Karamsad agitators end fast after JNNURM assurance from BJP

Anand: Three residents of Karamsad in Anand district, who had launched an indefinite fast two days back seeking inclusion of their town in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), called off the stir today following an assurance from the state BJP.

Karamsad town, which has a population of 40,000, is the native place of country’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Three elderly residents of Karamsad- Bipin Patel, Jagdish Patel and Mahendra Patel- had launched their fast-unto-death on April 30 demanding that their town be included in JNNURM for better infrastructure development.

They withdrew the stir after Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani gave an assurance to them that the state government would make a representation to the Centre about their demand.

“Jagdishbhai and other agitators accepted my request and ended their fast today. The state unit of BJP, as well as our government here, would definitely draw the Centre’sattention to this issue of granting special status to Karamsad,” Vaghani told reporters at the fast venue.

He criticised the Congress saying the opposition party was doing politics over the issue.

In an apparent jibe at quota spearhead Hardik Patel, who had announced that he would visit Karamsad this evening, Vaghani said, “The agitators foiled the plans of those people who wanted to do politics by taking advantage of this movement.”

However, the agitators claimed that they were not given any commitment by Vaghani today.

“Along with these three elderly agitators, many others who sat on a symbolic hunger strike at the venue, today called off their agitation after Vaghani’s visit,” said Rashesh Patel, a leading agitator, and resident of that town.

“However, the state BJP president did not gave any commitment as to when exactly Karamsad will be granted the special status,” he added.

Yesterday, Karamsad observed a ‘bandh’ to press for the demand for inclusion of the town in the JNNURM scheme for getting central grants for infrastructure development in the town and for better maintenance of Sardar Patel Memorial as well as Patel’s house in the town.

The agitation was started two days back by Karamsad Heet-rakshak Samiti, an organisation formed by some elderly residents of the town.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first home minister, was born at Nadiad, but his early schooling took place in Karamsad.

The agitators claimed that Karamsad’s identity as the native place of Sardar Patel would fade away with time if the Centre does not include the town under its JNNRUM scheme.

The demand gained momentum in 2009 when the Congress-led UPA government included Mahatma Gandhi’s place of birth Porbandar as a ‘Mission City’ under JNNRUM.

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