Times of India | 5 days ago | 24-11-2022 | 09:27 am
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.
NEW DELHI: Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday hit out at the Bhartiya Janata Party for relying heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for every election. Addressing a rally in poll-bound Gujarat, Kharge compared PM Modi to 'Ravan', evoking strong reaction from the BJP. Unable to take the heat of Gujarat election, pushed to the fringe, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge l… https://t.co/dtloqR36kc— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) 1669696217000“We see your (Modi’s) face in corporation elections, MLA elections or MP elections, everywhere… Do you have 100 heads like Ravan?” Kharge said at a rally in Ahmedabad. “I’ve been seeing that votes are sought in the name of Modiji, be it municipality elections, corporation elections (or assembly elections) … Ask for vote in the name of the candidate … is Modi going to come and work at the municipality? Is he going to help you in times of your need? Kharge said. “If the BJP believed it was winning in Gujarat, then Modiji, who should have been in Delhi working for the Central government, would not have been forced to tour the alleys of Gujarat, visiting every assembly segment … He is going to every ward of Gujarat. He is going, Shah is going, four-five other chief ministers are going, more than 40 Union ministers are going … Because they got to know people are against them and they can see it," Kharge added. The BJP reacted strongly to the Congress president's remark and slammed Kharge for insulting the Prime Minister. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, "Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge called PM Modi 'Ravan'. Using such language for a PM, for the son of Gujarat isn't appropriate. It is condemnable and shows Congress' mindset. It's an insult not just to PM Modi. It is an insult to every Gujarati, to Gujarat." Kharge is non-Gandhi-Nehru-family chief of Congress & so making such remarks (Modi 100-head Ravan) for limelight. W… https://t.co/005v94c2AU— DeshGujarat (@DeshGujarat) 1669705989000BJP leader Amit Malviya said, “Unable to take the heat of Gujarat election, pushed to the fringe, Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge loses control over his words, calls Prime Minister Narendra Modi “Ravan”. From “Maut ka Saudagar” to “Ravan”, Congress continues to insult Gujarat and it’s son.” Today is the last day of campaigning for the first phase of elections in Gujarat. In the first phase on December 1, voting will be held on 89 out of the total 182 seats. Voting for the remaining 93 seats will be held on December 5 in second phase. Watch 'Do you have 100 heads like Ravana?' Mallikarjun Kharge's latest jibe at PM Narendra Modi
With one day to go before campaigning for the first phase of the Gujarat election ends, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge were among a plethora of political heavyweights to address rallies in the state on Monday.Modi, who held four rallies in the Saurashtra region, said Gujarat had suffered under the Congress’s “divide and rule” policy until the people of the state united against “divisive forces” more than 20 years ago.“Our mantra is peace, unity and harmony. The root cause of Gujarat’s progress is the unity here. On the other hand, Congress’s core ideology is to divide and rule — making people fight among themselves so that its interests are protected. This was Congress’s trick,” Modi said at a rally for the BJP at Palitana in Bhavnagar district. He said that the Congress made Marathas and Gujaratis fight each other before Gujarat became a separate state, and added that after the state was formed, the party caused rifts among various regions, communities and sects.Seeing through the Congress’s “trick”, he said, the people of Gujarat went on to adopt a path of unity and choose the BJP to govern the state. “Thanks to walking the path of unity, Gujarat has been progressing constantly for the past 20 years unlike in the times when bombs used to explode in markets and temples, and when an atmosphere of insecurity prevailed,” the Prime Minister said. The BJP formed a government in Gujarat for the first time in 1995, and Narendra Modi became chief minister of the state in 2001, staying on in the post until he became Prime Minister in 2014.Shah addressed rallies in Mehsana, Aravalli, Ahmedabad and Vadodara, and accused the Congress of “disrupting peace”. He alleged that during Congress rule, the state saw communal riots and curfews. In Ahmedabad, Shah said the BJP converted it from a city of “badshahs and begums” to “Karnavati”. Changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati, after the legendary king Karnadev Solanki, has been on the BJP’s agenda since the 1990s.“They (Congress) orchestrated Hindu-Muslim riots and ensured that there was a curfew for 250 of the 365 days… Bombs used to be found from homes of their Cabinet ministers and 200 people would get stabbed daily in Ahmedabad jail. In 2001, when Narendrabhai became the chief minister, noone had the courage to cast an evil eye on the rath yatra of Lord Jagannath… The Congress had backed rioters always and so in 2002, they (miscreants) made another attempt to create a riot. But they were taught such a lesson that they never lifted their heads again,” Shah said.Also appearing at rallies in the state for the BJP on Monday were Union ministers Smriti Irani and Parshottam Rupala, as well as Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and actor-turned-politician Paresh Rawal.Kejriwal held a townhall with diamond workers in Surat, and also addressed a roadshow in Katargam, which was hit by stone-pelting, according to the AAP. Kejriwal appealed to the people to vote the AAP to power for five years and said that even to those who pelted stones, he would give “free electricity and education to your children”.The AAP, which is fighting on 182 seats, saw two of its candidates withdraw their nominations, of which the Abdasa candidate Vasant Khetani joined BJP on Monday.Addressing a public rally at Behrampura on Monday, Congress president Kharge targeted the BJP for failing to provide jobs in Gujarat and for paper leaks, while also taking a dig at the party for deploying PM Modi, Union ministers and chief ministers at the Gujarat election campaign.“If the BJP believed it was winning in Gujarat, then Modiji, who should have been in Delhi working for the central government, would not have left it to tour the alleys of the state, visiting every Assembly segment of Gujarat. He is going to every ward of Gujarat. He is going, Shah is going, four-five other chief ministers are going, more than 40 Union ministers are going…Because they got to know people are against them and they can see it…I’ve been seeing that votes are sought in the name of Modiji, be it municipality elections, corporation elections (or Assembly elections)…Ask for vote in the name of the candidate…is Modi going to come and work at the municipality? Is he going to help you in times of your need?” Kharge said.Sarma again brought up the Shraddha Walkar murder case on Monday in Ahmedabad. “So, it is my clear allegation that Congress has given the country an ecosystem where such incidents of ‘love jihad’ have become very easy. And people like Aaftab were under the impression that there is still a Congress government… Therefore, I believe that the country needs a law against ‘love jihad’. And it can be possible only in the BJP government under the leadership of Narendra Modi.”
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
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.
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.