Skip to main content

Kejriwal's four days in Gujarat to get a whiff of Big B's multi-crore commercial Khushboo Gujarat Ki

By Nachiketa Desai*
Big B of Bollywood beckons one and all to spend at least two days in Gujarat to feel the fragrance of Modiland. A 56-inch chest-thumping Narendra Modi woos the voters of Banaras saying, "Give me 60 months as Prime Minister, I will end all the woes of the weavers by setting up artificial silk making powerlooms just as in Surat,"
Arvind Kejriwal decides to spend not just two but four days in Gujarat to get a whiff of the fragrance AB is talking about in his multi-crore-rupee TV commercial, 'Khushboo Gujarat Ki'. He comes to Gujarat as a common man. There is no frill of flags, banners and loudspeaker. He travels in a car to North Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch, meeting village folks, men and women. He listens to them patiently, taking notes painstakingly.
A posse of policemen, in uniform and without, trailed him, walkie-talkie in hand, reporting his minute-to-minute movement to the 'Saheb' in Gandhinagar. Kejriwal stops at a village, some 100 km from Ahmedabad, to meet about 50-60 men and women who tell him about widespread corruption they encounter in their daily life, about schools that have closed down in the absence of teachers, primary health centres that have ceased to exist as there are no doctors or nurses to attend to the patients, their farm land taken away and handed over to big industries, the norm of taking bribe money by police and revenue officials.
At a couple of crossroads, a dozen-odd men wave blag flags at him and shout, "Kejriwal, go back". Kejriwal moves on but is stopped by the police and taken to a police station at Radhanpur. "You have violated the model code of conduct of the Election Commission by your roadshow without taking prior permission," the officer in-charge of the police station tells him. "There is no roadshow. I am not carrying flag, poster, pamphlet, nor am I making any speech," he counters. "But, you are obstructing traffic," the police changes track. He is let off after 15-20 minutes of argument.
As Kejriwal enters Kutch, a mob of 30-40 men block his way, smashes the windscreen of his car and scoots. Police watch from a distance.
Kejriwal had not come alone on a visit to Gujarat for a reality check. Over 200 fellow volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party too had come. They had spread out all across the state - North, South, East, West - in an effort to find out the truth of Gujarat. Most of them were not known faces. They went unnoticed by Modi supporters and police. Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai were not lucky. The vehicles they were travelling in were attacked and their local hosts harassed by the police.
His fact-finding mission over, Kejriwal and his army of investigators returned to Ahmedabad. After holding a press conference where he disclosed his findings, Kejriwal wanted to meet Narendra Modi for a 'chai par charcha' on 16 questions he had for the man with a 56-inch chest. Five kilometres before he reached Gandhinagar, the state capital, to meet Modi, Kejriwal was stopped by the police. Over a hundred BJP workers too had positioned themselves to prevent Kejriwal from going further.
"Why is Modi afraid of meeting me? I am not a terrorist. I am a common man. All those present here who have had the chance to meet Modi ever in their life, please raise your hand," Kejriwal asked at the public meeting in Ahmedabad attended by over 50,000 people. Only a couple of hands were raised. "I am open to meeting Modi any time any place," he said.
"Modi, Modi, Modi, Modi", a group of over two dozen men raised a cry in unison from the left side of the stage from where Kejriwal was addressing the meeting. "Please come up on the stage, any one of you to answer my questions," he challenged the sloganeers. All of a sudden, stones started flying, aimed at the stage. Lathi-wielding policemen, chased the protesters who disappeared into a narrow bylane.
Continuing his speech, Kejriwal said, "Modi is a liar. He paints a rosy picture of Gujarat before the country. All lies." He then gave out details from his notepad nailing Modi's lies about development on various fronts. "He has benefited only the Ambanis, Adanis and Tatas, Ruias, working as their property broker. Taken away land from the farmers and gifted his cronies to expand their empire. He has destroyed small and medium scale industries. To facilitate easy access to the corridors of power, he has made Sourabh Patel, the son-in-law of Ramnik Ambani, a cabinet minister with petroleum and energy portfolio."
"There is rampant corruption even at the lowest rung of the bureaucracy. Modi has encouraged the practice of employing contract workers as teachers, constables, nurses, forest guards, so that they are exploited and poorly paid. Unemployment has increased manifold. Hundreds of farmers have committed suicide. Agriculture production has declined."
"If Modi succeeds in becoming the Prime Minister, the gas price will double from the present four dollars per unit to eight dollars whereas its production price is just one dollar. This will lead to increased price of fertilizer, electricity and transportation. All this to fatten the purse of Ambanis and Adanis," he said.
He ended his speech reiterating his demand to meet Narendra Modi to seek replies to his questions on "Khushboo Gujarat Ki."
---
*Senior journalist

Comments

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

Shah Bano case: Arif Mohd Khan gives clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi, says Modi can't take credit for talaq order

By Our Representative
In an usual defence of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Arif Mohammad Khan, the UP politician who quit the Rajiv Cabinet in 1986 over its stance on the Shah Bano case, has said that he does not "believe that Rajiv Gandhi took the decision to overturn the Supreme Court verdict" on the case "on his own."

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

FIR against Lawyers’ Collective a ‘witch-hunt’ of outspoken human rights defenders

Counterview Desk
In a statement, Ravi Kiran Jain* and Dr V Suresh** of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have said the CBI’s FIR against the Lawyers’ Collective and senior advocate Anand Grover is an undisguised attempt to silence not just the top human rights organization but is also meant to “serve as a lesson to all others who dare to challenge the Central Government.”
Calling the FIR “motivated, vengeful and vituperative act”, PUCL said the Lawyers’ Collective, which has for 38 years of its existence has taken up cases related with domestic violence, human rights, labour and womens’ rights, adding, among the important ones are the “Naz case on rights of the LGBTQ community, the Novartis case, the Sabarimala case, the triple talaaq case and the Sohrabuddin case, in which current Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah was involved.”
Demanding immediate withdrawal of the FIR, PUCL said, “The case lodged against the organization smacks of vendetta for its exceptional …