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Instead of taking credit for Central schemes,Modi should focus on pollution issues: Patel

Ahmed Patel,the political advisor to Sonia Gandhi,was in Gujarat on a two-day tour. Although he has won the Bharuch LS seat thrice in a row,he had lost it consecutively in 1989 and 1991.


April 22, 2009 11:39:12 pm

‘There was a pressure to contest,but I wanted to give chance to a new local candidate’

Ahmed Patel,the political advisor to Sonia Gandhi,was in Gujarat on a two-day tour. Although he has won the Bharuch LS seat thrice in a row,he had lost it consecutively in 1989 and 1991. After 1989,the seat has not been won by the Congress. Visiting his native village of Piraman in Bharuch,and campaigning for Congress candidate Aziz Tankarvi,the Rajya Sabha MP admitted that he was asked to contest this time,but he preferred a new candidate. Speaking to Shubhlakshmi Shukla in Bharuch,he also listed pollution in Ankleshwar and the controversial proposal of shifting Union Carbide waste from Bhopal to Ankleshwar.

It is said that you have a good support in Bharuch. Why didn’t you consider contesting on this seat?
Ahmed Patel: I have already contested the LS polls from Bharuch five times. Thrice I won; twice I lost,the last time by a whisker. There was pressure on me to contest this time too,but I wanted to give chance to a new candidate.

Why has the Congress opted for a Muslim candidate in Bharuch?
Ahmed Patel: Congress has,in the past,given chance to Muslim candidates in Kutch and Ahmedabad constituencies. There are some constituencies,which are reserved for the SC and ST. This time,we have opted for a Muslim candidate in Bharuch.

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Several Bharuch leaders have left the Congress saying that the party does not give chance to tribals despite the fact that the constituency has a sizeable population of tribals?
Ahmed Patel: Congress has given chance to tribal leaders like Amarsinh Vasava and Ishwarsinh Vasava. All these allegations are baseless.

Q: What are the local issues in Bharuch constituency?
Ahmed Patel: A major issue is pollution. The dumping of Union Carbide waste from Bhopal has gone to the Supreme Court. The Government of Gujarat had given NOC to the land. I have personally spoken to Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Instead of taking credit for Central government initiatives like the Vadodara-Bharuch Express Highway,Modi should focus on pollution issues.

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