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Vaghela taunts Modi on Statue of Unity, asks him to first unite CBI

Vaghela, who was credited with building the BJP in Gujarat with Narendra Modi in tow in the late 80s and early 90s, asked: “Why the sudden love for Sardar whose very name you did not like once?”

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Shankersinh Vaghela

Gandhinagar, Oct 29 (IANS) Former Gujarat Chief Minister and expelled rebel Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela on Monday mocked at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his ambitious Sardar Patel’s “Statue of Unity” project dubbing it a “marketing gimmick” and asked him to first unite the CBI and the RBI.

The Prime Minister is slated to unveil 182-metre tallest statue in the world, Statue of Unity’ (SoU), at Kevadia in Narmada district on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel on Wednesday.

When the internal fighting among the top brass of leading institutions like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has emerged into the public, the Prime Minister should deal with this crisis first and then speak of unity, Vaghela said.

“Which unity are you talking about?” the former BJP leader asked while talking to reporters here. “First unite the CBI, the RBI. Unite for saving the downfall of Indian rupee, unite for bringing down fuel prices,” he said.

“When you are talking about Sardar, release the jailed Patidar youth,” Vaghela asserted, referring to Alpesh Kathiriya, a close associate of firebrand Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who is in jail on sedition charges. Patel also faces similar charges.

The former Gujarat Chief Minister said: “There can be no comparison between the simplicity and austerity of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Patel, and the construction and the motive behind the State of Unity. The project is of around Rs 3,000 crore, a sheer wastage and unproductive expense of public money when Gujarat is laden with a public debt of Rs 2,50,000 crore.”

Vaghela, who was credited with building the BJP in Gujarat with Narendra Modi in tow in the late 80s and early 90s, asked: “Why the sudden love for Sardar whose very name you did not like once?”

Vaghela recalled the time when he was the Chief Minister and during an event on the naming of the Ahmedabad airport as the Sardar Patel International Airport, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members dressed in black and waving black flags had vehemently opposed the naming in front of then Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda.

“One shouldn’t have the impression that these people love Sardar… This is just using his name to market themselves. They make a hue and cry of injustice meted out to the Iron Man. When I met Maniben, Sardar Patel’s daughter, she said there was never any injustice to Sardar. He didn’t even have the aspirations to be the PM. Which injustice are you talking about?” asked Vaghela.

“I challenge these people to show me one instance of injustice to the great man,” he said.

Vaghela said: “I see the unveiling of the Statue of Unity as a desperate attempt by the BJP to gain political mileage and nothing else. They are losing public support. Not a single work was done by this government in four-and-half years for the common man.

“Tribals are unhappy, farmers are committing suicides… The government should listen to them,” he added.

“The UPA government allotted around Rs 15 to 17 crore for the Sardar Patel memorial near Ahmedabad airport. Has Modi even visited the place once? After UPA, what have you done for it if you love Sardar so much?” Vaghela asked.

Politics

I have lost a comrade, colleague and friend: Sonia on Ahmed Patel’s death

Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss.”

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Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday while condoling the death of Ahmed Patel said she has lost a dedicated Congress colleague.

“In Sh. Ahmed Patel, I have lost a colleague, whose entire life was dedicated to the Congress Party.” she said

She said, “His faithfulness and dedication, his commitment to his duty, his always being there to help, his generosity were rare qualities that distinguished him from others.”

“I have lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend. I mourn his passing and I feel deeply for his bereaved family to whom I offer my sincere feelings of empathy and support,” she added

Scores of Congress leaders condoled Ahmed Patel’s death, “It is very hard to come to terms with Ahmed patel Ji’s passing. He was a political troubleshooter par excellence & will be sorely missed by all. “Ahmedbhai” was also a close friend of my late father’s & a mentor to me,” tweeted Milind Deora.

B.K. Hariprasad said in a tweet, “Its very saddening to know about the demise of Shri Ahmad patel ji. Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss.”

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India

Ahmed Patel’s role in strengthening Congress will always be remembered: PM Modi

A top strategist of the Congress and a most-trusted ally of its president Sonia Gandhi, Patel (71) died in the early hours of Wednesday.

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Narendra Modi

Condoling the death of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his role in strengthening the opposition party will always be remembered.

Patel spent years in public life, serving the society, Modi noted.

A top strategist of the Congress and a most-trusted ally of its president Sonia Gandhi, Patel (71) died in the early hours of Wednesday.

He was admitted to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram and had been critical for a few days. He had contracted COVID-19 and subsequently, developed complications.

“Saddened by the demise of Ahmed Patel Ji. He spent years in public life, serving society. Known for his sharp mind, his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered. Spoke to his son Faisal and expressed condolences. May Ahmed Bhai’s soul rest in peace,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

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Election

Ahead of DDC polls, BJP targets Abdullahs over ‘land grab’

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Farooq Abdullah

New Delhi: Ahead of the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir beginning Saturday, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad trained his guns on the Abdullahs for their alleged role in the Roshni scam.

Prasad alleged that the key leaders of the erstwhile state, including Farooq Abdullah, used their “influence and power for land grabbing”.

“In 1998, Farooq Abdullah had purchased 3 kanals of land but he encroached upon 7 kanals of land which were double the size of the purchase,” Prasad alleged while speaking to the media. He further said that under the Roshni scam, the name of Farooq Abdullah’s sister Suraiya Mattu has also appeared, who, the minister alleged, is also a beneficiary of 3 kanals of land.

“There was a conscious land loot by the powerful people of J&K who were getting benefits under the Roshni Act which was declared unconstitutional by the J&K High Court. This is low level politics by the powerful people of J&K and we condemn it,” alleged Prasad.

Prasad said the J&K High Court has declared the Roshni Act as unconstitutional and has stated that the names of people who have acquired land under this Act should be listed and made public.

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