Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel today blamed the Congress for the attacks on Hindi-speaking migrants in his state and claimed that police and people have managed to foil the opposition party's attempts to create an unrest.
Several districts in the northern part of Gujarat were rocked by violence after a labourer from Bihar was arrested on the charge of raping a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district on September 28.
The violence led to the exodus of thousands of migrants from Gujarat resulting in manpower problems at several industries there.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai today, Mr Patel said a caste-based outfit headed by a Gujarat Congress MLA was responsible for the violence against the migrants.
The Gujarat BJP has, on several occasions, blamed Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor and his outfit Kshatriya Thakor Sena for the violence. BJP leaders have, earlier, also pointed out that several FIRs lodged by the Gujarat police in connection with the violence had mentioned Mr Thakor's outfit.
Mr Thakor has consistently refuted the allegations claiming that cases lodged against youth from the Thakor community were false.
"An atmosphere of fear was created due to which many Hindi-speaking workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar left the state (Gujarat). Our government has taken all steps to control the situation. Culprits who sent out threats on social media have been arrested. FIRs have been filed. The police and citizens have foiled the attempt of the Congress to spread unrest," Mr Patel claimed.
"Gujarat is the growth engine of India. The state has the capacity to provide jobs, create employment opportunities not just for Gujaratis but for all citizens of the country," the deputy chief minister said.
Mr Patel said Gujarat believes in national unity and almost five lakh people hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha stay in south Gujarat as do people from Maharashtra and Rajasthan in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and other cities.
"Gujarat believes in national unity. However, some people associated with the Congress created such a situation for political gains. Those who had fled the state are returning as the government has acted strongly against those responsible for the violence," he asserted.
"Industrial development in Gujarat is good due to the Vibrant Gujarat initiative. We provide jobs to locals as well as those from rest of the country. Gujarat is a role model in development," Mr Patel claimed, adding agro-based industries were also flourishing in his state.
He hit out at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for claiming that the Statue of Unity, a memorial to the country's first deputy prime minister Sardar Patel, was "Made in China".
Terming the 182-metre statue a tribute to the immense contribution of Sardar Patel to the nation, the Gujarat deputy chief minister alleged that the Congress was unable to digest the fact that the statue was the tallest in the world since that party had only propagated the deeds of one family.
"The Congress cannot digest the fact that Sardar Patel's statue can be the largest the world since the party has propagated only one family.
"They (Congress) want the world to feel that it is only because of one family that the country got Independence from the British. The Congress sidelined leaders like Patel, (Dr Bhimrao) Ambedkar, (Netaji Subhash Chandra) Bose and others," he alleged.
Speaking about the statue, Mr Patel said it was built by an Indian firm - Larsen and Toubro and engineers, labourers, steel, cement etc all came from within the country.
Parrying questions on the heights of the Statue of Unity and that of Chhatrapati Shivaji being built off the coast of Mumbai, he said, "There cannot be any comparison between the two great personalities. Their contribution is incomparable."
Mr Patel said Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have been invited to attend the inauguration function of the State of Unity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the Sardar Patel memorial on October 31.
The statue, being built at a cost of Rs 2,389 crore, is situated 3.2 km downstream the Narmada dam on the Sadhu Bet islet near Kevadiya town.
The Gujarat deputy chief minister said the memorial will have a museum as well a laser show to depict the life and contribution of Sardar Patel and also a valley of flowers.
It will have the capacity to cater to 15,000 tourists daily, he said.
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