Modhwadia embarks on yatra, slams Bokhiria for illegal mining

FrontGujarat Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia during Sadachar Yatra, in Porbandar on Tuesday. Express

Embarking on his party's Sadachar yatra from Porbandar to expose alleged corruption in state government and expose its false claims, Gujarat Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia on Tuesday targeted Water Resources Minister Babu Bokhiria over alleged water theft and illegal mining in the coastal district. Addressing a gathering before setting out on the yatra, Modhwadia said that despite Porbandar MLA being the Water Resources Minister, public had raided a water filter plant in Javantri and detected "water theft" by relatives of the minister. He also charged that illegal mining was rampant in the mineral-rich district of Porbandar.

Modhwadia said that the Central government had given crores of rupees for the construction of houses for the poor under JNNURM in Porbandar. But the award of contract and subsequent changes in terms and conditions smack of corruption, he alleged.

Incidentally, Bokhiria, who had defeated Modhwadia in the 2012 Assembly election, was convicted by a trial court in Porbandar in June this year in a case of illegal mining of limestone worth Rs 54 crore. He was sentenced to three-year imprisonment. However, the Porbandar District and Sessions court has since stayed Bokhiria's conviction.

Modhawadia started his "Sadachar" (moral conduct) yatra from Kirti Mandir, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi. After passing through the main road of Porbandar, Gujarat Congress president's home town, the convoy entered Junagadh district. The yatra covered Keshod, Manavadar and Vanthali talukas of Junagadh before entering Junagadh town.

The yatra was scheduled to be converted into a public meeting at Kalva Chowk of Junagadh later in the evening and Modhwadia was supposed to address the gathering. From Junagadh, the yatra will proceed towards the neighbouring Gir Somnath and Amreli districts before culminating in Bhavnagar. On the other hand, senior Congress leader and former leader of opposition in state Assembly, Shaktisinh Gohil, is scheduled to launch the second phase of Sadachar rally from Kutch on Wednesday.

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