Gujarat: Congress' 2017 hero Ashok Gehlot made state chief observer again

In the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections, Ashok Gehlot, along with the late veteran leader Ahmed Patel, as the Congress election campaign in-charge pulled the highest number of 77 seats for the Congress party ever since it lost power in Gujarat since 1995.

Darshan DesaiUpdated: Tuesday, July 12, 2022, 11:32 PM IST
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Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot | Photo: PTI

Ahmedabad: The BJP and the AAP may rule out the Congress party as an almost non-player during the upcoming State Assembly elections, but the Opposition party has once again put its old warhorse Ashok Gehlot, whose presence in the Gujarat 2017 elections brought the invincible BJP close to defeat, in charge as the chief observer for the State.

He will be accompanied by Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo, who on July 7 announced his government framing of the rules for the implementation of the revolutionary legislation especially for the Adivasis, Panchayats (Extension of the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, more known as PESA, which is known for its tardy implementation of the law despite having framing rules for the purpose.

Though the implementation of PESA has destroyed the very purpose of the legislation in Gujarat since its vests the very powers of Gram Sabha to decide on their forest land, water and land rights. With the State having the maximum Scheduled Tribe reserved 27 seats in a House of 182, this has become the Congress’ key issue, though the BJP has four tribal MLAs in the State. It was, however, the Congress-led agitation that forced the Centre and State Governments to scrap the Par-Tapi-Narmada waterlink project that threatens to usurp vast tracts of Adivasi land.

Then there is Congress leader Milind Deora, son of party veteran Murli Deora, as the third observer for Gujarat.

Meanwhile, the Congress is also looking at Himachal Pradesh with equal -- and more seriously -- having put Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in charge of the Himalayan state.

In the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections, Ashok Gehlot, along with the late veteran leader Ahmed Patel, as the Congress election campaign in-charge pulled the highest number of 77 seats for the Congress party ever since it lost power in Gujarat since 1995. Gehlot ensured that the party did not walk into the Hindutva trap of the BJP and its campaign centred around the impact of demonetisation, GST, farmers’ stress, unemployment and Adivasi issues.

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