2 Christian Candidates In A First In This Tribal-Reserved Seat In Gujarat

Ndtv | 1 month ago | 29-11-2022 | 11:47 am

2 Christian Candidates In A First In This Tribal-Reserved Seat In Gujarat

Gujarat polls: The Vyara seat goes to polls in the first phase on December 1. (File)Ahmedabad: The Vyara Assembly seat, which gave Gujarat its first tribal chief minister Amarsinh Chaudhary, will for the first time see a contest between two Christian candidates fielded by the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress.While the Congress has given the ticket to its sitting MLA Punabhai Gamit from the seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates, the BJP has for the first time fielded a Christian candidate, Mohan Konkani, to take on the four-time legislator.Mr Gamit says Christian voters will again support the Congress, while Mr Konkani claims people will vote for the BJP because of the development carried out by the party's government in the state.Political analysts say the Congress's approach of taking the marginalised sections together has helped it in winning tribal-dominated seats, while the BJP will have to do a rethinking to win in Vyara, considering the social dynamics in this Assembly segment.Christians account for nearly 40,000, or 20 per cent, of the total 2.20 lakh voters in the seat, considered a stronghold of the Congress and located in tribal-dominated Tapi district of south Gujarat.Most of the Christians have converted from the tribal Gamit, Chaudhary, and Konkani communities. The seat goes to polls in the first phase of Gujarat elections on December 1.Congress veteran Amarsinh Chaudhary won this seat four times between 1972 and 1985 and became the state's first -- and so far the only -- tribal chief minister in 1985.Punabhai Gamit first won the by-election from the seat in 2004, necessitated after sitting MLA and Amarsinh Chaudhary's son Tushar Chaudhary won the Lok Sabha election from Mandvi seat.He was then pitted against BJP's Pratap Gamit, whom he defeated in three subsequent elections. In 2017, Mr Gamit defeated BJP's Arvind Chaudhary.For the 2022 election, the BJP has decided for the first time to field a Christian tribal candidate, Mohan Konkani.Sociologist Gaurang Jani told PTI the Congress's success in tribal seats because of its approach to take marginalised communities together appears to have played an important role in the BJP's rethinking of its strategy.The conversion of tribals to Christianity has been going on in the region for a long time, making its social dynamics "complicated," he claimed.In the last seven Assembly elections since 1990, the Congress has won more ST-reserved seats in the state compared to the BJP, except in 1995 and 2002.Asked about the role the Christian factor played in determining his candidacy for the seat, BJP leader Mohan Konkani told PTI there are other factors at play as well.He said it is his dedication to the party since 1995 and his district panchayat membership from 2002 that have also played a significant role, and people from all communities are with him.At the same time, the fact that Christians account for a sizable number of voters in the seat cannot be overlooked, he said.The BJP is also upbeat following its first victory in the tribal-dominated Tapi district panchayat in the February 2021 election, said Mr Konkani, the sitting panchayat member of the BJP."The seat from where I won the district panchayat election as the BJP candidate has 75 per cent Christian voters, and they have supported me overwhelmingly. There is no reason why Christians should not support the BJP, which has remained in power in the state for nearly three decades," Mr Konkani said.People in the region have also witnessed and are influenced by the development carried out by the state's BJP government, he said."Everybody is impressed by the development work carried out in the state's tribal belt including Vyara. Whatever development the region has witnessed is because of the BJP. Vyara did not witness so much development even when it elected a chief minister," he claimed.This time, a total of seven candidates are in the contest from the Vyara seat.Apart from the BJP and Congress candidates, the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) has fielded Sunil Gamit, the Aam Aadmi Party has given its ticket to Bipinchandra Chaudhary, and the Bahujan Samaj Party has fielded Rakesh Gamit.Two independents are also contesting from the seat.Congress candidate Punabhai Gamit asserted that Christians are not likely to vote for the BJP under any circumstances, and the community from the region stands firmly with him and his party. "The Christians are with the Congress. They will never vote for the BJP, even if their local religious leaders appeal to them to do so," he said.There are 88,000 voters from the Gamit community, 67,000 from the Chaudhary community, and 13,000 from the Konkani community. Christians from all three communities account for around 40,000 voters."The Gamit and Chaudhary communities are firm with me. I have taken people from all communities --Hindus, Muslims, and Christians -- together. I converted to Christianity in 1975. I have defeated BJP candidates four times in a row, showing people are not ready to buy into their development claims," he claimed.Sociologist Mr Jani said Christian converts in the region remain wary of the BJP because of the party's attitude toward them and the discourse of "ghar wapsi". To penetrate this Congress stronghold requires different thinking, based on the very different social dynamics at play here, he said."When talking about Vyara, the presence of the Christian community can be felt in every single village. Not every member of a family is necessarily a Christian. A father can be a Hindu tribal and his son a Christian convert. This makes the social dynamics complicated. Therefore, a party cannot address the head of the household to elicit votes of all the family members," Mr Jani said.Making inroads in this mixed family structure requires different thinking, he said.At the same time, the Congress's approach of keeping the marginalised sections together helped it gain more seats in the tribal areas in 2017 when compared to the BJP, he said."This might have made the BJP think differently by taking into account the local phenomenon. The area has seen the influence of Christianity since the very beginning, and nearly every village has a church which also serves as a meeting point on Sundays," he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"The BJP has already tapped into the anti-Muslim feelings of Hindu voters, but as far as tribals are concerned, one's tribal status does not go away even when he/she converts to Christianity. One can address him/her with two identities--tribal and Christian, influencing both the communities," he said.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayJagan Reddy's Sister Arrested After Supporters, KCR Party Workers Clash

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Delhi University Students Detained Amid Clashes Over BBC Series On PM Modi: 10 Points
Ndtv | 16 hours ago | 27-01-2023 | 06:53 pm
Ndtv
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New Delhi: Delhi University's Arts Faculty campus saw police action as students sought to screen a BBC documentary on PM Narendra Modi even as the government has imposed restrictions. Here is the story as it unfolded, in 10 key factsStudents at Delhi University were dragged away by police from the campus on Friday evening as they sought to publicly screen a controversial BBC documentary series about PM Narendra Modi and the BJP's alleged communal politics. This came just two days after similar scenes were witnessed at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi. Student activists said the police acted violently even though the intention was for students to peacefully watch the documentary. They also alleged that "Sanghi goons" — reference to members of the BJP's mentor body RSS and its wings — attacked those gathered for the event too. Are police in-charge Sagar Singh Kalsi said 24 students were detained and the situation is now "back to normal".University officials said no permission was sought for a public screening and there were also orders issued by the district administration against any mass gathering. DU Chief Proctor Rajni Abbi, who called the cops, saw justification in the police action. "Yes, students have been detained. Have they taken permission? When police have imposed Section 144, why have they collected?" she said. She alleged that the students were "not even interested" in showing the documentary. "They just want disruptive things."The two-part series, which references the 2002 Gujarat riots and recent incidents of communal violence, has been termed by the central government as false and motivated propaganda. The government has used emergency powers to force social media outlets such as YouTube and Twitter to take it down.Ahead of screening that was planned for 5.30 pm, large number of students — led by those belonging to Left parties and other Opposition parties — gathered at DU Arts Faculty area and protested imposition of Section 144 in the area to stop the screening.Clashes erupted as right-wing student groups allegedly came to protest against the event. Those wanting the screening raised slogans of "Delhi police, go back", and the police began detaining some people who were allegedly "not students, but anti-social elements"."We were about to start the screening when Sanghi goons attacked us and started dragging those gathered for it. Police closed the gates and did not allow people to enter for the event," said a student who had come for the screening from the DU-affiliated Hindu College.The DU official said holding a mass screening was the point of contention. "They can watch it at their homes; who's stopping them?" said Chief Proctor Rajni Abbi, adding that she suspected they were outsiders. About police violently dragging students, she said, "Why are they here, first of all? [The screening] is not allowed here."The screening attempt was at the latest of such protests events held across the country, including in Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram. Opposition parties have slammed the BJP for trying to ban the documentary altogether. Student groups have led the protests.The BBC has defended the series as a “rigorously researched” piece of journalism that wants to highlight important issues.Post a comment

Delhi University Students Detained Amid Clashes Over BBC Series On PM Modi: 10 Points
National security not fragile: Shashi Tharoor
Times of India | 2 days ago | 26-01-2023 | 11:19 am
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: MP Shashi Tharoor disowned Anil Antony’s, senior Congress leader AK Antony’s son, claims that the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarat riots will affect the sovereignty and national security of the country.“Our national security is not so fragile that a documentary made by the BBC would affect our security or sovereignty. Hence the argument that it would affect India’s sovereignty was not convincing,” said Tharoor, while reacting to the statement made by Anil Antony on the screening of the BBC documentary.On Antony resigning from the posts he held in Congress, Tharoor said that he hadn’t spoken to Antony. “I think he can speak for himself,” said Tharoor.Pointing out that all controversies over the BBC documentary was unnecessary, Tharoor said, “Had the government not gone over the top in condemning the documentary, thereby drawing attention to something that wasn’t otherwise available in India, there wouldn’t have been all these noises.”He flayed the Centre’s attempts to remove all links from social media platforms. “By not allowing the people to watch what they want goes against the tenets of democracy. Freedom of expression is a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this country. However, when a foreign organization talks about the Prime Minister or the country, it can be construed differently,” he added.“It is not proper for a government to ban the documentary. We cannot stand with that decision. Censorship is not part of our democracy and our Constitution. What the British diplomats reported about the violence that happened in Gujarat in 2002 has now been made as a documentary. It has to be remembered that our diplomats have also reported about the violence that had happened in Britain,” said Tharoor.“The Gujarat riots happened two decades ago, and it is a matter the Supreme Court has ruled on. The tragedy is something that all Indians, including Muslims, feel that we should now put behind us,” said Tharoor.

National security not fragile: Shashi Tharoor
NSUI screens BBC documentary in Panjab University, stopped midway
Times of India | 2 days ago | 26-01-2023 | 10:23 am
Times of India
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CHANDIGARH: Tension gripped the Panjab University (PU) when National Students Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress, screened the controversial BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots titled ‘Modi: The India Question’ on Wednesday evening, prompting the authorities to stop it midway with Chandigarh Police arriving on the campus.“We started playing the documentary at Student Centre. We were midway through it when campus security and their chief forced us to stop the screening,” Sachin Galav, NSUI Chandigarh president and Congress councillor, told TOI. He said the screening was started at 5pm and the 1-hour-long documentary was played for about half an hour. “India is a democratic country and not a dictatorship. If movies in favour of Modi and his government can be played anywhere in the country, why can’t anything critical of him be screened?”Vikram Singh, chief of university security, PU, said, “Some student leaders tried to play the banned documentary. When informed, we immediately reached there and stopped the screening.” He said the student wing used a portable speaker, projector and a screen and when warned of seizing the equipment, the students stopped the screening. Professor Jagtar Singh, dean student welfare, PU, said, “NSUI members had no permission for screening anything on the campus. So, the security was informed.” A purported video of the incident accessed by TOI showed the NSUI president and the security arguing over “permission” for the screening.

NSUI screens BBC documentary in Panjab University, stopped midway
Once Jodo Yatra ends, Rahul to focus on Karnataka
Times of India | 2 days ago | 26-01-2023 | 08:13 am
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2 days ago | 26-01-2023 | 08:13 am

Bengaluru: Former All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Rahul Gandhi is likely to shift his attention to assembly elections in Karnataka and will campaign extensively after his Bharat Jodo Yatra ends in Srinagar on Monday (January 30). The Wayanad MP did not spend much time campaigning during the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh because of the Kanyakumari to Srinagar walkathon, but he is expected to be more active in the run up to assembly elections in Karnataka. “We have requested Rahul to lead the campaign during the last leg of the ongoing Prajadhwani Yatra, and he has agreed,” said Saleem Ahmed, Karnataka Congress working president. “He will visit Karnataka at least thrice a month until the campaign ends.” BJP has been going all out on the campaigning front, with national leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister, and party president JP Nadda visiting the state almost every other week and holding rallies. Congress believes Rahul’s campaign will counter that effect to some extent and bolster its poll prospects. AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had recently visited the state and addressed a women’s convention. The Karnataka Congress unit has already lined up several activities to prepare the ground for Rahul’s arrival. It is aiming to complete the process to select candidates before Rahul’s arrival. The state unit received some 1,400 applications for tickets and the state election committee (PEC) will meet on February 3 to prepare the first list of potential candidates. This list will be referred to the screening committee, which will prepare a shortlist and send it to the central election committee (CEC), which will take the final call on candidates. KPCC is expected to constitute the screening committee by the end of this month, and the entire process could be completed by mid-February. “The plan is to complete the preliminary process and have clarity on candidates before Rahul begins to campaign,” said R Dhruvanarayan, KPCC working president. Rahul is also likely to make more poll promises during his campaign. When Priyanka visited, she announced a poll promise of monthly cash assistance for homemakers. Before that, state Congress president DK Shivakumar and legislature party leader Siddaramaiah will lead separate bus yatras from February 3 as a follow-up to the ongoing Prajadhwani Yatra. Siddaramaiah will launch his yatra from Basavakalyan in Bidar and cover north Karnataka, while Shivakumar will begin his campaign from Kurudumale Ganapathi Temple in Kolar and cover south Karnataka.

Once Jodo Yatra ends, Rahul to focus on Karnataka