BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday alleged that successive Congress governments at the Centre meted out injustice to Gujarat as the party could never forget that it was the state of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. “Till the time there was Congress rule (at the Centre), they used to exact revenge on Gujarat. Congressmen could never forget that this was the state of Sardar Patel and Morarji Desai. Chief ministers of Gujarat would go to Delhi, but would be denied appointment in Delhi darbar for days.Eventually, they would return without a meeting,” he said.
Shah compared the claims of Congress of winning the Gujarat Assembly elections with the day dreams of a character from a fable — Sheikh Chilli — addressing him as “miyan”. The BJP president was addressing a massive meeting of ‘panna pramukhs’ on the ground of Junagadh Agriculture University. The term panna pramukh derives from the in-charge of each page of electoral rolls. Shah equated Congress’ expression of victory in the Assembly election due later this year to that of dream of a character of a miyan (address to a Muslim gentleman) in a story, which Shah claimed was popular in Ahmedabad.
“Gujarat is going to polls and Congressiyas have started beating drums. There is a very good story in our Ahmedabad. There was once a Sheikh Chilli like chacha. He used to sell bags and couldn’t manage his meals. It was a hot summer day. Chacha took shelter under a peepal tree on the banks of Kankaria lake. He was hungry and tired, and fell asleep. He started dreaming that water of Kankaria had turned ghee, leaves of the peepal tree had become rotis and that the miyan was eating those rotis dipped in ghee. Congress believes, election here (in Gujarat) is a low hanging fruit. But miyan, the drum beating has not started yet, horses have not come on the battlefield and riders have not mounted on them. The time the drum will be beaten, BJP workers will charge with the battle cry of Bharat Mata ki Jai. Congressmen, you watch out then. You will not have courage even to hold a press conference on the day of counting of votes,” he said.
Shah gave credit to successive state BJP governments of “freeing Saurashtra from goondas”. Shah gave details of the central funds to Gujarat to underscore his allegation. He claimed when Congress was in power, Gujarat used to get only Rs 43,300 crore from central taxes, but the share has gone up to Rs 1,22,453 lakh crore after Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister. Similarly, the Central government grants have risen from Rs 8,400 crore to Rs 17,962 crore and local bodies’ grants from Rs 2,723 crore to Rs 15,000 crore, he said.
Emphasising that he was “watching Gujarat closely”, Shah said, “Congress asks us why there was delay of three years in closing the floodgates of Narmada dam. Days before these gates were to be closed, Arjun Modhwadia (Congress leader) went to Vadodara to assess facilities provided to those displaced (by the Narmada project). Actually, he had not gone there to assess facilities for the displaced. He knew that the decision to close floodgates would be taken in three days. A day after Modhwadia’s visit, Medha Patkar gave a statement alleging facilities for the displaced in Gujarat were not good. We don’t need to give report of three years, but you owe an explanation for these three days. Do you not want the gates to be closed even now?” asked Shah.
The Narmada Control Authority had given approval to the Gujarat government last week to close floodgates of Narmada dam. Similarly, the authority had given permission to install gates on the dam 17 days after Modi became PM in 2014.