Gujarat Elections: Will Morbi come back in BJP’s hands or bridge collapse can become an issue

Gandhinagar. A security guard is posted to guard whatever is left of the Hanging Bridge in Morbi. This infamous bridge collapsed on October 31 and about 135 people were killed by hitting rocks and drowning in the stony Macchu river below this bridge. The election office of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Kantilal Amritiya is just 10 minutes away from this place. The canopy in the office is adorned with huge flex and posters depicting Kantilal’s political journey. The journey begins with a photo from 1979 that depicts a painful scene, when thousands of people died due to the breach of the Machchu Dam, and during this time he is engaged in rescue and relief work to save people. Huh.

In its next flex, Amritiya is seen with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This photo is from when the Prime Minister came to Morbi during his two-month stay. Amritiya, who is also known as Kanhabhai, says, ‘Look at these pictures, I have been a servant of the Sangh since childhood. Everyone here knows me. Because I have always been among them, in fact it is not me but these people who are contesting the elections.

BJP was defeated in 2017
Amritiya was denied a ticket for the 2020 by-election from Morbi and Brajesh Merja was given the ticket in his place, as Brajesh Merja had defeated Amritiya in 2017. Later, Brajesh left the Congress and boarded the saffron ship. In this way BJP won this seat and Morbi seat also got included in their list. BJP had been winning this seat for the last 27 years, but in 2017 they had to face defeat due to the Patidar movement of Hardik Patel. At least the candidates of BJP, Congress and AAP believe so.

Pictures of Amritiya’s bold attempt went viral
After 43 years of the tragedy in 1979, once again on October 31, when the Jhulto Bridge broke down, Amritiya jumped into the Machchu river. Wearing a life-saving tube, Kantilal Amritiya asked the fishermen to bring their nets and tried to save as many lives as possible. The pictures of his daring attempt went viral. Most people in the BJP feel that Amritiya is an influential leader in the region, and his bold act has sealed his ticket in the upcoming Gujarat elections. Is the collapse of Morbi bridge an election issue this time? Avoiding this question, Amritiya says that the government is doing everything possible to help the survivors.

Congress’s effort, this time Morbi remained on top in election issues
On the other hand, the Congress is trying to ensure that Morbi remains on top in election issues this time. Amritiya’s rival in Morbi and Congress candidate Jayanti Jerjbhai Patel says that his party will end the 27 years of misrule by the BJP this time. Patel says that the BJP has ruined the state. The death toll in the Morbi bridge collapse is definitely a big issue. The entire state is in shock due to the loss of so many lives. We are also doing election campaign without crackers and drums. We have kept it very simple.

AAP’s politics focused on development
On the other hand, the AAP office down the road from the BJP office is not very busy. While your candidates are present in the office only. Surrounded by six-seven people, AAP candidate Pankajbhai Ransariya says that his top priority is road and education. He says, ‘Morbi is also definitely an issue here, the roads are dilapidated and it has been 27 years but the BJP could not develop good schools in this area. There is also inflation. The Aam Aadmi Party is doing the politics of development, we want to work on improving the education and health sector in Gujarat.

High Court is monitoring the investigation
The Supreme Court had asked the Gujarat High Court to oversee the probe and fix accountability, and Amritiya is confident that the process will go smoothly. It is not that the tragedy is not an issue but people in Morbi do not see it as an election issue. While the BJP and AAP are focusing on issues such as roads, development and water for irrigation, the Congress is hoping to make the bridge collapse an election issue.

People of Morbi trust me: Amritiya
Amritiya, who has represented Morbi five times, says that the development of roads is his priority. There are four roadways to reach Morbi, we need to improve these roads and also work on bringing water to the area. Taking her point further, Amritiya says, ‘The controversial video of AAP leader Satyendar Jain getting a massage in Tihar Jail is not an issue in Morbi. I don’t talk about the opposition, I only talk about my work and that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The people of Morbi trust me and I do not count you in the fight.

Amritiya claims – will win the election for the sixth time
Although AAP’s Ransariya claims on the Satyendra Jain case that the BJP is trying to make it a national issue for political gains, but it will not be an issue here. Amritiya claims that he will win the election for the sixth time. He said, ‘Congress candidates have faced defeat in front of me six times. Luck is not going to support him this time too. The Congress did not have any candidate to field, that’s why they have fielded Jayantibhai Patel again.

Tags: assembly elections, BJP, Gujarat Assembly Elections, Morbi Bridge

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