Gujarat BJP’s ambitious Gujarat Gaurav Yatra met with an embarrassing beginning, on Sunday, here when party’s national president Amit Shah’s speech was disrupted by some agitating Patidar youths before Shah flagged off the yatra. Following the incident, Anand police detained three youths and launched hunt to find three others while also probing to check if there was any conspiracy behind the incident.
Gujarat Gaurav Yatra is BJP’s major reach out initiative before the general assembly elections due later this year. In fact, this is the second edition of the Gaurav Yatra which was originally carried out by the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi after the 2002 Gujarat communal riots. The original yatra in 2002 was purportedly for the pride of Gujarat that was allegedly being defamed by opposition Congress. Whereas, this time, it is yatra for the pride Gujarat takes in its ‘successful’ development model which Modi is implementing in the entire country as Prime Minister.
The yatra is being planned in two phases touching 149 assembly constituencies and covering more than 4500 km.
The first phase is going to cover Central and North Gujarat. And it was flagged off by Amit Shah here in Karamsad, birth place of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Sunday. Whereas, the second phase of the yatra will begin from Porbandar, birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, on October 2. The second phase will cover Saurashtra and South Gujarat region. Conclusion of Gaurav Yatra is planned at Gandhinagar on October 16 when Modi is expected to address a massive gathering of more than 7 lakh BJP party workers.
Before flagging off the chariot for the yatra at Karamsad, the party had organised a gathering of its workers to be addressed by Vijay Rupani, Nitin Patel, and Amit Shah and other senior leaders. However, more than half of the pandal remained empty at the scheduled time of 9 am. The event started late by nearly three hours from the scheduled time after filling up of the pandal with public and arrival of Amit Shah.
Before Shah, the gathering was addressed by Rupani, Nitin Patel, former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and senior minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama.
As soon as Shah started addressing the gathering, some youths from the central row started shouting slogans following which police swung into action and the protesting youths were taken away from the pandal that witnessed chaotic scenes in the midst of Shah’s speech. In fact, Shah also appealed people to stay on their seats adding that some limited mischievous elements were trying to disrupt the event.
Many BJP workers and leaders also reached the spot where the protesting youths were being taken away by police.
Shah continued his speech amid all this in which he launched an attack on opposition Congress and its leader while alleging that the latter had been doing injustice to Gujarat for three generations. He also spoke on the ongoing Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe (Vikas has gone mad) social media campaign while stating, “Congress is making fun of development. But when counting of votes will be done after voting, people will make fun of them (Congress).”
Meanwhile, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik Patel said that the youths who protested were indeed from PAAS. “I have got reports that police is beating them in custody,” Hardik said.
One Alpesh Purohit from Anand who is a senate member of Sardar Patel University in Vallabh Vidyanagar and who is supporting agitating Patidars and PAAS said, “I was detained by police along with 12 other workers who are from PAAS. It is our right to protest and we did it non-violently. Ten of us were released by police. But three have still been kept in custody by police.”
Anand district Superintendent of Police Saurabh Singh said, “Some 5-7 persons who we suspect are Patidars had tried to disrupt the function. We have detained three youths and are looking out for three others. So far, we have not registered any offence, but we are checking possibility of doing so after ascertaining if there was any criminal conspiracy behind the incident.”
This is second time that a public event of which Amit Shah was part has been disrupted by Patidars. Earlier, in September last year, PAAS workers had disrupted an event organised by a group of businessmen to felicitate prominent BJP Patidar leaders and party president Amit Shah in Surat. The difference is that the Surat disruption was in an event organised by a private group. Whereas at Karamsad, it was a BJP party event that was disrputed.