AAP firebrand Gopal Italia heats up Katargam as he guns for BJP over ‘freebies vs welfare’ | Political Pulse News,The Indian Express
Campaigning hard in his Katargam seat, Gujarat AAP chief and poll debutant Gopal Italia goes all out against BJP
“This is a rehearsal…we are practising,” Italia tells the gathering as people cheer. He shows them an orange mobile pouch with a lotus symbol on it. “Look at this mobile pouch carefully, the BJP is giving this toy free.”
Italia then holds up a hair band with with a lotus symbol. “This is for our daughters, from the BJP – free. And we are promising free education for our daughters,” he says. He also shows a lapel pin marked with a lotus. “This toy is also being distributed free by Bhajapa (BJP) among all houses of Katargam. Now you have to decide. They give mobile covers free and we give health and education free. They give free sarees… but why don’t they provide free schooling to our daughters? And if someone has a vice then they give that vice free too,” he alleges, telling the rally: “They have free toys, we have free schools, healthcare and they ask us where will we get the money from if we give everything free.”
Italia then goes on to allege how “a BJP legislator’s associate got a Rs 11 lakh contract to manage Lake Garden of Katargam”. “The garden was closed for the past year for renovation. The SMC (the BJP-ruled Surat Municipal Corporation) spent Rs 10 crore from our tax money, our blood and sweat money, to give away the garden to a private company for Rs 11 lakh for 20 years. Who knows if we will even live for that many years? The company set up shops inside the garden and is making Rs 20 lakh per month from them. When we oppose Vinubhai (Vinod Moradiya, the BJP candidate from Katargam), his men abuse us.”
“Mahaul aa loko nu chhe, pan jeetshe BJP (The atmosphere is theirs (AAP) but BJP will win),” says Mahesh Vyas after his eyes met Italia’s for a few seconds during his door-to-door campaigning. Vyas has been running a cold drink shop at a shopping complex at Hari Darshan no Khado in Singhanpore for the last 13 years. “This is what I think. Who will give votes to Hindu virodhi?” he says, referring to some viral videos of Italia where he purportedly made remarks against temples and spiritual leaders.
A firebrand leader known for his oratorical skills, Italia is making his electoral debut in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections, with the Katargam seat, dominated by Patidars, all set to witness a fierce three-cornered fight involving him, Moradiya, the outgoing urban development and urban housing minister, and the principal Opposition Congress’s candidate Kalpesh Variya. While Italia and Moradiya are Patidars, Variya belongs to the Prajapati community (OBC).