Ahmedabad: Heating up the political battle in Gujarat, suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife Shweta on Friday filed nomination papers as the Congress candidate from Maninagar to take on Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Shweta, flanked by her husband, today started a march along with her followers from Mahatma Gandhi`s Ashram here and reached the district collectorate office where she filed her nomination papers before returning officer PK Jadeja.
Importantly, Shweta filed her nomination papers just minutes before the time scheduled for Modi to file his nomination papers from the central Ahmedabad constituency.
In the 2007 election, Modi had won Maninagar, which falls in Ahmedabad city, by around 75,000 votes defeating Dinsha Patel of the Congress.
Although Shweta is not seen as someone who can defeat Modi in his home turf, her entry into the fray is significant and would ensure that the BJP does not take Modi’s victory as a foregone conclusion.
"It is not a fight between equals, I agree...But I am fully confident that I am going with a true heart to say the truth, so people will support me...I don`t have false promises to make," Shweta told reporters in reply to a question on unequal contest between her and Gujarat CM.
"I have chosen to fight because they had implicated my husband in a very bad way. Me and my family were struggling to overcome it. Then I realised, it was not only my family but many other families who were struggling," Shweta said in reply to why she chose to fight elections.
"Democracy is being destroyed in Gujarat, democracy is not visible in the state," She further said.
"During our fight (against Modi regime) lot of people came to support us from Gujarat and outside the state," she added.
"My fight is for truth, to establish democracy, please support me," she said.
In reply to a question on BJP`s allegations of Sanjiv Bhatt being used as a pawn by the Congress party, Shweta said, "I had decided earlier that I will contest independently (against Modi)... But now the Congress has given me an opportunity so I am fighting on their ticket," she said.
The BJP slammed Congress for giving a ticket to Shweta.
State Congress leaders were unavailable for their comments on why they chose Shweta to take on Modi.
It is also quite interesting to note that Shweta’s decision to contest polls came a day after the wife of slain former BJP minister Haren Pandya, Jagruti, announced that she will contest polls from Ellisbridge constituency of the city on Gujarat Parivartan Party ticket to get "justice for her husband from people`s court". Haren Pandya was assassinated on March 26, 2003.
Shweta’s husband Sanjiv Bhatt had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in which he alleged Modi`s complicity in post-Godhra riots.
However, the suspended IPS officer is himself facing charges of coercing his official driver to make a false statement in connection with the alleged inaction of the Modi government during the 2002 riots in the state.
Bhatt has pleaded that the case against him was fabricated and was a consequence of political vendetta.
He has sought investigation by an independent agency into the allegations.
It was alleged that Bhatt had pressured his driver KD Pant to tell a court that he drove the Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service officer to the Chief Minister’s residence on February 27, 2002.
Bhatt had claimed that in the meeting held at the Chief Minister’s residence that day, Modi told senior administration officials not to act against rioters.
Bhatt, who was the Principal, SRP Training School, was later suspended by the state government. Bhatt was recently charge sheeted for murder in a custodial torture case by a court in Jamnagar district.
(With PTI inputs)