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BETWEEN THE LINES

MALLIKA V/S MODI

in Gujarat now as AAP grows stronger

Noted social activist and danseuse Mallika Sarabhai said she does not agree with the metropolitan court’s verdict giving clean chit to Narendra Modi and 62 others in the 2002 Gujarat riots, while rejecting Zakia Jafri’s protest petition”I do not agree with the judgment,” Sarabhai told . In a huge relief to Narendra Modi ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Metropolitan Magistrate B J Ganatra recently accepted the SIT’s closure report giving clean chit to him in the 2002 Gujarat riots while rejecting the protest petition, the only lawsuit accusing the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee of complicity in the riots. By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani Gujarat CM and BJP Prime minister candidate Narendra Modi finds himself in a tight spot even on his home turf as AAP has made inroads in Himndutva territory by getting Mallika Sarabhai and Dr. Kanubhai Kalsaria- two stalwarts in its fold which will be watched with lot of interest in coming general

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election. The Aam Aadmi Party(AAP)’s efforts to get a toehold in BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s home turf of Gujarat got a boost with Mallika Sarabhai - noted classical dancer, activist and a vocal critic of Modi - throwing in her lot with the new party.

Sarabhai, who had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls against LK Advani from Gandhinagar parliamentary constituency, said it was more of a social responsibility that made her join the AAP. “I feel it is a viable (political) option. In fact, all of us who crib about the system


BETWEEN THE LINES should join to swell (its) numbers,” she told. At the AAP headquarters in Ahmedabad, the freshly-minted soldiers of the ‘common man’s movement’ said Sarabhai’s entry effectively makes it the main opposition to Modi. Sitting at the modest house owned by educationist Kishore Desai, who is now the AAP’s south Gujarat coordinator, and gets back Re 1 as rent from the party for offering his home to be turned into a functioning HQ, state chief Sukhdev Patel smiles when asked about the challenge. “IB officials are quizzing AAP members and even visiting their homes and neighbourhood to inquire about them,” says Patel, hinting that Team Modi is already feeling the heat. He feels their focus on good governance, and not personality politics, is rejuvenating the political scene in the state. Patel says all the people are partners in their movement. “Ek divas

na ek rupaya, tris divas na tris rupaya, sache swaraj ni sthaapna ma mari bhagidari (Re 1 for one day, Rs 30 for 30 days — this is my contribution to establish swaraj)” is the slogan being used to collect funds for the party.

Pinkesh Patel (23) as he sweeps with the broom that has disturbed the established political order of the land. Patel is a psychology student who has kept his PhD plans on hold till the Lok Sabha polls.

The Gandhi topis that the AAP members proudly wear are currently being “imported” from New Delhi and stocks seem to finish in no time. Even “Swaraj”, the book authored by party chief Arvind Kejriwal, is out of stock here and there is a mad scramble among everyone trying to associate with the party to get hold of something to announce to the world their newly-forged association.

Although Mallika says that the AAP stands for all that is democratic and for the values enshrined in the constitution, Mallika’s joining the AAP clearly stems out from a deep anger and a personal grudge against

There are no loud banners. No limited entry. Students, retired government officers, RTI activists, social workers, engineers, doctors, advocates and housewives walk in with complete orderliness. But there is no doubting the brimming optimism. “While students like me take care of everything that is needed, housewives who have joined the AAP help us campaign door to door,” said

While students like me take care of everything that is needed, housewives who have joined the AAP help us campaign door to door. - said Pinkesh Patel (23) Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi.

Mallika’s acute dislike for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been evident through the past decade. It began with the meeting

Mallika’s acute dislike for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been evident through the past decade.

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BETWEEN THE LINES organised by her at the Sabarmati Ashram after the post-Godhra riots. Several activists, including Medha Patkar were assaulted and beaten up, allegedly by BJP Yuva Morcha members. She was also the first to file a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court over the horrific 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. Within the next few months, a complaint was registered against the noted danseuse, alleging that she was indulging in human trafficking. The charge against her was that she illegally took people to the US and other countries under the garb of being performing artists of her dance academy - the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts. The complaint however was quashed and she was given a clean chit. In the 2009 general elections, Mallika contested against BJP patriarch LK

Former BJP MLA from Mahuva Dr Kanu Kalsariya, who spearheaded the public agitation against proposed cement plant of Nirma in Bhavnagar district, joined the Aam Admi Party (AAP) with a call to people to strengthen the new party to bring in a third political option in the country. At a function on the roadside near Subhash Bridge Circle, Kalsariya completed formalities to be a member of the AAP by paying the membership fees of Rs 10. While addressing the small gathering, Kalsariya said, “For me, today — a new year day — a golden sun has arrived.” 10 EASTERN CRESCENT | FEBRUARY 2014

Advani from Gandhinagar seat. And although she lost the election by a sizable margin, contesting as an independent candidate, Sarabhai made a political point. Advani wielded a huge political clout then and was also close to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Then came Modi’s much talked of Sadbhavana Mission. On the very day that Modi embarked on his Sadbhavana fast, Mallika Sarabhai and her supporters played out their own version of Sadbhavana. Having cooked up a hot meal in huge utensils, they reached the slums of Ahmedabad and fed the poor and homeless. She dared Modi to go and meet the homeless and offer them shelter if his ‘Sadbhavana’ was indeed genuine. Mallika has also been on the forefront of activism against the

A general surgeon from Bhavnagar, Kalsariya has been the face of farmers’ agitation in Gujarat who also caused a lot of embarrassment to the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat Government through his pro-farmer agitations across the state. During his address, Kalsariya admitted that he was about to join the Congress party before this. “But, God saves people who follow the path of truth. And he saved me too. And after witnessing overwhelming response to AAP in Delhi Assembly elections, I decided to join the party after consulting my

Modi government. Under the banner of CRANTI - Citizens Resource and Action Initiative - Mallika has campaigned for the cause and protection of RTI activists across the state. The group has also been working towards ensuring basic amenities for people living in slums and hutments. Born to illustrious parents - father Vikram Sarabhai was a noted scientist and mother Mrinalini is an acclaimed dancer - Mallika Sarabhai has several achievements to her credit. But her innings as a politician will be watched as keenly as one of her classical dance performances. After all, she’s pledged to put a spoke in the Modi wheel. At least in Gujarat. It’s indeed a tough task. A task which the Congress has tried to do and failed miserably in the past decade.

supporters and well-wishers.” Kalsariya further said that he was disappointed by both Congress and BJP, but there was no other political option available. “The Delhi elections have proved that we can bring in a third political option of clean and corruptionfree politics. And when AAP has got so much response from public, it was necessary for (like minded) people to strengthen it, to nurture it across the country. And therefore, I have joined the party,” Kalsariya said.


03 between the lines