BJP star Amin woos his own, mocks the party he just left

FP

Narhari Amin, the BJP's newfound star campaigner, has been wooing his community and attacking the Congress days after he walked out of it. He has launched into the role of wooing the Leuva Patels in areas where this BJP vote-bank is under threat from Keshubhai Patel's GPP, besides hitting out personally at his former colleagues Arjun Modhwadia and Shaktisinh Gohil in their strongholds.

Listed among the BJP's star campaigners, Amin addressed six election meetings in Bhavnagar district on Monday. Congress Legislature Party leader Gohil, with whom Amin had worked closely for several years, is contesting from Bhavnagar Rural. Modhwadia is contesting from Porbandar, where Amin's meeting was cancelled on Sunday, but he included the state Congress chief in Monday's speech.

"Modhwadia and Gohil present themselves as the Congress's top leaders," Amin said in Sihor, part of Gohil's seat. "But they cannot even drink water without permission from Delhi."

There was a time when Amin was the Congress's face in Saurashtra as the party launched a 12-point vision programme there. He is now the BJP's answer to its rivals in Saurashtra and South Gujarat.

On Saturday, he had addressed rallies in Saurashtra's Gondal, Virpur, Keshod and Junagadh, all dominated by his Leuva Patel community and Keshubhai's stronghold. In Junagadh, Amin played the community card: "The Congress has never treated the Leuva Patel community well."

Sunday brought a setback, however, with three of his meetings in Saurashtra cancelled at the last moment. The state BJP media cell had announced the programme but local BJP leaders in Porbandar had no idea about the meetings. The apparent miscommunication sparked some speculation about how acceptable Amin was to BJP workers. One of these meets was slated in Modhwadia's Porbandar constituency.

Having missed the chance to attack Modhwadia, he addressed a press meet and accused Modhwadia for back-stabbing. Amin had lost a string of elections and was denied a Congress ticket. "It was not because I was denied a ticked," he said in Porbandar. "I left the Congress because I was stabbed in the back. Though Modhwadia was in the candidate selection committee, he kept me in the dark till the end."

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