All roads led to the collector’s office on Friday, with the most popular face in the assembly election of 2012, chief minister Narendra Modi arriving there to file his nomination form for Maninagar constituency. However, the limelight was stolen from the Gujarat ka Sher as his supporters were shouting, even if for a few minutes, by Shweta Bhatt, Congress candidate for Maninagar constituency. The wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, Shweta had arrived at the DC office to file her nomination papers, with her supporters raising slogans like “Shweta ben tum aage barho, hum tumhare saath hai”.
The collector office was chock-a-block with police officials, BJP-Congress supporters and media people for almost three hours. At 11.35am Bhatt arrived at the office with her supporters, while Modi arrived at the office at 1pm.
Going by the buzz in power corridors, Modi and most of the BJP leaders were going to file their nomination form at exactly 12.39 pm (considered to be the most auspicious time and Vijay Mahurat as per Hindu belief). However, Modi reached the venue of the public meeting at Maninagar at around 12.10pm and his speech continued till 12.45pm. After that he proceeded to file his nomination form and filed it only at 1.04 pm. By then, if sources close to the matter are to be believed, Vijay mahurat had sailed by.
Rumours, however, have it that it was a calculated step to avoid confrontation with Shweta Bhatt, who filed her nomination and left the collector’s office at 12.50pm.
Immediately after his arrival, the crowd shouted slogans – “Dekho dekho kaun aaya, Gujarat ka sher aaya”, and “Desh ka neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho”. The premises echoed with slogans of hundreds of BJP supporters.
Dressed in a saffron kurta, Modi, however, chose not to talk to media before or even after filling his nomination form. Senior BJP leader Parshottam Rupala, accompanying Modi did the talking, though he too remained tight-lipped on Shweta Bhatt’s filing nomination.
Bhatts too hogged the limelight. They were accompanied by Congress leaders as well as social activist like Shabnam Hasmi.
Before filling the nomination form, the Bhatts went to Gandhi Ashram to offer prayers to Mahatma Gandhi. It took around an hour for her to file nomination form at the collector’s office.
Shweta said that, injustice was done to her when her husband was arrested by the Gujarat police. ''I have decided that I will contest election from the same constituency where Modi will contest his election,'' she said.