Sushil Kumar Modi slams Alpesh Thakor over attacks on migrant workers

Updated: Nov 14, 2018, 13:43 IST | PTI

Apart from other attractions, a viewing gallery has been created at a height of 135 metres inside the statue to enable tourists to have a view of the dam and nearby mountain ranges

Sushil Kumar Modi
Sushil Kumar Modi

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi Tuesday slammed Gujarat Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor on the issue of recent attacks on Hindi speaking migrants in the state, saying that people of the country have the right to work in whichever state they want.

He also said the OBC leader (Thakor) does not have the courage to visit Bihar after attacks on migrants in Gujarat. Modi was referring to the exodus of Hindi-speaking migrant workers from Gujarat last month after some of them were attacked allegedly by members of Kshatriya Thakor Sena, an outfit led by Alpesh Thakor.

However, Thakor hit back at Modi saying he was trying to divide the society by indulging in "dirty politics" to get votes. Thakor, who represents Radhanpur seat, was appointed by the Congress as the co-incharge of Bihar in August. Speaking to reporters during his visit to the recently-unveiled Statue of Unity dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel here, Modi said Thakor's attempts to improve his image would go in vain.

"It's too late for him to improve his image. The way he treated the Hindi-speaking migrants in Gujarat, he does not have the courage to come to Bihar," Modi said. "People of this country have the right to work in any state they want. Though I believe that locals should get a preference in jobs, ultimately a citizen is free to work anywhere in this country," he said.

He added that just like a Gujarati community is spread across the world, people from Bihar have settled in Gujarat, Maharashtra and other states. Reacting to Modi's charge, Thakor claimed that the BJP leader was trying to divide the people for electoral gains. "Modi is doing dirty politics to get votes. He is trying to break the unity. Migrant workers of Gujarat are not my enemies, they are my brothers. I am fighting for their rights. But, the BJP leader is projecting me as their enemy, which is not true," said Thakor.

Parts of Gujarat witnessed violence against Hindi-speaking migrants after a labourer from Bihar was arrested for allegedly raping a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district in September last week. During the week-long unrest, mostly in north and central Gujarat, the perpetrators had also targeted some factories, alleging that industries prefer giving jobs to migrants instead of locals.

Meanwhile, during his visit to the Statue of Unity, Modi got stuck in the elevator for about a minute due to a technical snag, officials said. Modi along with Gujarat Energy minister Saurabh Patel got stuck inside the one of the two elevators which take tourists to the viewing gallery situated at a height of 135 meters inside the 182-meter tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel near Kevadia in Narmada district.

According to R G Kanungo, Superintending Engineer, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNL), the elevator got stuck for a while due to overcrowding. The issue was resolved after some persons, mostly media personnel and policemen, were asked to alight, he said. "It was a minor technical fault. It can happen anywhere. Important thing is that thousands of tourists are coming here and appreciate this imposing structure," Modi told reporters.

The 182-meter tall statue, touted as the tallest in the world and built near the Sardar Sarovar Dam, was dedicated to the nation on October 31 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from other attractions, a viewing gallery has been created at a height of 135 metres inside the statue to enable tourists to have a view of the dam and nearby mountain ranges.

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