The Hindu Business Line

Rahul now aiming for a ‘tremor’ in Gujarat

- VIRENDRA PANDIT

With the Winter Session virtually washed out on Friday, a relieved Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who could not trigger an “earthquake” in the Lok Sabha, will now try to cause at least a ‘tremor’ in Gujarat, the home ground of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on December 21.

Ironically, Gandhi, who claimed he was not allowed to enter the Lok Sabha to expose Modi’s “personal corruption”, also led a Congress delegation to meet the PM on Friday, seeking farm loan waivers — thus, breaking the short-lived unity among opposition parties that caused the washout of the month-long Session.

It is another matter that the farmers’ loan issue is basically targeted at Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, both of which are scheduled to go to polls, before Gujarat, in 2017.

Characteri­stically, Modi, who revels at the confusion and discomfitu­re among his opponents, invited Gandhi to meet him (the PM) more frequently!

In the last session of Parliament, he had patiently offered a glass of water to Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann, who was standing next to Modi and castigatin­g the BJP in the Lok Sabha!

In such hilarious political scenarios, jokes are going viral on social media abound, particular­ly when the PM and his principal opponent Gandhi are both single-sample.

“Our MPs now live frugally: Rahul could do with just ₹4,000; Modi didn’t need even this!”— when Rahul visits Mehsana, Modi’s home district, on December 21.

The Congress leader is expected to visit the famous Umiya Mata Temple in the adjoining Unjha town, known for both spices and as the epicentre of the Patidar agitation.

Senior Congress leader Shankarsin­h Vaghela, Leader of the Opposition in the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha, and State party chief Bharatsinh Solanki have been tasked with making the Gandhi show a success.

Enter Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar — the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) chief Hardik Patel recently met Kumar in Patna, inviting him to Saurashtra, which sends the maximum number of MLAs to the Assembly.

Kumar will visit Gujarat on January 24, trying to find some fish in the State’s troubled political waters.

It is ironical that Kumar happens to be the only major political rival of Modi to have supported demonetisa­tion, even infuriatin­g his “Grand Alliance” partners in Patna.

Interestin­gly, both the Kurmis (to which Kumar belongs) as well as the Patidars are demanding a share in the same quota pie!

Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, yet another contender, is currently focusing on Punjab, which sent all the four of AAP’s MPs to the Lok Sabha in 2014, and is scheduled to go to the Assembly polls in the next few months.

A few months ago, Kejriwal had tried to stir the Gujarat waters over the Patidar agitation but there seemed to be little gains. This prompted Hardik to turn towards Nitish.

If anything, then Gujarat – whose greenhorn Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is already being viewed in his own party as the State’s version of O Panneersel­vam – may offer some more hilarity to India as the deadline of December 30 for depositing old notes yields way to the New Year.

 ??  ?? Rahul Gandhi is expected to visit the Umiya Mata Temple in Unjha, best known for spices and as the epicentre of the Patidar agitation
Rahul Gandhi is expected to visit the Umiya Mata Temple in Unjha, best known for spices and as the epicentre of the Patidar agitation

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