Gujarat election 2017: Rahul Gandhi is on a visit to Gujarat’s Porbandar today. Apart from its importance of being a coastal city, Porbandar also witnesses one of the most interesting poll battles in the state. The two top state leaders – Arjun Modhwadia from Congress and Babu Bokhiria from the BJP – contest elections from here. In fact, Modhwadia shot to fame in politics only after he defeated Bokhiria in his debut assembly elections. Modhwadia was able to win the seat despite a BJP wave in the state amid an atmosphere of communal polarisation. He once again won from Porbandar in 2007, a time when serving chief minister Narendra Modi was at peak of his political popularity in the state. However, Bokhiria was able to win back his citadel when he defeated Modhwadia by around 17,000 votes in the last election.
This time again, Modhwadia, a former Gujarat Congress chief is pitted against Bokhiria, state minister for animal husbandry and fisheries. Bokhiria has designed his campaign around development works he claims to have carried out during his tenure. The leader cites the introduction of the Amul pattern of milk cooperatives to Porbandar in his election interactions. On the other hand, Modhwadia is campaigning primarily on the anti-corruption plank. He is seen firing salvos on Bokhiria in his elections rallies and keeps citing a criminal case that was registered against the leader on the charges of illegal limestone mining.
As per a report, Bokhiria and three others were convicted for three years by the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court in 2013. However, the Porbandar Sessions Court first stayed their conviction and later overturned it, acquitting the leader of all charges. On the other hand, Bokharia accuses Modhwadia of running a negative campaign.
During his visit to the city today, Rahul Gandhi highlighted Congress’ support for weaker sections of society, he said, “Gujarat doesn’t just belong to 5-10 big industrialists, it also belongs to the farmers, laborers and small-scale businessmen.”
Gandhi was today addressing members of fishermen, Dalit, public health and teaching communities in Porbandar.
Launching a scathing attack on the Modi Government’s demonitisation, he said, there were no suited-booted people standing in bank queues then. The Congress vice-president further went on to explain the reason behind their absence from these queues by saying, “Those suited-booted persons entered by the back door of the bank and sat under the air conditioner.”