Even after his defection to BJP, there seems little change in Vitthal Radadia’s style of politics of single-handedly holding public shows.
With the BJP figuring nowhere in its run up, the Saurashtra-strongman is all set to organise a massive farmers’ sammelan in the city on Monday.
“This is an apolitical sammelan. But I welcome support of political parties who espouse the cause of farmers. That is why ministers of the state government and leaders of BJP would remain present,” Radadia, BJP MP from Porbandar, told The Indian Express on Sunday.
Radadia said that Gujarat BJP chief Ranchhod Faldu, national president of BJP Kisan morcha, Purushottam Rupala, Agriculture Minister Babu Bokhiria, Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Minister of State for Education, Govind Patel and Gujarat BJP general secretary Vijay Rupani would remain present.
Unlike advertisements of BJP events, in which pictures of Chief Minister Narendra Modi loom large, the ads of the sammelan in local newspapers carried photos of only Radadia with his cooperative brigade as well-wishers last week.
“Since all the cooperatives, be it bank cooperative or milk cooperatives, are organisations of farmers, they are participating in a big way,” Radadia, who is also chairman of Rajkot District Cooperative Bank and also holds sway over the Rajkot District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union or Gopal Dairy, says.
During his Congress days, Radadia was know for bringing crowds to Sonia Gandhi’s rallies. But this is for the first time in recent years that Radadia is holding a sammelan without express participation of any political party.
Local media have interpreted this as a chasm between Radadia and the BJP leaders. Even the agenda of the sammelan seems to go against the party line, with demand for uninterrupted electricity supply and protection of crop from wild boars and blue bulls on its list. The state government makes tall claims on these issues.
However, Rupani rules out any such rift. He say, “Vitthalbhai is holding a cooperative sammelan for farmers on issues like non-payment of crop insurance. We have raised the same issue so there is a ground for BJP leaders and ministers to attend it. So far as the issue of electricity is concerned, we believe BJP leaders have the right to raise genuine issues of the farmers and the government will try to solve it.”