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'Anti-Modi' speech in Surat via phone from US
June 12, 2007 13:29 IST
Unable to attend the Patidar Maha Sammelan, the rally seen as a massive show of strength against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, due to health problems, senior BJP leader Keshubhai Patel addressed the gathering in Surat over mobile phone from Los Angeles, United States.
In his statement, Keshubhai alleged that the Patel community, which constitutes around 20 per cent of the Gujarat population and feels 'ignored' by the Narender Modi government, had been 'wronged' and those 'perpetrating injustice' against the community should realise this.
'I have problems not just concerning heart but connected to kidneys also,' he told a huge gathering in this town of diamond and textiles from Los Angeles while expressing his regret over his absence.
Even as the octogenarian leader's comments on the Patel community were interpreted as his way of endorsing 'anti-Modi activities,' organisers of the rally refused to accept it.
They contended it was a community function without any political 'objective' and had invited leaders belonging to all parties, including Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party.
Patel was to be conferred 'Patidar Rajiv Ratna' award in recognition of his services to the Patel community and many of BJP detractors of Modi were using this occasion to 'snipe' at the chief minister for allegedly 'ignoring' the interests of the community.