The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Modi bash finds no sponsors

Ahmedabad, Aug. 5: Times have changed and Narendra Modi is feeling the pinch.

Never before has any corporate house or institution in Modi’s Gujarat shown such reluctance to sponsor state celebrations the chief minister has been hosting in places other than the capital Gandhinagar.

Earlier, Independence Day, Republic Day and Gujarat foundation day celebrations have been held with much fanfare in Patan, Jamnagar, Vadodara and Surat. But this time, the chief minister is getting a cold response from Anand district, where he plans to hold Independence Day celebrations on August 15.

Anand-based institutions like Amul, the National Dairy Development Board and the Sardar Patel Memorial Trust have decided to stay away from government functions, causing consternation in the corridors of power.

A top official in the chief minister’s office confirmed Amul has refused to sponsor the celebrations but said the government was still optimistic that the dairy products giant would come round. A spokesman for Amul declined comment.

Apart from the fact that the BJP no longer rules the Centre, about a dozen councillors in the BJP-ruled Anand Nagar Palika have added to Modi’s discomfiture by revolting against the palika president.

With barely 10 days left, the minister in charge of the district, Kaushik Patel, has swung into action to “persuade” local institutions to participate in the functions but there has been no progress so far. There have been allegations that Amul and NDDB are being pressurised to cough up money.

In Karamsad, a town near Anand and Vallabbhai Patel’s birthplace, the Sardar Patel Memorial Trust is showing no “interest” in the celebrations.

“We will be celebrating Independence Day the way we have been doing all these years. We have no interest in Narendra Modi’s pomp and show,” said Ulhas Patel, a trustee and member of the Karamsad Education Trust.

“Those who want to come and visit can do so, but we will not be spending money on a function that has been politically hijacked,” he added.

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