In order to save one man, Congress has just probably lost an entire state

GANDHINAGAR: A day ahead of Rakhee, BJP national president Amit Shah landed in Ahmedabad on Sunday. He is scheduled to stay in the city till the end of crucial Rajya Sabha election on August 8 where he too is a candidate for the first time. Shah held meetings with BJP Gujarat incharge Bhupendra Yadav, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, MoS Law and Justice and Protocol Pradipsinh Jadeja, who rushed to meet him at his residence. Meanwhile Congress made arrangements at a resort near Anand, the stronghold of GPCC President Bharatsinh Solanki, for its MLAs who are set to return from Bengaluru after a weeklong sojourn. For now the numbers appear staked in favour of Congress Rajya Sabha candidate Ahmed Patel. But the last word on the Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat is not spoken, at least not yet. And given the BJP national President’s penchant to pull rabbits out of the hat, the game surely is not over until it is. But in its bid to save Ahmed Patel, Congress for sure has seriously jeopardised its plot to attempt a comeback to power in Gujarat in 2017. For starters, serial ignoring of Shankersinh Vaghela, purportedly at the behest of Ahmed Patel, hastened the exit of the former leaving a gaping wound. And on the other hand, by shifting its MLAs to Karnataka in the midst of flood situation in Banaskantha, the party has given BJP the much-needed vacuum in the traditional Congress stronghold with the saffron party working overtime to gain grounds there. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Banaskantha and his questions to the flood effected people regarding the impact of demonitisation didn’t really impressed anyone. He spent about a minute and a half in Dhanera Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) one of the worst-effected areas and rushed off to the next venue, leaving an impression of a political visit over flood. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who has already spent five days in the area personally supervising relief operations, took an immediate dig at the Congress scion in a series of tweets. “The perpetual tourist,” Shri Rahul Gandhi “came to Gujarat but the people of Gujarat are asking – where are our INC MLAs at this crucial time?” Rupani tweeted. “Rahul Gandhi’s leadership style is working wonders for his party. Following him, Congress MLAs are also in vacation mode!” he added. Banaskantha, once a stronghold of Congress, seems to have been tilting towards BJP’s way in an election year and at a time when BJP needs all the support it can garner to stay in power in the home state of the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, senior BJP workers exude a quiet confidence in their president and say all three of their Rajya Sabha candidates will romp home. “We are confident about all three candidates in Rajya Sabha election this time. But by moving their MLAs in this crucial time when people are suffering, Congress has washed their chance away for one man,” said Gujarat BJP Spokesperson Bharat Pandya. “Looks like Congress in Gujarat like in the country works only for one family and their political advisor”, he added. On their part, Congress leaders say that they have the numbers, which on paper they do. But murmurs of possible cross-voting have refused to die down and the impact of keeping 42 MLAs quarantined will only be visible in the ballot box on the 8th.
Source: ET