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Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the accident site   

Will BJP Spare Oreva Owner Because Of His Close Links To A Central Minister?

The Gujarat assembly elections will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5; while results will be declared on December 8, the Election Commission announced thus ending speculation that it could be put off in view of the Morbi bridge tragedy on October 30.  The tragedy that claimed 135 lives has potential to unravel BJP’s plan to return to power with huge numbers. But then Saurashtra region has always been the party’s underbelly, which is perhaps why there has not been much change in election schedule. Of course, CEC Rajiv Kumar did admit there was some delay in announcing the dates due to the recent tragedy. The term of the 182-member Gujarat assembly ends on February 18, 2023. Meanwhile, police officials went to the office of Oreva Group, contractor for the renovation of Morbi bridge to verify claims made by its nine arrested staff members. There is a lot of public anger as the top management of Oreva — known mainly for making ‘Ajanta’ wall clocks — has not faced any action. That includes its managing director Jaysukhbhai Patel, who had publicly claimed that the bridge will hold up for “at least eight to ten years” when it was reopened, ahead of schedule, on October 26. He is highly networked into the BJP; his daughter is married into a central BJP minister’s family. Is he being spared because he is kadva Patel?