Dhanera (Banaskantha): Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s car was on Friday stoned and windows broken by hostile black-flag waving crowds shouting slogans in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his tour of flood-hit Dhanera town in north Gujarat’s Banaskantha district.
At village after village, in several places, Gandhi faced crowds protesting against him but he chose to continue his tour and said, “I am not scared of such cowardly heckling or crowds shouting slogans for Narendra Modi. Darte woh hain jo satya nahi dekhna chahte, nahi samajhna chahte; hum ye sub darpok koshishisho se darne wale nahi hain. [The people who fear are those who don’t want to see or understand the truth. I’m not afraid.]”
“Aap logon ka dukh-dard sunney key liye aaye, samajney aaye hain, ho sakey jitni madad pahonchane aaye hain, hum en logon se dartey nahi [I came here to listen to your troubles, and bring some aid. We are not scared of these people],” he went on.
Gandhi, who arrived here on a daylong visit to flood-affected regions of north Gujarat, flew down to Dhanera from affected areas in Rajasthan and spoke to people from Manotra village and surrounding areas, before proceeding to the town’s agriculture produce marketing yard to meet the farmers and traders there.
Later, as he reached Lal Chowk in Dhanera he met with crowds showing him black flags and shouting slogans for Prime Minister Modi while protesting against him.
The Congress Vice-President was to address a brief public meeting in Lal Chowk but it had to be cancelled after he was heckled. Police baton-charged the crowd to disperse people and Gandhi left the scene.
Even as his car moved on, people pelted water pouches at his cavalcade. He later proceeded on a visit to the flood-hit villages of Banaskantha district. As he was going to Dhanera helipad, his car was pelted with stones and some window panes were shattered.
Banaskantha and Patan districts are the worst-affected regions in the floods in the state in 70 years. North Gujarat is otherwise a drought-prone region.
More than 270 persons are estimated to have died and 4,50,000 people affected by the floods in the state.
As many as 61 persons have been killed in Banaskantha alone, while seven died due to heavy rains and flood waters following rains in upstream Rajasthan.
The Congress has set up a control room to coordinate relief work in the flood-affected regions.
The party’s nominee for the August 8 Rajya Sabha election, Ahmad Patel, state president Bharatsinh Solanki and party in-charge for Gujarat Ashok Gehlot have visited north Gujarat.
Gandhi was accompanied by Solanki, Gehlot, former state president Arjun Modhwadia and Siddharth Patel.