‘Gave green signal for Bet Dwarka demolitions at the cost of losing votes’: BJP’s Dwarka candidate Pabubha Manek

The Indian Express | 3 days ago | 23-11-2022 | 11:50 am

‘Gave green signal for Bet Dwarka demolitions at the cost of losing votes’: BJP’s Dwarka candidate Pabubha Manek

Campaigning for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections in villages of the state’s Devbhumi Dwarka district Tuesday, BJP MLA and candidate Pabubha Manek said he gave permission to the demolition of unauthorised structures on the Bet Dwarka island even while running the risk of losing votes.The district administration of Devbhumi Dwarka, Okha municipality, and other departments of the state government had launched a joint demolition drive against unauthorised encroachments on the island, which is near Okha and believed to be the residence of Lord Krishna, on October 1. Around 100 structures constructed mainly by the minority community, including about 30 religious structures, were demolished during the week-long drive.Addressing a gathering in the Bhatiya village under Kalyanpur taluka, Manek said he has been asked whether the demolition drive would affect his prospects in the Assembly polls. “When the island was surrounded from all sides, officers took the responsibility. I didn’t know that it (encroachment) had grown that much. They (officers) spotted it. They (BJP) told me they will give the election ticket to me only and then asked me how much would it (the demolition) affect me. I said it will affect me a great deal but it was not fair to stop that work just because of that effect. So, I said ‘enu shiv shiv kari nakho’ (demolish them),” Manek said to a round of applause.Manek, who represents the Dwarka constituency in the Gujarat Assembly, said he told party leaders he would manage the impact. “I said we will tell people to work a bit harder… You have to offset that loss,” the BJP leader, who will be contesting his eighth consecutive election, told the gathering ahead of the Gujarat polls on December 1 and December 5.Manek has won the Gujarat Assembly elections in 1990 and 1995, and the 1998 poll as an Independent and as a Congress candidate in 2002. Later, he switched over to the BJP and won the elections in 2007, 2012, and 2017 as its candidate.When asked by The Indian Express whether the demolition drive will impact the Assembly election, Manek said it won’t. “Elections continue round the year. Taluka panchayat, district panchayat, municipality, Assembly, Parliament, and so on. Work of country’s security and development have to go. If one keeps only election in mind, no work can ever be done,” he said.Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have been mentioning the Bet Dwarka demolition in their election speeches, Manek insisted the demolition drive is not even a poll issue. “How can it be an issue? People living there say it is a very good development because even they didn’t know that terrorists were coming from outside and using and good Muslims are saying that that (activity) was the worse thing.”Muslims, who are mainly concentrated on Bet Dwarka, Rupen Harbour, and Okha town and hold around 25000 votes in the Dwarka Assembly constituency, have traditionally, voted for Manek and the BJP leader claimed they will do the same in this election as well. “Muslims have been supporters of the country but some of them were swayed by disputes, disturbance, and communalism promoted by Congress. Then our Prime Minister came (and gave the slogan of) Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas. They felt that something good is happening. So, gradually, they started coming back…” said Manek, adding he has visited the island three to four times after the week-long demolition drive.The BJP leader also urged the gathering to attend the election meeting organised by him on Wednesday, which will be addressed by Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath Wednesday. “Don’t look at Yogi as a Chief Minister. Yogi is a committed ascetic and saint. Getting his darshan is difficult. He will come to Dwarka at 10 am tomorrow… If some of you and those who are in touch with you want to come, you are free to hire a vehicle. We will pay the fares… But come you must… It is punya (virtue) to meet such people,” he said.“He is not afraid of anyone. You must have heard on TV that Pakistan says that Narenrabhai (Modi) is okay but that UP Chief Minister is very dangerous. Pakistan is fearful of him and trembles wondering what will he do to them if he wins. So you come, have darshan of Dwarkadheesh (Lord Krishna), don’t swim in the Gomati but just have suryasnan and then come to the meeting,” he told the gathering.He extended his invitation to the people of the Juvanpar and Ran villages as well.

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"Almighty Started Sweeping His Broom": Arvind Kejriwal At Gujarat Rally