DAYS AFTER formally joining the Congress, Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Monday took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit shah, saying Gujarat was not the model state that the BJP portrayed to win the 2014 parliamentary election, as there was unemployment in the state and farmers were committing suicide.
“Modi and Shah do not want…others (outside Gujarat) to know the reality that 55 lakh youth are unemployed today, and every day, a farmer commits suicide in the state,” said Patel. “By talking about Gujarat model, they won the election and formed the government in Delhi (Centre). But Gujarat is not a model,” he added. “Every day, 400 girls go missing in the state. These are official figures. But still, Modi would say he is chowkidar(watchman).”Patel was reading out questions asked to him as he went live on Facebook from Rajkot.
The Patidar leader accused the Union government of making nationalism an issue during election time only to divert attention from the issues of unemployment, farm distress and so on. “Around four-and-half-years ago, a university was opened in the country which issues certificates of nationalism,” Patel said mockingly. “No one but Amit Shah runs this university.” Click here for election stories
He added: “Those who ask questions of the government are labeled anti-national….Calling a citizen of the country anti-national is an insult of maa bharati (mother India).”
He sought to bring the focus back from nationalism to everyday issues. “Where are (the promised) two crore jobs? How many got Rs15 lakh in their bank accounts? Did the BJP government bring back black money stashed abroad?” he asked. “No, they could not keep their promises. Therefore, they are trying to deceive people by raising the issue of nationalism,” Patel said. The Patidar leader accused the BJP government in the state of booking two “false cases of sedition” against him, in an attempt to prevent him from fighting the election. Yet, he said, he was not afraid. “(BJP) wants to intimidate people and rule. But we shall not be intimidated. We shall ask questions of them and will fight them like lions,” he said.
Meanwhile, youth claiming to be volunteers of the Sardar Patel Group, the parent body from where Patel broke away to form the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, burnt his effigy in Rajkot.
Adds ‘Berojgar’ to his Twitter handle
Hardik Patel and his team Monday responded to BJP campaign’s asking people to prefix their social media profile names with ‘Chowkidar’ by telling them instead to add the prefix ‘Berojgar’ (jobless). Hardik and Team’s initiative seems to have some roots in a message posted by another youth leader and Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani who tweeted earlier on Monday, “Instead of saying ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ for the electoral benefit of Modi ji, 50 crore young friends should launch a campaign ‘Main Bhi Berojgar’ with a slogan ‘Chahe Jiski Bane Sarkar, Hame Chahiye Rojgar’.”