Eyeing tribal voters of Chhota Udepur — a Congress stronghold — ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections, BJP president Amit Shah on Wednesday visited Devaliya village in the district and held door-to-door meetings as part of the party’s Vistarak (expansion) programme. The BJP leader also had lunch at the house of a tribal party worker.
With BJP setting a target of winning at least 150 seats out of the total 182, in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, garnering maximum seats in the tribal belt of eastern Gujarat is crucial for the party. The Congress in the last Assembly election had won most seats in the region. Addressing party workers, Shah said: “When Narendra Modi was Chief Minister, we won 127 seats. Now, he is our PM, our gift for him will be to win more than 150 Assembly seats… and for that we have to win all tribal area seats of Gujarat.”
“The Modi government has launched more than 106 schemes for the people, and it is our job to take those schemes to the needy, irrespective of caste and creed,” he said. One of the bigger villages in the district, Devaliya has 3,009 registered voters — mostly tribals. The village falls under Chhota Udepur constituency, which has been held by eight-time Congress MLA Mohansinh Rathwa.
During Shah’s visit, sarpanch Soniyabhai Rathva (49), who was with the Congress for 30 years, joined the saffron party. “I joined BJP to do development work for my village,” Rathva said. Villagers welcomed Shah by offering him an arrow and a bow. Later, he had lunch at the of house of BJP worker Popat Rathva.