Saturday, November 24, 2012

11 years after Bhuj quake, Keshubhai turns tables on Narendra Modi

Gujarat EDN
IE 30AUG2012

Express news service : Rajkot, Thu Aug 30 2012, 05:02 hrs
Eleven years after he faced allegations of poor handling of rehabilitation in quake-ravaged Kutch that led to his ouster as Chief Minister, Keshubhai Patel on Wednesday visited Bhuj and hit out at his successor Narendra Modi for “mishandling” the drought-like situation in the desert district.
Addressing a rally attended by over 10,000 people at the Mirzapur road, Patel said, “Under the Modi government, grasslands and agriculture land of Kutch have been given away to private industries. And now in scarcity situation, that has led to a fodder crisis.”
He alleged that nearly 66 per cent grassland in the district has been allotted to industries. “Maru swapanu Kutch ne savayu banavanu hatu (I had dreamt of making Kutch a much better place),” he said, adding, “But look what has been done to the district.”
Patel claimed that while earthquake rehabilitation works were going on properly, misconception and baseless allegations were levelled against his government to oust him.
He said the civil hospital made using Rs 100 crore from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund at Bhuj has been converted into a private college by the government, which is against the basic idea of providing free healthcare services.
Patel, who was joined by former Gujarat home minister Gordhan Zadaphia, former CM Suresh Mehta and former union minister Kashiram Rana, handed over a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to the local unit of his Gujarat Parivartan Party to help the scarcity-hit population. He had received the cheque from a local Khatri leader as party fund. “When there is scarcity prevailing in the region, how can I accept fund for the party?” Patel said.
Earlier in the day, Patel paid a visit to his sister at Madhapar village on the outskirts of Bhuj city.
The visit is being seen as a move to connect with the local Patel community that has a significant population in 84 villages of Bhuj taluka. This may help his new party to make some dent in the BJP bastion.