What defines Gujarat poll narrative? Slip of tongue

BJP Junagadh district president Kirit Patel made remarks that hurt the sentiments of Kshatriya community.
What defines Gujarat poll narrative? Slip of tongue

AHMEDABAD: The BJP sprang to damage control in Gujarat after statements of its two leaders triggered controversies.

Addressing party workers in Visavadar constituency a few days ago, BJP leader Bhupat Bhayani, a former AAP MLA who switched to the saffron party, said, “Rahul Gandhi is ‘impotent’, and we should not give country’s reins to him.”

After the statement sparked an outcry, Bhayani defending his statement told the media, “In democracy, everyone has a right to express one’s views. I never intended to insult or humiliate anyone. I was only trying to draw a line between PM Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. There is no comparison between Modi and Rahul.”

The Congress said such statements show BJP leaders’ culture. “Former MLA Bhayani who was caught with a girl in a hotel can only make such low-level statements,” Congress spokesman Hemang Raval said, advising Bhayani to consult a neurosurgeon.

BJP Junagadh district president Kirit Patel made remarks that hurt the sentiments of Kshatriya community. “Even if a queen gives birth to a specially abled child, he will inherit power and rule the state; now kings and queens are born from the ballot box.”

The statement irked the Kshatriya community, which is already sore over BJP leader and Rajkot candidate Parshottam Rupala. The community has been agitating against the Rupala. They demanded that the BJP drop Rupala as its Rajkot candidate.

Condemning the statement, Kshatriya Community Coordination Committee convener Karansinh Chavda said, “BJP has failed to stop its leaders from making derogatory remarks against the Kshatriya community, so the community has decided to not vote for BJP candidates. It failed to respect the community’s demand and drop Rupala as party candidate. Now we will aggressively campaign against the ruling party.”

Facing flak, Kirit Patel released a video apologising to the Kshatriyas. Minister of state of home Harsh Sanghvi and BJP’s general secretary (organisation) Ratnakar are holding district-wise meetings with Kshatriya leaders in a damage control exercise.

BJP intimidating people, alleges Guj Cong chief

Gujarat Congress president Shaktisinh Gohil on Wednesday alleged that the BJP was intimidating voters and asking them to either vote in its favour or refrain from voting in the Lok Sabha elections. The ruling party in the state was misusing the government machinery to pressure the voters, he claimed. The opposition party also released a phone number for voters to share the evidence, if any. “It is a fundamental principle of democracy that the sacred festival of elections should be held neutrally without fear or bias,” Gohil said.

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