CONGRESS WORKING president Hardik Patel on Thursday took a dig at newly-appointed BJP president C R Paatil for “rallies taken out by the latter during his tours of various parts of the state amid the Covid-19 pandemic” and alleged that BJP scarf had become a pass to violate laws. However, social distancing was not maintained at a press conference that Hardik himself addressed.
“C R Paatil is holding rallies of the size he desires in south and north Gujarat, Saurashtra etc. I feel the BJP scarf has become a pass for anyone to roam around in the manner he likes or take out rallies… The poor are not being permitted to organise marriage ceremonies of their daughters and these people get permission to take out rallies,” the Congress leader said while addressing the press conference in Nagar Boarding, a community hall on Tagore Road of the city on Thursday.
Hardik’s charge comes on the day Paatil began his tour of north Gujarat region by paying his respect at Ambaji Temple in Banaskantha district.
He had drawn large crowds at Talala, Somnath, Junagadh, Khodaldham and Rajkot during his maiden tour to Saurashtra last month. However, while addressing a press conference on the penultimate day of his four-day tour on August 21, Paatil had claimed that he had not taken out any rally nor had held any meeting and thus, had not violated any restrictions placed on large public gatherings due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Precautions like social distancing was also not maintained at Hardik’s press conference. He and other local Congress leaders were mobbed by people who were defecting from the BJP to Congress, including Dakshaben Bhesaniya, the sitting BJP corporator from Ward No.5 of Rajkot Municipal Corporation.
Ashok Dangar, president of Congress’ Rajkot city unit, however, claimed that social distancing norms were strictly adhered to. “We had placed only 10 chairs on the dais and at no time were more than seven people called on the stage. However, workers had stood together for photos on the request of mediapersons,” said Dangar.