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BJP’s ‘show of strength’ in Surat ends in chaos

BJP’s ‘show of strength’ in Surat ends in chaos

BJP’s ‘show of strength’ in Surat ends in chaos  

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Supporters of Hardik Patel go on a rampage, throwing chairs and pelting stones at the venue

It was billed as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ‘show of strength’ in the Patidar bastion of Surat, where prominent businessmen of the community organised a function to felicitate BJP president Amit Shah, State Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and other Patidar leaders, but the proceedings ended abruptly amidst chaos over the ruckus created by supporters of activist Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who chanted ‘Jay Sardar Jay Patidar’ while going on rampage breaking and throwing chairs and pelting stones at the venue.

The entire event, in which top Patidar leaders like State BJP president Jitu Vaghani, Union Ministers Purushottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandvia and many others were to be felicitated in a bid to project the Patidar community’s support to the BJP, had to be wound up in just 45 minutes due to the ruckus despite elaborate security arrangements involving over 1,700 police personnel.

Party president Amit Shah ended his speech in just four minutes and immediately left the venue while other speakers, including CM Vijay Rupani and Union Minister Rupala could not speak for more than five minutes as the chaos and sloganeering continued.

Both Mr. Shah and Mr. Rupani expressed their gratitude to the Patidar community for their “support to the BJP” but did not touch upon the contentious issue of OBC status and quota in education and government jobs that the community has been demanding in the state.

Outside the venue, several vehicles including police vehicles, were vandalised by stone pelting, forcing the authorities to terminate Surat’s Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) services in the Patel-dominated areas of the diamond city.

State BJP chief Jitu Vaghani claimed that “only a few dozen people tried to create disturbance but thousands of Patidar community members remained present, which shows their support to the BJP”.

‘Anger of Patidars’

“What happened in Surat reflects the anger of the Patidar community against the BJP in Gujarat,” said Mr. Hardik Patel, who is exiled in Udaipur, while reacting on the events in Surat.

He charged the BJP of playing a “divide and rule” game with the Patidar community in the State.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 1:33:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/BJP%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98show-of-strength%E2%80%99-in-Surat-ends-in-chaos/article14630674.ece

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