“People talk about how they can trust me. I was not out in 2007. But this time, I am all out and here. Either I will form a new party or join the MJP,” said Keshubhai addressing a 7,000-strong crowd at a rally here.
At his third rally of the Parivartan (change) series, after Bhavnagar and Junagadh, he was flanked by MJP president Gordhan Zadaphia, former CM Suresh Mehta and former Union textile minister Kashiram Rana.
Addressing a public meet for the first time at his home turf of Rajkot after his unceremonious removal from the post of CM in 2001 to pave the way for Modi, Keshubhai tried to make clear that now he was determined to take the campaign against Modi to its conclusion.
Continuing his attack on Modi, he equated Tata’s Nano car with a girl and said the “unmarried CM” fell for it. “Najuk Namdi Nano per mohi padiya, aparnit che. (Nano car is like a demure damsel for which the CM fell, he is unmarried). But the project has not benefited anyone other than Tata Motors.” he said.
Calling the government insensitive, Keshubhai said, “He (Modi) is unmarried. He won’t understand trauma and pain of parents whose children have gone missing.”
“I was CM on two occasions, but my stints were limited to eight months and 3.5 years respectively. But I gave so many checkdams, employment, Narmada dam and security. What has this government given?” he said, adding, “Instead of industrial development, the need of the hour is to bring law and order back in place, provide water to farmers and help the poor...”
The leaders at the rally tried to shed the ‘only-Patels’ party image of the emerging third front led by BJP rebels. For, Keshubhai was felicitated by representatives of 20 castes, including Kolis, Darbars, Lohanas and Bhils. However, presence of people from upper castes, traditionally BJP’s vote bank, was not significant.
Taking a dig at the BJP for nominating Jaswant Singh as its Vice Presidential candidate, Zadaphia said, “Singh had criticised Sardar Patel, and the Gujarat BJP is now quietly accepting his candidature.”
-CM should contest from central Gujarat’
Former state minister and Keshubhai Patel loyalist Nalin Bhatt has said he would like the former chief minister to contest the coming Assembly elections from central Gujarat, as “his works during his tenure as state CM is remembered by public in this region”.
“People in the region are aware of the differences between BJP rule under Modi and Patel, and clearly Modi’s BJP is a failure,” he said.
Keshubhai is scheduled to address a public meeting in Vadodara on July 22. “After success of his two sammelans in Junagadh and Bhavnagar a few days ago, all are convinced that a third front will work in Gujarat,” he said.
However, the final decision from where Keshubhai would contest elections lies with him only, he further said. “It is for him to make up him mind from where he will contest the elections,” he said.
Keshubhai will decide on the future course of action on August 5 rally most likely to be held in Ahmedabad, he said.