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As Gujarat Deals With The Ravage Of Flood, Politics Of BJP And Congress In The State Takes An Ugly Turn

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4:32 pm 1 Aug, 2017

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Monsoon has hit Gujarat hard this year. As per latest media reports, the floods have taken a toll of 218 so far, including 61 in Banaskantha, the worst hit area.

Torrential rain and water released from dams has affected as many as 4.5 lakh people in the state, while around 39,000 of these have been relocated to safer places and 11,400 have been rescued by the team comprising the Army, Air Force and National and State Disaster Response Forces.

Amidst all of the suffering of the people of Gujarat, the political game between the two leading political parties of the country, Congress and BJP, is also on a high.

As the Assembly elections in the state are coming close, 44 Gujarat MLA from Congress party have confined themselves in a luxurious resort in Bengaluru. This includes four MLA’s of the Banaskantha district, the area worst hit by the flood.

Flood hits the state of Gujarat Financial Express/ PTI

 

Out of the nine Assembly seats in Banaskantha district of Gujarat, four are occupied by Congress MLAs, all of whom are currently out of the state as the common people deal with the distress of the flood. Dhanera and Kankrej areas are the worst affected zones of Banaskantha. MLAs of both these constituencies, Joitabhai Patel and Dharshibhai Khanpura respectively, are among the 4 MLAs of Banaskantha who are not in their regions serving people but spending the days in a resort in Bengaluru.

BJP on the other hand, is trying to the make most of the relief work. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani took stock of the situation by touring the affected areas in a boat. Rupani is presently camping in Banaskantha and Patan districts while Smriti Irani, Union Cabinet Minister of Textiles and Information & Broadcasting, and a nominee of Rajya Sabha from the state, visited Tharad and Dhanera areas of Banaskantha district.

Vijay Rupani  and Smriti Irani have been sharing pictures and updates of their visits to flood-hit areas of Gujarat on their Twitter pages as well. Have a look at them here:


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BJP workers have prepared relief material kits to be supplied to the people affected by the flood. According to a release by the party, 2,750 ration kits, 1,000 utensil kits, 3,000 kg wheat flour, 4,000 saris, 4,000 pairs of slippers, 20 truckloads of grass and fodder and four truckloads of school books and study material has been readied by the party.

Bharat Pandya, spokesperson of BJP, said that the party is not just a political party but a social organization as well. He said,

The reason why we put lotus print on the relief material is that we have to convey to our donors also that the relief is being sent by the organisation in a coordinated manner. BJP as a service organisation has been associated with many campaigns like beti bachao-beti padhao, tree plantation and cleanliness drive. We do it all under lotus symbol.

Shankersinh Vaghela, one of the six MLAs who recently resigned from the Congress party, has also been monitoring the affected areas of Banaskantha, Patan and Morbi districts. The Indian Express quote Vaghela saying,

The MLAs of Banaskantha should have been here now, with the flood-affected people… their being in a luxury resort while people go hungry in their constituencies presents a picture in contrast.

Meanwhile, a video clip of Congress MLAs in Bengaluru parodying on a popular Gujarati song that marks celebrations was released by BJP on Monday. Deesa MLA Gova Rabari, in one of the clips, can be heard saying,

We haven’t left Gujarat, it is only because they (BJP) were spreading rumours, so we came here to be together, and enjoy.

On the other hand, there have been reports that Congress MLAs of Banaskantha are desirous of returning to their constituencies. Paresh Dhanani a Congress MLA from Amreli constituency, who is also presently in Bengaluru, said,

Our MLAs interacted with media for more than two hours yesterday. And, it is clear that we are here voluntarily. If after making things so clear, there is confusion, I must say that it is being created by somebody intentionally. The issue is not, if Congress MLAs are happy or not, the issue is why they had to leave their constituencies. Our MLAs in Bansakantha were very much involved in the relief and rescue operations, but a situation was created under which they had to leave. So, the subject of discussion should be ‘why Congress MLAs had to leave their constituencies’.

While speaking to the media on Sunday, Congress has alleged that BJP is trying to “buy” Congress MLAs ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections and has offered a bribe of Rs. 15 crore to each MLA for the purpose. On the same day, Congress paraded its 44 MLAs from Gujarat towards an effort to close the speculations about internal rift in the party.

Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil addressed the media in Eagleton Resort in Bengaluru where the 44 MLAs of Gujarat are staying and urged the media to “save democracy”. In one of his tweets on Sunday, Gohil held that Gujarat is not safe and requested media to support Congress.


Firstpost quotes Gohil saying,

BJP is using CBI and ED to target Congress MLAs. BJP threatened our families back in Gujarat, and that is why we came to Bengaluru of our own accord.

 


Following the resignation of six of its MLAs in Gujarat on July 29, a delegation of Congress leaders took up the issue with Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti in Delhi. Congress demanded the setting up of a high-powered committee to look into the use of money and muscle power and abuse of the government machinery to engineer defections and submit a time-bound report.

Congress leader, Mallikarjun Kharge, even raised this issue in Lok Sabha on Monday. Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also held that BJP is offering Rs. 15 crore to all the Congress MLAs in Gujarat in return for their support. Both leaders wanted the issue to be discussed in the house but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected their demand calling it a subject related to the state which could not be discussed in the House.

Subsequently, Gujarat Chief Secretary, JN Singh, submitted its report to the Election Commission on Monday evening. JN Singh also revealed that all Congress MLAs have been provided police security as instructed by the poll panel.

 

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