Rajkot: Jewellers allege ‘harassment’ by surveillance teams of Election Commission

Times of India | 5 days ago | 24-11-2022 | 09:27 am

Rajkot: Jewellers allege ‘harassment’ by surveillance teams of Election Commission

RAJKOT: Jewellers of Rajkot have threatened to boycott the Assembly election and go on an indefinite strike if what they call harassment by the surveillance teams of the Election Commission does not stop. Various associations have submitted memorandums to the district collector and police commissioner highlighting their concerns. According to jewellers, the surveillance teams have cordoned off the entire Soni Bazar and Palace Road and they are checking not only the vehicles but also the purses of customers, traders and workers coming there. Surveillance teams have also been deployed big showrooms on Palace Road and some buildings where many shops are located. Rajkot is famous for jewellery making. Generally, traders from nearby small centres come to Rajkot for making jewellery, buying bullion and repairing of ornaments. They normally exchange bullion and ornaments. For example, a jeweller looking for ornaments of a particular design would come to the market with bullion and order for the ornaments. Workers who make jewellery for various jewellers take bullion form the jewellers and supply ornaments. This entire transaction is run on ‘kaccha chittha’. “But the surveillance teams don’t consider ‘kaccha note’ and they seize the jewellery and ask us to collect it after election by producing relevant documents,’’ said a jeweller. Because of this “harassment”, traders from nearby small centres have stopped coming to Rajkot now, he claimed. Mayur Adesara, secretory of Gems and Jewellery Association of Rajkot, said: “The teams check our men on the public road. We do not know who else watches during this checking. Checking on the public road exposes our men to danger. Who will be responsible if that worker is attacked with the intention of robbery?” According to jewellers, this is a marriage season and customers come to the market with huge cash but they are being harassed and asked to produce documents and cash amount up to Rs 2 lakh to 3 lakh is being seized. The jewellers say they do not have any problem if police intercept people on specific information. Association president Divyesh Patadiya said, “We have given an ultimatum and if the situation continues, we will be forced to close down the market and boycott the election.” There are about 700 retail and wholesale shops in Soni Bazar and over 1,000 other shops of workers who take the job of ornament making.

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‘Do you have 100 heads like Ravan … ‘: Mallikarjun Kharge takes a jibe at PM Modi; BJP hits back
Times of India | 1 hour ago | 29-11-2022 | 04:12 pm
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‘Do you have 100 heads like Ravan … ‘: Mallikarjun Kharge takes a jibe at PM Modi; BJP hits back
Gujarat suffered under Cong’s divide and rule policy, says PM Modi
The Indian Express | 5 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 11:50 am
The Indian Express
5 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 11:50 am

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Gujarat suffered under Cong’s divide and rule policy, says PM Modi
2 Christian Candidates In A First In This Tribal-Reserved Seat In Gujarat
Ndtv | 5 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 11:47 am
Ndtv
5 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 11:47 am

Gujarat polls: The Vyara seat goes to polls in the first phase on December 1. 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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. 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2 Christian Candidates In A First In This Tribal-Reserved Seat In Gujarat
‘More criminal cases and wealth, less education and young blood’
Times of India | 7 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 09:29 am
Times of India
7 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 09:29 am

This election, the proportion of candidates who have criminal cases against them is up – in fact it’s the highest in the three Gujarat assembly polls at 20. 3%. This figure was 14% and 20% in 2017 and 2012, respectively. Moreover, this is also the wealthiest of the three elections, with the average value of candidates’ assets being Rs 3. 58 crore, up 64% from Rs 2. 22 crore in the 2017 poll. The ‘Rs 100 crore club’ of candidates has nine members this year, compared to seven in the last election. There has been no great enhancement in the educational profiles or youthfulness of candidates from the last assembly election, according to the analysis of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) based on the sworn affidavits of the 1,621 candidates in the fray for the Gujarat assembly election. Even in 2022, 35% of candidates are older than 50 years of age and 69% have a highest qualification of Class 12, according to the analysis. There has been a slight improvement in the representation of women, with 138 candidates or 8. 5% of total candidates, up from 6. 7% in 2017. Partywise, BJP has fielded 17 women candidates, the Congress 13 and AAP 7. The majority of women candidates are fighting as independents. The report states that 85% of BJP candidates are crorepatis, against 79% of Congress and 37. 5% of AAP candidates. These figures for the three parties in 2017 were 81%, 73% and 39%, respectively. Overall, 28% of candidates this election are crorepatis, a 23% increase from 2017. ‘For the major parties contesting Phase II, between 19% and 33 % of candidates given tickets have declared criminal cases against themselves. The Supreme Court had specifically instructed parties to provide reasons for selection. According to these guidelines, the reasons have to be with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate. During the assembly poll for six states held in 2022, it was observed that parties stated baseless reasons like popularity of the person, good social work, cases are politically motivated etc. ,’ the note from ADR said. Candidates with high income into farming, bizAmong the 1,621 candidates, Rivaba Jadeja declared the highest income of Rs 18.74cr in her I-T returns, followed by Rs 5.61cr by Pabubha Manek and Rs 4.94cr by Balvantsinh Rajput. While Jadeja showed business, rentals and interest as his sources of income in the affidavit, for Manek it was business and rentals, and for Rajput it was business, farming and rentals. The BJP’s Jagdish Vishwakarma from Nikol has shown interest and salary along with business, Shailesh Mehta has shown petrol pump and partnership firm, while Amit Thaker has shown advisor fee and trust salary as their sources of income. Babubhai Patel, the BJP candidate from Daskroi, has mentioned the salary drawn as an MLA as his only income. One in five candidates faces criminal caseOut of 1,621 candidates in the fray in the upcoming poll, 330 or 20.3% have criminal cases against them. Of these, 192 or 11.8% have serious criminal charges against them. Therefore, one in every five candidates faces criminal cases. Among the three major parties, 17.5% of BJP candidates, 33% of Congress and 34% of AAP candidates have cases against them. The percentage of candidates from BJP, Congress and AAP with serious cases against them is 14%, 16% and 24% respectively. To put things in perspective, the 2017 election had 14% and 8% of candidates with criminal and serious criminal cases against them. In 2012, 20% of candidates faced criminal charges and 9% faced serious criminal charges. Average value of BJP candidates’ assets up by 84%Party-wise analysis of the average value of assets declared by candidates indicates that BJP declared Rs 16.6 crore in assets per candidate on average, compared to Rs 9 crore in 2017. It indicates a rise of 84% in the average value of assets in five years. The average value of AAP candidates’ assets increased by 95% from Rs 1.9 crore in 2017 to Rs 3.7 crore in 2022. On the other hand, Congress registered a dip in the average asset value of its candidates — from Rs 9.1 crore in 2017, it fell to Rs 8 crore, a drop of 12%. Overall, the average value of assets of poll contestants increased by 64% — from Rs 2.2 crore in 2017 to Rs 3.6 crore in 2022.

‘More criminal cases and wealth, less education and young blood’
Gujarat elections: Village of sex workers untouched by poll fever
Times of India | 8 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 09:24 am
Times of India
8 hours ago | 29-11-2022 | 09:24 am

When the Election Commission announced the assembly election in Gujarat on November 3, it said an awareness drive would be launched in red light areas. However, a village named Vadiya in Tharad taluka of Banaskantha, which has earned notoriety as a village of sex workers, remains untouched by the EC officers as well as workers of political parties. Former minister and BJP candidate Shanker Chaudhary is contesting against Congress MLA Gulabsinh Rajput from the Tharad seat. Vadiya has a population of about 700, with 50 households traditionally dependent on the flesh trade. There have been several failed attempts by social workers to eradicate the practice here. A villager named Dinesh Sarania, 30, said this apathy is not unique to this election. “We have been ignored during earlier polls too. We hear loudspeakers, drums and sloganeering in nearby villages, but the candidates do notcome to our village,” he said adding that the village’s reputation keeps them away. Listing some issues that villagers face, Sarania said their houses are not registered in their names, so they are deprived of benefits of several welfare schemes. “We did not have basic facilities like roads or a health centre in our village. No one dares address our issues,” said Sarania, who did not reveal what he does for a living. A teacher at the village said the school does not have rooms and students study in the open. He added that the real problem is the taboo which keeps government officials and basic facilities away from Vadiya. “Sometimes people who want to approach the sex workers pose as officials, asking for directions to the village from the Tharad-Dhanera highway. Genuine government officials, public functionaries or political leaders never visit this place,” said the teacher. Vadiya and Vadgamda villages are administered by a group panchayat. Sarpanch Jagdish Asal said he visited Vadiya a few days ago to ensure everyone has a voter ID card. “The only problem is that the villagers have to go to Vadgamda to vote,” said Asal. District collector Anand Patel was unavailable for his comment despite several attempts.

Gujarat elections: Village of sex workers untouched by poll fever