Press Trust of india

Guj SIT filed affidavit naming Ahmed Patel at behest of BJP for political gains: Congress

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Ahmedabad: The Congress in Gujarat on Saturday alleged the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing a case against activist Teesta Setalvad filed an affidavit naming party leader late Ahmed Patel at the behest of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for political gains ahead of the assembly polls.

Gujarat Congress president Jagdish Thakor told reporters that more such affidavits will be filed as the Assembly elections draw close in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

The Congress’ attack comes a day after the Gujarat police’s SIT opposed arrested activist Setalvad’s bail application and claimed in an affidavit before a court that she was part of a “larger conspiracy” hatched by senior Congress leader the late Ahmed Patel to get the state government dismissed after the 2002 riots.

Thakor alleged that BJP was targeting Congress leaders under a “conspiracy” to divert the attention of people in poll-bound Gujarat from its failure to resolve crucial issues.

Earlier in the day, the BJP alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi was the “driving force” behind the “conspiracy” to implicate then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots case in the state.

The ruling party is using affidavits filed by the SIT in a sub-judice matter to gain political mileage, Thakor alleged.

“The Gujarat government and its leadership have failed to address issues affecting the public. With the election approaching, it can see the ground slipping below its feet, and is bringing up such issues as part of a conspiracy to regain power,” he alleged.

He claimed that the BJP has repeatedly used a strategy to defame senior leaders of Congress ahead of Assembly elections but failed to prove anything after returning to power.

“Even after being in power in Gujarat for 27 years, and at Centre for eight years, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister in their speeches before every election target Congress leaders with baseless allegations. Even after regaining power, they have not proved a single allegation,” Thakor said while condemning the “diversion tactics” of BJP.

He alleged that the BJP has failed to rein in inflation and provide relief to people hit by heavy rains in Gujarat.

“Instead of providing a solution to issues affecting the public such as heavy rainfall and inflation and being answerable to its failure, the BJP is holding a press conference in 2022 on an issue dating back to 2002,” he said.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra has claimed that Ahmed Patel, who was Sonia Gandhi’s political adviser, was just a medium through which she acted to destabilise the BJP government in Gujarat and damage the then CM Narendra Modi’s political career.

Thakor said the SIT probing the role of Setalvad and two others is being misused by the ruling BJP to reap political gains.

“As the Gujarat Assembly elections are nearing, more such affidavits will be filed by the SIT at the behest of the ruling party, and such issues will take the centrestage,” he said.

Last month, a day after the Supreme Court upheld the clean chit given to then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in Gujarat riots case, state police arrested Setalvad.

She, along with ex-DGP R B Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, was booked under IPC sections 468 (forgery) and 194 (giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction for capital offence) among other offences.

Hitting back at Thakor, Gujarat government spokesperson and minister Jitu Vaghani said whatever Congress had done was “shameful.”

“The Congress has only tried to mislead the people and instigate peace-loving people of Gujarat in the name of religion for communal riots. The proof is before us all,” Vaghani said.

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