The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Modi mocked, in and out

Gandhinagar, Sept. 14: Narendra Modi’s troubles are piling up ahead of the BJP’s national executive starting in Chennai in a couple of days.

Half-a-dozen MLAs belonging to the dissident camp, which has been pressing for the chief minister’s removal, embarrassed Modi today by resigning from Assembly-appointed committees.

The resignations came on top of accusations in the Assembly by the Opposition Congress that home minister Amit Shah was hand in glove with one-time leading broker Ketan Parekh, involved in the scam around Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank, which had failed.

Congress members entered the House, shouting the allegation. Inside the Assembly, dissident BJP member Ramilaben Desai taunted the chief minister about his newly acquired and much-flaunted No. 1 label.

Based on a study commissioned by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation that put Gujarat in the top spot as the state with the most investor-friendly atmosphere, the state government started an advertisement blitz. Just as Modi used the Sonia Gandhi-headed institute’s survey to taunt the Congress, his own party MLAs mocked him in the Assembly.

Explaining the reason for resigning from the committees, rebel leader Dhiru Gajera said: “All six MLAs, including Gordhan Zadaphia (who champions the dissident cause), were not given due placement matching their status and seniority. So they were forced to resign.”

While in the House Modi’s enemies within inflicted wounds, outside the Congress started a mock Assembly session.

Earlier, they had been thrown out of the House by the Speaker as they demanded the home minister’s resignation and a CBI probe into his alleged links with Parekh. The Speaker did not permit them to raise the issue in the House and amid continuing protests, asked the marshals to usher them out.

Later, Shah said he had never met Parekh and if the Congress had any evidence against him, they could approach the competent authority.

The expelled MLAs started a parallel assembly in the corridor, amusing the visitors, who found greater merriment in the mock session than in the real sitting inside. C.J. Chavda, the MLA from Gandhinagar who looks like Modi, was the natural choice to play the chief minister’s role.

When Modi’s clone bragged: “I am the No. 1 chief minister,” Modhvadia fired, “when Gujarat is 15th in education and 22nd in girl’s education, how do you claim that you are the No. 1 chief minister'”

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