path of development in Bharuch. He said, “When we came to power in 2014 and Gujarat felt the double-engine power of Narendra and Bhupendra, all obstructions were uprooted.” The Prime Minister pointed out the obstructions created by Urban Naxals during the development of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

Probably, this time it is AAP which is going to give a fight to BJP in Gujarat as the Congress takes a back seat. That is the reason the ruling party is going to intensify its attack on Arvind Kejriwal and his outfit.

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