Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala on Saturday slammed the Congress over the presence of Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar alongside Rahul Gandhi in the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Campaigning in Dhanera assembly constituency in Banaskantha district for BJP candidate Bhagwanji Chaudhary, Rupala also reminded the audience that it was the “hard work” of the then chief minister Narendra Modi that had brought the Narmada waters to the district.
“If Banaskantha has become a numero uno district in agricultural produce, it is due to the BJP’s work… The Narmada water has reached villages because of BJP. That is why there is prosperity and greenery here… If the Narmada does not arrive here, the crops will dry by noon. It is the hardwork of (then CM) Narendra Modi, who had to sit on a fast to have the Central government led by Congress to move,” Rupala said.
Urging voters to punish the Congress for backing Patkar, who “maligned Gujarat before the World Bank”, Rupala said, “When the Congress candidate comes by to seek votes, do ask him what they were doing while Gujarat was seeking permission for water. Gujarat CM was sending requests and they (Congress) were not even listening… Now their leader is on a padyatra. But why are you clicking photos with Medha Patkar?… The Congress is the opposer of Gujarat’s progress… You must punish the Congress in this election for taking Medha Patkar along.”
Rupala also took potshots at rebel leader Mavji Desai who has filed his independent nomination from the seat.
Mavji Desai had lost the seat to Congress’s Natha Patel in 2017, ending BJP’s winning streak since 1998. Congress has fielded Natha Patel again for this election.
Rupala said, “Mavjibhai, we had given you a ticket the last time and Bhagwan was running around for you. When the party gives you, you take it all but when its time to work for the party, you go away… There could be a better worker than Bhagwanji but the party has chosen Bhagwanji and its your duty to follow the party line. If you feel you will return to BJP after winning, then the BJP’s gates are not open as you feel.”
Later, in Borsad Assembly constituency in Anand– a Congress bastion — Rupala mocked the Congress for asking for evidence of surgical strikes conducted by the Indian Army in Pakistan.