The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Modi puts off yatra, Vaghela signals halt

Ahmedabad, Sept. 3: Narendra Modi today postponed his Gaurav Yatra by a day yet again, even as Congress chief Shankersinh Vaghela gave a call to stop the caretaker chief minister from entering Phagvel, from where the yatra is now scheduled to be launched on September 8.

After breaking his 24-hour token fast at Bhathiji temple in Phagvel against the alleged “misuse of the government machinery and harassment of the villagers”, Vaghela urged the people to reject the Gaurav Yatra and not allow Modi to enter “the land of cow protectors”. The Bhathiji temple, a Kshatriya pilgrim centre, is a memorial to a prince who sacrificed his life protecting cows from invaders about two centuries ago.

The Congress leader said a party that allocated Rs 2,000 crore for opening 6,000 slaughter houses across the country cannot be called a party of cow protectors. “This party should not be allowed to enter any religious place. They sought votes in the name of cow protection, but are now opening slaughter houses. Members of such a party have no right to enter any temple. You should ensure that they don’t enter Phagvel,” he said.

Unfurling a 52-feet flag at the temple, Vaghela launched a blistering attack on the BJP government for misusing government machinery and politicising Narmada water. He ridiculed the BJP for being the champions of Hindutva, though “they do not even know that September 7 amavasya”.

BJP Gujarat chief Rajendrasinh Rana said the yatra was postponed because amavasya falls on September 7. “Amavasya is considered an inauspicious day. So we have rescheduled the yatra on September 8,” Rana said, explaining the reason for postponing the yatra a third time.

Sharply reacting to Vaghela’s appeal to the chief minister to call off the yatra, Rana said: “Vaghela has no business to advise us. Gaurav Yatra is our programme. Who is he to tell us what we should do and what we should not'”'

Rana ridiculed Vaghela’s assertion that the BJP should not go to Phagvel as it fell under the Congress leader’s Lok Sabha constituency.

“It is absurd. The BJP can not take it any more,” Rana said. In the larger interest of the state “we postponed out programme thrice” the BJP leader clarified. “But now enough is enough. Every time we will not make a reconciliatory move,” added the BJP leader.

Vaghela promised that every widow would get Rs 900 pension and farmers will not be harassed, if the Congress came to power. The party will do away with the meter system.

The state Congress reiterated the demand for immediate imposition of President’s Rule after the apex court ruled out any intervention in the poll schedule decided by the Election Commission. The chief minister, on his part, told a TV channel that he was happy the Election Commission had given a commitment to hold Assembly elections in November-December.

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