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October 4, 2001 - October 4, 2001

Hectic political activity on eve of mayoral election Thursday, October 4, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
VADODARA: Yet another phase of political manipulations is being witnessed in the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) here on the eve of the elections to the post of deputy mayor. While the BJP-Samata Party alliance has remained intact this time, selection of the right candidate for the post has become a major bone of contention.

According to sources, the formula worked out at that stage paved way for electing a Samata candidate as the deputy mayor. The present incumbent Shailesh Mehta alias Sotta, also the city Samata Party president, is learnt to have made his intentions of holding on to the seat clear. At the other end, a section of BJP councillors and a minister from the city are dead against his sticking to the post.

Senior BJP functionaries said, on conditions of anonymity, that the opposition to Sotta's name was not limited to the councillors. "Several senior leaders have also strongly opposed his name. The reason being the anti-BJP tirade conducted by the leader till very recently," the functionary said.

Political observers believe that another reason for the opposition is the ensuing Assembly posts. Mehta may throw in his hat from the Shaher-Wadi constituency as a Samata candidate. If he continues to hold the deputy mayor's post, it might work to his advantage against the running BJP MLA and minister of state of labour, Bhupendra Lakhawala.

Sources added that Samata Party was being convinced to look for another candidate for the post. This, they said, would work out in the interest of both the coalition partners.

BJP functionaries and councillors opposing Mehta are working overtime here to create an impression that there is opposition to Mehta's candidature from within the party. The reason being cited is that the party has only one of the three key posts in the VMC. If Mehta holds on to it, others might continue to be deprived of a plum post.

Mehta, nonetheless, expressed confidence that his party members were with him for the polls. "All the six corporators of my party are with me and we will stick together. There are no differences," he said.

When asked to comment regarding the opposition to his candidature in BJP, Mehta said, "I can comment on the state of affairs in my party. I cannot comment on what is happening in others."

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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Desai kin avenge his death Thursday, October 4, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: Gang wars showed up once again in Vatva when two persons burnt alive notorious gangster Gova Rabari's sister on Wednesday morning. One of the accused is the brother of the late AMC corporator Amtha Desai and is said to have avenged his brother's murder.

Thirty-year-old Shantaben Nagjibhai Rabari, who was supposed to be married to the late Amtha Desai, corporator from Amraiwadi ward, encountered Ramesh alias Sunny Laxmanbhai Rabari and Amrut Sankabhai Desai, who allegedly doused her in kerosene and burnt her.

She was reportedly going to relieve herself around 4.30 am near the Jashodanagar Vitthalnagar tekra, where she lives.

Gova Rabari, who was once listed among the top ten gangsters of the state, was arrested in June last year along with his accomplices for killing Amtha Desai.

Rabari was picked up from Indore. He faces three murder charges apart from other charges.

Shanta was rushed to LG Hospital where she is learnt to have testified before doctors that Ramesh and Amrut had burnt her. Later, she succumbed to burns.

The Vatva GIDC police have booked the two for murder but are yet to arrest them.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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Equations in Saurashtra to undergo a sea change Thursday, October 4, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
RAJKOT: Political equations in Saurashtra region, which was so far dominated by the Patel community, would see a sea change with the change of guard at Gandhinagar. While Keshubhai Patel, a Leuva Patel, held an iron grip over most of the 50 BJP legislators from Saurashtra, it would be a Herculean task for new incumbent Narendra Modi to do the same.

With the Congress in a belligerent mood after it came to power in Rajkot Municipal Corporation and wrested a large number of taluka and district panchayats in the region, the going may be tough for the beleaguered BJP to keep its flag flying high in Saurashtra, once its impregnable bastion.

Patels held a sway over the local politics, but with its key leader gone, most of the legislators see a bleak future in the days to come as they had got themselves elected merely on the party symbol and on the name of Keshubhai.

Of the 182 seats in the Assembly, Saurashtra and Kutch alone account for 58, of which 50 were held by the BJP while six were with the Congress and one each with the Rashtriya Janata Party and an Independent. What was even more interesting was the fact that of these 50 BJP legislators as many as 18 were Patels and owed their political existence to Keshubhai. Even MLAs from the other community owe their political identity to the former chief minister.

Rumblings are on among Saurashtra MLAs that as many as 10 such legislators, six from Amreli and four from Bhavnagar, are ready to fight out for Keshubhai. Their numbers would increase once the new incumbent takes over and settles down with his new team. It is also no secret that Saurashtra was neglected all these years, and if the new chief minister continues with this trend, things could be difficult for the BJP in the next Assembly election.

Out of the 50 BJP legislators from the region, more than half are hard-core loyalists of Keshubhai and would not mind making sacrifices if asked to do so. However the other half, which was much more committed to the party than the individual, may most likely turn the table in favour of the new chief minister which would make things easier for him so far as Saurashtra was concerned.

The only cause of concern would be the fact that Keshubhai had lost his grass-roots level contact with the workers who were feeling let down by his style of functioning. There is also no doubt that Keshubhai was let down by his own men. Renewing the contacts with these workers would need an extra effort by the BJP cadre, but looking to the style of functioning of Modi, he would try to win over the cadres.

Some of the staunch BJP loyalists who were sidelined by Keshubhai would now raise their head. The same was the case with the RSS leaders who were not heard. Some staunch RSS leaders may also help Modi in his endeavour.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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How Keshubhai was vanquished Thursday, October 4, 2001

AHMEDABAD: In the end, there was no deal. The man who, on Tuesday night, was roaring that party legislators would elect their leader, gave in tamely on Wednesday.

What happened in the intervening period of one night? Lots, it seems. For one, Narendra Modi, realising that a rebellion was brewing, swung into action. He was able to convince three important Patel MLAs that they had no future outside the BJP and Keshubhai was no Shankar Singh Vaghela to be able to split the party and carry his plans through. These three MLAs then drove down to the CM’s house in the middle of the night to convince Keshubhai of the futility of his plans.

Simultaneously, Modi despatched two BJP MPs and two rebel ministers to Suresh Mehta. The message was same: what Keshubhai could not do with a solid majority in the assembly, he could not do without the support of the party high command.

Interestingly, Modi did all this manipulation sitting in Delhi. He was supposed to reach Ahmedabad on Tuesday evening but gave up his plans on learning that Keshubhai supporters would greet him with black flags and slogans. Ultimately, Modi came on Wednesday morning.

It was also conveyed to Keshubhai that if he refused to step down, some dealings made by his close relatives would be exposed. Who conveyed these and at whose behest is not known. But the name of some of Keshubhai’s relatives have off and on crept up in connection with dubious deals. This was in addition to what the party high command conveyed to him: step down or else the bosses would not be averse to even creating conditions that would lead to the dissolution of the assembly.

Keshubhai, after his return from Delhi on Tuesday night, confabulated with nine ministers who threw their lot behind him and promised support from ‘‘40 MLAs’’. This included his finance minister, agriculture minister, IT minister and information minister among others. But in spite of this support, the happenings in the night convinced Keshubhai that discretion would be the better part of valour.

By morning, when high command representatives Kushbhau Thakre and Madan Lal Khurana arrived, Keshubhai had all but given up. He was looking for a face-saver and, finding that he had burnt all his bridges, settled for even Modi ‘‘seeking his blessings in public’’. Modi did better; he went and touched Keshubhai’s feet!

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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How Keshubhai was vanquished Thursday, October 4, 2001

AHMEDABAD: In the end, there was no deal. The man who, on Tuesday night, was roaring that party legislators would elect their leader, gave in tamely on Wednesday.

What happened in the intervening period of one night? Lots, it seems. For one, Narendra Modi, realising that a rebellion was brewing, swung into action. He was able to convince three important Patel MLAs that they had no future outside the BJP and Keshubhai was no Shankar Singh Vaghela to be able to split the party and carry his plans through. These three MLAs then drove down to the CM’s house in the middle of the night to convince Keshubhai of the futility of his plans.

Simultaneously, Modi despatched two BJP MPs and two rebel ministers to Suresh Mehta. The message was same: what Keshubhai could not do with a solid majority in the assembly, he could not do without the support of the party high command.

Interestingly, Modi did all this manipulation sitting in Delhi. He was supposed to reach Ahmedabad on Tuesday evening but gave up his plans on learning that Keshubhai supporters would greet him with black flags and slogans. Ultimately, Modi came on Wednesday morning.

It was also conveyed to Keshubhai that if he refused to step down, some dealings made by his close relatives would be exposed. Who conveyed these and at whose behest is not known. But the name of some of Keshubhai’s relatives have off and on crept up in connection with dubious deals. This was in addition to what the party high command conveyed to him: step down or else the bosses would not be averse to even creating conditions that would lead to the dissolution of the assembly.

Keshubhai, after his return from Delhi on Tuesday night, confabulated with nine ministers who threw their lot behind him and promised support from ‘‘40 MLAs’’. This included his finance minister, agriculture minister, IT minister and information minister among others. But in spite of this support, the happenings in the night convinced Keshubhai that discretion would be the better part of valour.

By morning, when high command representatives Kushbhau Thakre and Madan Lal Khurana arrived, Keshubhai had all but given up. He was looking for a face-saver and, finding that he had burnt all his bridges, settled for even Modi ‘‘seeking his blessings in public’’. Modi did better; he went and touched Keshubhai’s feet!

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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