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Accompanied by former minister of home Gordhan Zadaphia, former chief minister Suresh Mehta and former BJP leader AK Patel, Bapa lambasted Modi’s character and characteristics; personal, professional et al in his nearly 30 minute long address. The gathering mainly consisted of Patel farmers, and curiously, a good deal of BJP members, who claimed to be there on the pretext of understanding how the meeting is received. Several members of Sanand nagarpalika and gram panchayat of some adjoining villages joined GPP at the meeting.
Yellow seems to be the colour of GPP – somewhere in between BJP’s striking saffron and Congress’s tricolor. Several people were seen wearing yellow straps in their neck and sporting paper caps with Keshubhai’s photograph, sans a party symbol. The crowd, though not in extremely large numbers, seemed to be mildly interested in what he had to say. Applause and cheer followed some acidic remarks on Modi, but most were prompted by GPP workers. The attendees included indifferent passersby to curious onlookers as also the disillusioned by Modi and converted.
Interestingly, in his speech, Bapa made several references to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) his contributions and how he is still wedded to the Sangh ideology. “The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh was formed during my tenure. There was a law that government officials cannot attend RSS workshops or hold office. I removed that law. None other than LK Advani opposed me and asked me take back my decision, but I remained firm. Modi talks about injustice to Gujarat now by the UPA government; but I have faced injustice to Gujarat even during the NDA regime’s finance commission. I, with four other states, raised the issue with the national leadership. Advani asked me not to raise the issue, but I persisted and got Gujarat its due. Development was happening even then,” he said.
Urging people to vote for GPP in the coming Assembly elections, Mehta in his address went so far as to say that Bapa is going to be the chief minister again. For a month old party, it would be interesting to see how many candidates they can field.
In ‘Nanoland’ Bapa tactfully explained to the farmers exactly the deal Modi government is believed to have given Tata Motors to establish their plant here. “A massive loan at the rate of 0.01% has been given; repayment will start after 20 years. Tata has employed only 1,500 locals at its plant. Benefits of this ‘development’ will not come to you,” he told the locals.