Friday, November 16, 2012

‘Sadbhavana’ fasts a fraud on people: Keshubhai, Mehta

13 AUG 2012

Manas Dasgupta
“Those who thronged venues were in fact BJP workers, not Muslims”
Two former BJP Gujarat Chief Ministers Keshubhai Patel and Suresh Mehta on Sunday accused Chief Minister Narendra Modi of playing a fraud on the people during his recent “Sadbhavana Mission” fasts to woo Muslim voters.
Talking to journalists here, Mr. Patel and Mr. Mehta, who recently formed the Gujarat Parivartan Party, alleged that several thousand Muslims who greeted Mr. Modi during the fasts were in fact Hindus. Mr. Mehta said that through a Right to Information plea he had got a reply that on the direction of Mr. Modi, the Navsari District Collector had purchased 28,000 skull caps, used by Muslims, and distributed them among BJP workers.
He said the BJP workers wearing the skull caps and dressed as Muslims had thronged the “Sadbhavana” venue.
This was to create an impression that Muslims were supporting the Chief Minister, forgetting the 2002 communal riots. “This is nothing but a fraud played on the people.”
Mr. Mehta said he had received the specific details about the Navsari “Sadbhavana Mission” gathering, but the same must had been the case at the 30-odd other venues where the fasts were organised.
Ridicules Modi
Mr. Patel ridiculed Mr. Modi for requesting the Union government to spare the land alongside the railway track to grow grass for cattle fodder in view of the looming threat of drought. Pointing out that each village had its own “gauchar” (cattle grazing lands) owned by the State government, Mr Patel said while the Modi government sold most of these lands to the industrial houses at throwaway prices, it had now gone with the begging bowl to the Centre.
Mr. Patel announced that the Gujarat Parivartan Party, if came to power, would provide an unemployment allowance of Rs. 1,500-Rs 2,000 a month for the educated unemployed youth for two years, restore land rights to tribals who were tilling their fields till 2005 and free food coupons of Rs. 800 per family of a tribal to buy nutritious food from ration shops to overcome malnutrition problems and relief package for cattle breeders.
He estimated that the packages would cost the exchequer about Rs 4,100 crore per annum, which would be raised from the dues accrued from industrial houses