July 6, 2018 5:52:23 am
Two days after Kunvarji Bavaliya defected to the BJP, his daughter hit out at his critics claiming the Congress had consistently overlooked his “stellar performance” at elections and insisted that the politician had not been baited with a ministerial berth.
Since his defection, social media platforms have been abuzz with jokes, some even drawing a parallel with the recent child-lifting rumours and saying that BJP had “lifted” Bavaliya from Congress. “Those cracking all sorts of jokes about Kunvarji Bavaliya, a gentleman teacher and a Gandhian politician, please note, he won consecutive Assembly elections in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2007 and Lok Sabha election in 2009. Congress formed the Central government (from 2004 to 2014) but the party overlooked him for a ministerial berth.
However, the same government had accommodated as ministers sons of former chief ministers,” Bhavna wrote in a message forwarded on many WhatsApp groups, referring to Bharartsinh Solanki and Tushar Chaudhary whose fathers were Madhavsinh Solanki and Amarsinh Chaudhary, respectively.
On Bavaliya’s loyalty to the party, Bhavna said her father did not waiver despite “knowing well that his party was going to lose the 2014 Lok Sabha polls”. Bavaliya is president of Akhil Bharatiya Koli Samaj, the organisation of the influential Koli community once headed by President Ramnath Kovind.
“Madhyra Pradesh CM had urged the BJP high-command to woo Kunvarji into BJP at any cost else they would lose power in Madhya Pradesh. The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh recognised the influence … but why Congress high command kept on turning a blind eye to him,” Bhavna, who manages educational institutes established by her father in Amrapur village of Rajkot district, wrote.
She further claimed that Congress continued to neglect Bavaliya despite the 63-year-old leader securing a hard-fought victory from Jasdan Assembly seat in December last year. “The President and the Prime Minister addressed public meetings (in run up to Assembly election) in Jasdan but he kept his fortress intact. Not only that, he shouldered the responsibility as the working president (of Congress) for Saurashtra zone and wiped out BJP from Saurashtra region. But his successive demands for post of Leader of Opposition, for making president of Gujarat state unit of Congress and for appointing chairman of public accounts committee (of Gujarat Assembly) were turned down,” Bhavna wrote.
“Getting party ticket is no big deal. Congress gave him ticket every time not to respect the leader but merely to ensure that it retained the seat. If Kunvarji craved to be a minister, he was an MLA all the 22 years the BJP has been in power.”
Despite repeated attempts, Bhavna could not be reached for a comment. But Bavaliya told The Indian Express that his daughter could have posted the message in response to protests in Jasdan. “A few Congress workers had burnt my effigy and she could have posted her comment in response to that,” said Bavaliya.
Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi, however, termed the allegations as unfounded. “Congress gave Bavaliya whatever he demanded at given time. Congress gave tickets to his daughter and his sister. But he remained a self-centred man. He quit Congress alleging his community is being neglected. But he never promoted any other worker from his community. We appointed six-time MLA Punjabhai Vansh as chairman of public accounts committee. He is also a Koli. It his high-time Bavaliya and his family did self-assessment,” Doshi said.
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