Debating India

Mini emergency in Gujarat: Keshubhai

Tuesday 22 June 2004

GANDHINAGAR: Sending clear signals that the high command’s decision to give a `temporary reprieve’ to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has not gone down well with his detractors, former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, a known Modi critic, Tuesday said a situation resembling a "mini-emergency’ and an atmosphere of `fear’ prevailed in the state.

"I am unhappy about the prevailing situation in the state. There is a sort of mini-emergency where MLAs are afraid to express their feelings," Patel, who has `skipped’ the BJP national executive meeting that began in Mumbai this morning citing `knee pain’, told reporters at his residence.

Without naming Modi, Patel made it clear that he is not levelling allegations against any one particular person.

He also said he was extremely upset over an `obscene’ SMS about former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee doing rounds for the last two days.

The veteran BJP leader refused to comment on the parliamentary board’s decision not to remove Modi "at this juncture", but said that he would brief the high command about `prevailing atmosphere of fear’ in Gujarat.

Patel’s comments came close on the heels of Modi getting a reprieve and at a time when all attention is focused on the latter at the national executive meet even as the BJP has made it clear the issue of removal of Modi will not be discussed.

Meanwhile, sources close to Patel said that doctor has advised him at least two days’ rest following a swelling in his knees following extensive three-day travel in Saurashtra. It, however, remains unclear whether he would attend the remaining part of the executive meet.

P.S.

in The Times of India, Tuesday, June 22, 2004.

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