Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleged that the Congress ruled the nation for 58 years and did nothing for the tribals and added that the Ministry of Tribal Affairs was formed and SC/ST Commission was set up when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister.
Further he credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for launching the Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana in Gujarat as chief minister and said, “Bhupendra Patel (Chief minister of Gujarat), told me, he taken a vow that once we form the government after assembly elections, we will redevelop Unai Mata temple.”
He was speaking after the launch of BJP’s Birsa Munda Adivasi Gaurav Yatra from Unai, which falls in Vansda constituency represented by Congress MLA Anant Patel, who was recently attacked.
In the 1068-kilometre march from Unai to Ambaji, the BJP plans to cover 14 districts and 31 Assembly seats in nine days with 28 public meetings. People from Surat Tapi, Navsari and Dang districts joined the yatra.
BJP chose Unai for Shah’s meeting as the place is famous for its hot water springs at Unai Mata temple, a deity worshipped by tribals. Shah had visited the temple before launching the yatra.
A member of the administration team of the Unai Mata temple Himanshu Goswami, a member of the administration team of the Unai Mata temple said that“ The village has ancient roots of the presence of Lord Ram and Sita. Even today many people visit Unai Mata temple and take bath in the hot water stream to get rid of skin and other diseases. Not only tribals, but all people have great faith in this hot water stream.”
Amit Shah said that the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act had already been implemented in Gujarat and the “state government had cleared glitches and allotted 1.52 lakh acres of land to the 91,884 tribal population in Gujarat. He said, referring to the period from the chief ministership of Modi to Bhupendra Patel, Till date, starting from Narendra Modi to Bhupendra Patel, the irrigation facilities had been implemented in 11 lakh acres of land”.
The Centre and Gujarat government had been compelled to scrap the Par-Tapi-Narmada river-linking project, after Congress MLA from Vansda Anant Patel had led a huge protest against it earlier this year.
Shah said that the government had spent Rs 984 crore to set up 122 substations so that the tribal areas from Umargam to Ambaji get 24-hour power supply.
“Today 98.3 tribal villages get road connectivity with the main roads in Gujarat. The BJP government had started medical colleges in Dahod, Valsad and Banaskantha and our Bhupendra Patel (chief minister of Gujarat) had given approval for new medical colleges in Navsari, Tapi, Narmada and Panchmahal in Gujarat. So, the tribal students won’t have to go far to study medicine”.
Attacking the Congress, Shah said it was “during the Sonia (Gandhi) and Manmohan (Singh) governments that daily Pakistani terrorists would cross the border and behead our jawans and those seated in the central government kept silent. You have made Narendra Modi Prime minister, there was an attack in Uri and Pulwam, Pakistan forgot that the government had changed in India. Narendra Modi had in just 10 days carried out surgical strikes and air strikes in Pakistan and taken revenge.”
Mukesh Halpati, a resident of Dharampur in Valsad district who had come for the public gathering, said that “There are over 200 people from our village and neighbouring villages who had come to attend the programme. We have been given food and transportation facilities by local BJP leaders. We have given support to Anant Patel in his protest rally of Par Tapi Narmada river project. Our lands will be snatched away through this project. We have come here just to show our presence but not to support the BJP.”
Anant Patel is recuperating from injuries from an attack on him on October 8 by a mob allegedly led by Navsari district panchayat president and BJP leader Bhikhu Ahir at Khergam village. A complaint in this connection was lodged by Anant Patel who is presently in hospital undergoing treatment. However, The BJP started five Gujarat Gaurav yatras from different locations Wednesday and Thursday.