24 November, 2020

The Run Of Kutch

Provoking, diverting, subverting...Vaghela is using all tricks against a faction-ridden BJP to win the Radhanpur seat

The Run Of Kutch

HE remote town of Radhanpur, near the Rann of Kutch, has overnight become the pivot of political activity in Gujarat. Chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela is dete-rmined to seek election to the Vidhan Sabha in mid-April from there. The VHP is equally determined to avenge the ar rest of its state general secretary, Praveen Togadia, by humbling Vaghela on his chosen turf. The BJP, too, is on trial in Radhanpur; moderates and hardliners must bury the hatchet to rout the chief minister.

The timing of Togadia's arrest—for allegedly attacking and stripping BJP veteran Atmaram Patel, then a minister, last year—was significant; at the precise moment BJP chief L.K. Advani arrived in Ahmedabad to address the party's elected representatives, Togadia was being produced before a magistrate. "It was a slap in the face of the BJP-VHP, daring them to do their worst," said a source close to Vaghela. "The chief minister wanted to test their strength." Predictably enraged, the BJP called a statewide bandh even as the VHP threatened that...



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