March 16, 2015 8:47:37 pm
When BJP national president Amit Shah made his first appearance in the Gujarat assembly session on Monday, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel was conspicuously absent from the House.
The two are seen as close confidants of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and represent the neigbouring constituencies in Ahmedabad of Ghatlodia (Anandiben) and Naranpura (Shah). In the little over half-an-hour’s presence, Shah, walked into the House as social justice and Empowerment Minister Ramanlal Vora was speaking, around 4.30pm. Vora took a break to welcome the Party Chief who was escorted inside by Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Gujarat BJP chief RC Faldu, and chief whip Pankaj Desai.
Shah first met speaker Ganpat Vasava in his chamber in the Vidhan Sabha building. To questions from the media, he said, he had made his own Gujarat at his new work place- Delhi. “Both Gujarat and Delhi are good. There is a Gujarat in Delhi too” Shah said while coming out of Vasava’s room before leaving for the house.
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The visit of Shah on the 22nd day the fag end of the ongoing budget session of Gujarat Assembly was nothing short of an occasion to celebrate for the ruling party. BJP members showered flowers on him outside the houses, and praises inside.
Shah later met Anandiben Patel, in her office in the assembly building. Patel, who is a regular in assembly sessions, left the house after the question hour which was adjourned around noon. Sources said she was busy and could not attend the latter part of the session, when Shah was visisted the Assembly. After being appointed as BJP chief in June last year, this was Shah’s first attendance in the assembly where he walked in with heavy security and for every second remained surrounded by the senior BJP leaders. Shah enjoys Z-plus security cover.
Shah had missed the monsoon session in July last year, the first after Anandiben took charge as CM in May. The BJP chief was discharged from the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case last year. In the Assembly, he sat listening intently to the discussion on urban development department budget. At one point he was seen writing a reply to a note that his staff gave him. The official video cameras that record the assembly proceedings, put the spotlight on the special appearance of the party chief.
Congress party’s chief Shankersinh Vaghela was also not present in the house during Shah’s visit. Only seven Congress legislators were present with the rest being suspended. Vaghela however, was not among those suspended.
Vasava seconded Vora’s note that it was a “matter of pride” that Shah was among them, to say, “This is for the first time that Amit Shah, after becoming President of the national party, has come to the House”.
Health minister Nitin Patel said: This is the first time, since formation of Gujarat state in 1960, that any member of this house has gone on to become Prime Minister ( Modi) and party President (Shah)”.
Chudasama and BJP Chief Whip Pankaj Desai at the end of session escorted Shah out of the House to the CMO.
As per the assembly rules, an MLA, to avoid disqualification, has to have attendance for at-least one day in a 60-day long session. Longest sessions in recent years have never been more than 45 days. The current session is 26 -day-long.
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