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State govt officials feeling unsafe in Gujarat: Manmohan

Source : AGENCIES
Last Updated: Sun, Dec 09, 2012 18:15 hrs
PM slams Modi govt for neglecting rural areas

Vansada: Targeting the Narendra Modi government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said time has come to "liberate" Gujarat from divisive politics and regretted that minorities were feeling "insecure" in the BJP-ruled state.

"Unlike the Opposition we do not play politics of dividing the people. Such type of politics is bad in itself and for a longer period of time cannot be beneficial for a political party," Singh said addressing his first poll rally in this tribal town of Navsari district in south Gujarat.



"The time has come to liberate Gujarat from this type of politics and to not let those people come back to power, who have been trying to get votes by dividing our society and country," Singh said without naming Modi.

"Congress party has always acted to unite the people of country. We know that if there are fissures in our people on the lines of religion, caste, creed and clan...then we cannot surge ahead as a nation," he said.

"We have been getting regular complaints that minorities and few other segments of society are feeling insecure in the state. Even a few state government officers have filed such complaints, which is very unfortunate for our country," Singh said.

"It is a matter of great regret that such type of environment has been created in the land of Mahatma Gandhi."

The Prime Minister also sought to pick holes in development claims of the Modi government, saying it has failed to take growth to the needy sections of society.

"Development in Gujarat is only for a few people. A big portion of the population here has remained untouched by this economic development. Because of the policies of the state government, there is an imbalance in the society," he said.

State govt officials feeling unsafe in Gujarat: Manmohan

Manmohan on Sunday said some state government officials were feeling unsafe in Gujarat and had complained about this, a comment that came against the backdrop of grievances of officers like suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.

"We have been getting regular complaints that minorities and few other segments of society are feeling insecure in the state. Even a few state government officers have filed such complaints, which is very unfortunate for our country," Singh said addressing an election rally here.

"It is a matter of great regret that such type of environment has been created in the land of Mahatma Gandhi," he said.

Though the Prime Minister did not name anyone, he was apparently referring to Bhatt, who, in an affidavit in the Supreme Court last year, had alleged complicity on the part of Modi in the 2002 riots.

He had also deposed against Modi before the Nanavati commission probing the riots. Bhatt, who was the principal, SRP Training School, was later suspended by the state government.

PM playing vote-bank politics with minorities: Modi


Rebutting Manmohan's charge that minorities were feeling "insecure" in BJP-ruled Gujarat, chief minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused him of playing vote-bank politics with the minority community.

"The Prime Minister, who visited Gujarat on today, is playing votebank politics in the name of minority and majority (communities). It is sad that the Prime Minister of the country cannot rise above vote-bank politics," Modi said addressing a poll rally in this town in South Gujarat.

"The Prime Minister is saying that minorities feel insecure in Gujarat. With a sad heart, I have to explain to him that Gujarat does not distinguish between minority and majority and the state government is working for the uplift of six crore people of the state," Modi said.

"You (PM) get elected in Rajya Sabha from Assam. The entire country knows about the massacre that went on in your home state six months back. Districts after districts were engulfed in communal violence," Modi said.

However, in the last ten years there had been no communal violence in Gujarat, he claimed.

Giving an example of Shaheen Dhada, who was arrested in Maharashtra for her Facebook comments about late Bal Thackeray and who later shifted to Gujarat with her family, Modi said, "She prefers to stay in Gujarat over Maharashtra. You are trying to defame the state, but girls like Shaheen have proved you wrong."

Modi also claimed that Singh was trying to disturb the atmosphere of peace, unity and brotherhood through votebank politics.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister, while addressing a rally in Vansada in Navsari district, said that time had come to "liberate" Gujarat from divisive politics. "We have been getting regular complaints that minorities and few other segments of the society are feeling insecure in the state," Singh said.

"Time has come to liberate Gujarat from divisive politics and to not let those people come back to power, who have been trying to get votes by dividing our society and country," the Prime Minister had said without naming Modi. 

BJP claims PM's own office admits to Gujarat's progress

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made light of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech at a campaign rally in Gujarat on Sunday, saying that Singh was just an addition to the Congress Party's 'Campaign of Calumny'.

Singh had lashed out at the Gujarat government for failing to develop rural regions of the province and provide basic health and education facilities to the backward sections.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said in Ahmedabad that the PM's attack on the Narendra Modi-led state government was in contradiction with his own government's findings on Gujarat's positive performance record.

"He is certainly welcome to Gujarat to campaign for the Congress party, but has come and joined, unfortunately, the campaign of calumny, based on untruths and misleading the public with falsehoods. It is really worrying that the Prime Minister has even forgotten that his own ministry, the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) has, in the last ten years, been certifying Gujarat as the best performing state in poverty eradication by the successful implementation of the 20-point programme," Sitharaman said.

Singh had said that he was disappointed that Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had failed to meet the aspirations Gujarat's people.

Fellow BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said in Lucknow that the upcoming assembly polls in Gujarat would see the Congress reduced to a minor political force.

"In spite of his speech, he is failing to draw crowds or garner votes. While I did not hear the full extent of his speech, the Congress, however, the Congress will be reduced to a minority player this time," Hussain said.

The first phase of the Gujarat assembly polls will take place on December 13, while the second will be held on December 17. Counting of votes will take place on December 20.

Narendra Modi is seen as the strongest candidate of BJP during general elections in two years, thanks to rapid growth and a perception of corruption-free governance in his state, which has five percent of India's population but contributes 16 percent to national industrial output.

Under the high profile but controversial Modi, Gujarat stands apart in a country that doesn't always make it easy for manufacturers.

Earlier, Modi had embarked on series of three-day fasts to promote 'harmony', which was seen as a way of helping revamp the image of a leader accused by critics of complicity in communal riots that killed at least 1,000 people in 2002.

Mayawati slams Modi, Centre

Accusing the Congress-led UPA government at Centre and Narendra Modi government in Gujarat of coming to power on the "financial muscle power" of corporates, BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday attributed the surge in corruption to "anti-poor and anti-Dalit" policies.

"Congress at Centre and BJP in Gujarat came to power with the financial help of a few industrialists and their policies are tilted in favour of corporates," the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said while addressing a poll meeting at Shastri Maidan here.

BSP has fielded 163 candidates for the 182 Gujarat Assembly seats going to polls on December 13 and 17.

Mayawati alleged that the poor were bearing the brunt of inflation and price rise due to faulty policies of the "wrong parties" which are in power at the Centre and in Gujarat. "In Gujarat too poor people are suffering," she said.

"It is the Centre's responsibility to eradicate poverty but because of its faulty policies there is no sign of reduction in poverty and the state government (Gujarat) has adopted similar policies," Mayawati said.

Slamming Congress for announcing 'ghar nu ghar' scheme for urban poor and women in Gujarat and BJP for a similar one to build 50 lakh houses, Mayawati said both the parties were actually imitating the policy conceptualised by her erstwhile government in Uttar Pradesh.

Accusing Modi government of "neglecting" Dalits and backward classes and framing them in false cases, "I have been told that Dalits have been harassed in Gujarat for last few years. Even though some of Dalits were killed, no FIR was lodged against culprits".

Mayawati was referring to the Than firing in which three Dalit youths were killed in Sabarkantha district in September.

She claimed that BSP was the only party working for the cause of Dalits and downtrodden sections of the society.

Amit Shah takes out a road show in Ahmedabad

Controversial former Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah, who is contesting from Naranpura in the upcoming state assembly polls, on Sunday took out a road show to meet voters of his constituency.

Talking to media, Shah came down hard on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on the issue of inflation and corruption and predicted a landslide win for his party in this assembly polls.

"Inflation and corruption are the two gifts that this UPA government has given to the people of this country and even the people of Gujarat are suffering under this burden. I believe that the mass following is with the Bharatiya Janata Party and we will form a government in this state with a 2/3rd majority," said Shah.

Shah, who is facing charges in the alleged fake encounters of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati, returned to the state in September after the Supreme Court rejected the CBI"s plea to cancel his bail given by Gujarat High Court.

Known to be very close and a key strategist of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Shah had spent three months in jail and was ordered by court not to return to Gujarat.

He had won the last assembly elections from Sarkhej with a vote margin even bigger than that of Modi. Sarkhej has, after delimitation, been split into three constituencies, one of which is Naranpura, from where he is contesting this time.

The first phase of the Gujarat assembly polls will take place on December 13, while the second will be held on December 17.

Counting of votes will take place on December 20.

A polling booth for lone voter at Banej in Gujarat

The Election Commission values the importance of every vote and to prove that, they have created a full-fledged polling booth at Banej inside the Gir National Park in Gujarat.

The temple priest of Banej, Bharatdas, is the lone voter inside the forest and he will exercising his vote in the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly election on December 13.

"This polling booth of Banej is situated inside the Gir forest and this polling booth has been constructed for the lone voter of Banej, the temple priest, Bharatdas. The forest department maintains the booth and it is around 55 kilometers from our office in Una. Our polling party goes to the booth and we have provided all the services so that Bharatdas can cast his vote with ease," said the collector of Banej, Manish Bharadwaj.

The polling station figured on Gujarat's map for the first time in 2007 for logistical reasons, when Bharatdas began exercising his franchise. This will be third election in Gujarat when he would be casting his vote.

"I am very proud that nowhere in the country, like there is only one Prime Minister or one President, I am the only one for whom this polling booth has been constructed. It shows how valuable one vote is. Hence, the people of this country should realise the value of their vote," said Bharatdas.

The first phase of the Gujarat assembly polls will take place on December 13, while the second will be held on December 17.

Counting of votes will take place on December 20.


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