Gujarat Confidential: Shah Effect

Union Home Minister Amit Shah (Express photo by Prashant Nadkar)

When Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) announced Wednesday that it would pull down 99 old and dilapidated overhead water tanks within 45 days to avoid accidents, the BJP jumped in to give the credit of the decision to its party president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Three died in a tank collapse in Bopal in August whereas another incident was reported in Ghatlodia earlier this month. Both were in Shah's Lok Sabha constituency of Gandhinagar. Though Bopal is not under the AMC, the party went on to say how “on Amit Shah’s directions, AMC conducted a survey of all overhead water tanks and ordered that all dilapidated ones be pulled down at the earliest”. Not only that, the party also credited him for AMC’s responsiveness following the Bopal incident, as residents were supplied water from nearby water tanks and through water tanker lorries.

Missing Congressmen

Hardik Patel’s press conference in Rajkot on Tuesday to raise the issue of damage caused to agricultural crops by unseasonal and excessive rain was conspicuous owing to the absence of local Congress leaders. Patel was largely surrounded by his old friends of the Patidar quota stir days. His tone while warning the state government of a ‘farmers' agitation' if the farmers were not compensated against their losses also somewhat resembled that of his days as the convenor of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti.

Taking Potshots

While boasting of the Congress’s “impressive” show in the recently-held assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, Rajasthan Cabinet Minister and party’s Gujarat in charge, Raghu Sharma, said that while the party workers were confident of victory due to their hard work, it was only the senior party leaders who were “taken aback by the party’s performance”. When pressed to reveal the names of the senior leaders, Sharma said, “Everyone knows who they are. Why do you want me to go on record with names.”

Old Trick

The arrests of five police constables in September for allegedly forging documents and fabricating evidence to pocket Rs 8.48 lakh seized during a raid at a gambling den had raised eyebrows within police circles. But a senior officer of Rajkot district police used some tried-and-tested tricks of investigation and the alleged accused walked into the trap rather quickly. The officer presented himself as their well-wisher and assured the constables that they would be saved from harsh action if they first produced the cash in question. As soon as the accused cops surrendered the wads of currency notes, the officer booked them for cheating, forgery, fabricating evidence and other charges.