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Home > News > PTI

Cong, BJP in 'development' war in Saurashtra

December 02, 2007 20:52 IST

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The Modi government is hoping to cash in on 'development' in the industrial heart of Gujarat while the Congress is focussing on 'broken promises' to make inroads into the saffron party's stronghold in a virtual direct contest.

There is only one issue that every one is talking about -- development or the lack of it -- as campaigning picks up slowly in this part of the Saurashtra region where polling is due on December 11.

Out of the eight assembly seats in this district, the Bharatiya Janata Party won five seats in the 2002 polls. Even this time, the ruling party is confident of sailing through comfortably.

"We are highlighting development schemes such as increased water supply, uninterrupted power and better rural infrastructure," says sitting BJP legislator Vasuben Trivedi.

The Congress, on the other hand, has focused on 'broken promises' of the Modi government.

"BJP leaders gave their word that they would bring Narmada water to the city and its rural areas. They had also promised concrete roads and more jobs for the local farmers whose land had been acquired for setting up industries. None of this has been delivered," says Dr Dinesh Bhai Parmar, Congress candidate from Jamnagar (rural).

However, the Congress is aware of the wafer-thin margin with which it won three seats -- Jamnagar (rural), Bhanvad and Dwarka. The party is hoping to cash in on the voter's dissatisfaction over water supply and problems faced by farmers, including unemployment.

In the previous polls, the victory margin for the BJP in each seat, including its strongholds -- Jodiya, Jamnagar, Kalawad, Jamjodhpur and Khambhaliya -- was between 5,000 and 2,000 votes. Thus, the ruling party, too, has reasons to worry.

A visit to Moti Khavdi village, where Reliance [Get Quote] has its Rs 24,000-cr oil refinery, reveals that there is disillusionment among a section of voters over 'outsiders' getting jobs they feel should legitimately have gone to them.

"We sold our land on the promise that we will be given jobs. However, people from outside have been given jobs," said Badubha, deputy sarpanch of the village.

"We want a co-ed secondary school and adequate supply of water as promised," says Kantiben Chapla, principal of a primary school in Moti Khavdi.

The frustration among local people is because of lack of education and awareness. Many among those who got compensation for acquisition of their land did not know where to invest the money, rues Dr Priyanka, who runs a small hospital in the village.

However, there were some who made smart investments like J J Jadeja of Jakhar village who sold 27 acres land five years back.

"I own 50 drilling machines, which are hired by private companies and have invested a small part in the stock market," says Jadeja.

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