His 48-year-old wife, Shweta, a trained Odissi dancer and lawyer-turned-homemaker until now, is going to take on the might of a three-term chief minister Narendra Modi in his fortress of Maninagar.
Interestingly, 10 years later, the communal violence of 2002 will once again surface as a top issue, at least in Maninagar. Bhatt’s claim to fame in recent times have been his allegations against Modi regarding the chief minister’s alleged orders to the bureaucracy and the police to go easy on riotous mobs after the attack on the Sabarmati Express in Godhra.
If there are communal innuendos in a poll campaign, can Modi be left behind? He rendered Congress speechless with his indirect hammering into his voters that if Congress comes to power in Gujarat, a Muslim, Ahmed Patel, will be the chief minister.
In his speech at Isanpur before he filed his nomination on Friday, Modi claimed, “They (Congress) have decided to make Ahmed Patel chief minister. They have no Patel other than Ahmed Patel. But people of Gujarat know their game.”
Congress leaders are seeing this as a very subtle stoking of communal flames by giving the impression that a Muslim leader is Congress’s CM candidate. Both the BJP and Congress, have till now carefully tried to avoid this subject in the political arena. This unexpected development, however, throws up many questions about the Congress’s poll strategy.