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In BJP stronghold of Rajkot, Arvind Kejriwal throws down gauntlet


In the primary public assembly organised completely by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) since 2016 in Gujarat, Arvind Kejriwal blended populism with politics, faith with guarantees of schooling and well being, and appeared to attract a great response together with his assaults on the BJP.

Held in Rajkot on May 11, the assembly drew sufficient of a turnout for AAP Gujarat unit chief Gopal Italia to proclaim: “We can be proud that we did not ride government buses to reach there but came on our own to listen to Kejriwal.”

This was the third rally in Gujarat by Kejriwal, the AAP national convenor, in fast succession, after a Tiranga Yatra in Ahmedabad in March and a tribal sammelan with Chhotu Vasava of the Bharatiya Tribal Party in Bharuch on May 1.

AAP had bought an enormous increase in Rajkot final month with the entry of former Congress MLA from Rajkot (East) Indranil Rajyaguru. With declared property of Rs 123 crore in 2012, Rajyaguru was on the time the richest MLA within the state Assembly. Rajyaguru joined AAP together with two of the 4 sitting Congress corporators within the Rajkot Municipal Corporation, Vashram Sagathiya and Komal Bharai.

At the Rajkot assembly, Rajyaguru featured as huge as Kejriwal within the large hoarding forming the backdrop of the stage.

The former MLA talked about his contribution to the area, whereas addressing Kejriwal as “sir”. “I want to tell you a story. When democracy was invented, everyone was holed up in a well. People came out climbing one another’s shoulders. I was among the first few to come out. Many who did so subsequently marched on, earned some money and became middle-class people. But, despite getting everything, I stayed put near the well, to haul over those still inside. Thus, I remained in politics,” mentioned Rajyaguru.

AAP leaders mentioned Rajyaguru becoming a member of had helped the get together. Ajit Lokhil, organisational secretary of AAP’s Gujarat unit, mentioned: “We wanted to hold an Arvind Kejriwal meeting in Rajkot (for long), but things started taking shape only after May 3.” Calling AAP a motion, he claimed that 25,000 individuals had attended the assembly, 70% of them from Rajkot metropolis.

A metropolis with a powerful presence of the RSS, Rajkot has lengthy been managed by the BJP, each through its municipal company and its three Assembly seats, which had been all held by the get together for a very long time. It was from Rajkot West (beforehand generally known as Rajkot-II) that Narendra Modi had contested his maiden election in 2001 to enter the Gujarat Assembly. Vijay Rupani too had received a bypoll to Rajkot West in 2014 earlier than turning into a minister and subsequently CM in 2016.

Kejriwal promised that if voted to energy, an AAP authorities would take each aged of Gujarat on a pilgrimage to Ayodhya, and guarantee improved authorities colleges, higher hospitals and extra employment alternatives for youth.

Save C R Paatil, the Gujarat BJP president, Kejriwal didn’t identify some other politician in his speech, whereas claiming that regardless of who sits within the Chief Minister’s Office in Gujarat, it’s Navsari MP Paatil who runs the federal government. He termed the Congress the “little sister” of the BJP and requested individuals to not belief it both. He drew the loudest response when he requested all those that thought “CR Paatil was a thug” to lift their arms.

At his resort, he acquired a delegation of these related to the ceramic trade in Morbi.

In the viewers, Kejriwal’s message of colleges and hospitals struck a resonance, greater than the Ayodhya promise. “Congress bhangi gai chhee (has imploded) and it is important to help Kejriwal win for the sake of my grandchildren. I have faith, he can do good. But it will be okay if he fails to do so as that is what I have seen all my life,” mentioned Magan Vadher, 70, a retired manufacturing unit employee from Shapar-Veraval industrial cluster on the outskirts of Rajkot, who has at all times voted for the Congress.

Mangala Muliyana, 67, a homemaker from Gandhigram space of Rajkot, mentioned the Congress’s days had been over. “Look, there are only the mother-son duo (of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi) left in that party… The broom of AAP will win now,” mentioned Muliyana, whose son Deepak, a printing press proprietor, was a Congress employee however defected to AAP three years in the past.

Manoj Khambhla, a maldhari (cattle-herder) from the town, mentioned he had additionally modified his loyalty. “The BJP has enacted the new cattle law and is not allowing us maldaris to keep cattle in the city. How are we to earn our living and fund our children’s education?” mentioned the 42-year-old, whose two daughters research in government-supported colleges.

The BJP refused to speak concerning the assembly, suggesting that it was not value spending time on.

Congress leaders brushed apart the assembly. “Everyone knows that AAP works as the ‘B’ team of BJP. That said, there is no space for a third political party in Gujarat. Even former chief minister Keshubhai Patel tried to launch a third front but failed miserably,” mentioned Ashok Dangar, common secretary of the Gujarat PCC.

On the group at Kejriwal’s assembly, Dangar satirically cited the scale of the rallies held by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Uttar Pradesh. “They used to draw crowds larger than Narendra Modi’s rallies, and yet we couldn’t do well there. If you arrange a meal and invite people, naturally people will throng to your meeting.”





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