Two top Gujarat BJP leaders chose Independence Day functions in Ahmedabad to settle scores with their adversaries on Wednesday.
Chief Minister Narendra Modi targeted the Centre for not expediting the clearance of land rights for tribals while rival Keshubhai Patel, addressing a gathering of largely BJP dissidents in Surat, called Modi “indisciplined” and “unjust”. This is the first time Keshubhai has came out openly against the CM after he had dubbed Modi’s rule a “mini-Emergency” in 2005.
The former CM said people’s problems, represented by MLAs, were not getting priority in Modi’s rule. He said the government was treating industrialists better. The dissident leader also questioned the suspension of five BJP MLAs, asking if its wasn’t “indiscipline to be unjust to the people”.
Keshubhai said the time had come to speak the truth, adding that even at BJP meetings, only those who praise Modi are allowed to speak. Indicating the shape of things to come in the state BJP, Keshubhai declared that one should not be afraid of speaking the truth when the right time came.
Modi, for his part, trained his guns on the UPA government. He said the Centre had still not cleared the proposal to award nearly 3,000 plots to tribals and warned that his government would give away land titles to tribals on its own if its approval did not come by October 2.
Modi's influence in tribal areas has, of late, been challenged by Sonia Gandhi’s rallies earlier this year as well as the arrest of the BJP’s Dahod MP Babubhai Katara in the human trafficking case.