Skip to main content

How Gujarat's saffron brigade targeted interior village in Vadgam, battleground of state's independent Dalit face

By Tanushree Gangopadhyay
Is the saffron brigade in a state of turmoil at the thought of losing at the hands of Gujarat's Dalit face, Jignesh Mevani, fighting from Vadgam, a North Gujarat constituency, as independent supported by Congress? Perturbed by this scenario, they appeared to have targeted an interior village of the constituency, Chhaniyana.
Deep down in this remote village of Banaskantha district, BJP candidate Vijay Chakravarty ruffled his sleeves and managed to suspend polling at the two booths 112 and 113 for five hours from 12 noon.
On a complaint Mevani had got ink marks put close to the election symbol adjacent to his name on the EVM, Chakravarty he and his agent Rakesh Vagmar alleged thst the rival candidate had tampered with the machine. He demanded that the polls be stalled and repoll be ordered.
They refused to listen to polling officials, who were compelled to clean the machine to continue the polling. Presiding Officer Bhuvan Sadhu, exasperated by the protesting BJP, said that 744 votes out of 1,920 had already been cast. Over 100 voters were in the queue to cast their votes.
"How can we allow the polling, as most villagers are illiterate. They will get influenced to vote for Mevani after seeing the ink marks," thundered Vagmer. "We want two new machines and the polls can certainly be held tomorrow. We have given applications to the Presiding Officer."
Sadhu was anguished at such behaviour saying that "even as the voters are keen to continue, they are shouting at me. It is not my fault, the Election Commission has to take the decision." Polling was restarted after Mevani came and insisted on continuing. Vagmere, Chakravarty and several others refused to allow any polling.
Returning Officer DK Hadiyol, who rushed, in could not handle the situation, as they continued to argue and created a din. "I am in no position to stall the polling. The Election Commission (EC) is the decision making authority."
EC ordered a repoll, but the whole episode suggested BJP frustration.
A scheduled caste constituency, Vadgam has a unique demographic profile. It has mainly Chowdhary, Dalit and Muslim communities. It is a potato bowl, say farmers. "We also grow wheat, groundnut and several other vegetables. It is an important point for Banas dairy. Our village is an important automobile centre. We drive auto rickshaws", said a passerby.
"This has been a Congress bastion. My father Ashok Dabhi was an MLA from the Congress party soon after emergency", recalled Pradeep Dabhi. He runs two schools in the village, but lives in Palanpur, not very far away. Ironically, Haribhai Chowdhary, BJP MP from Banaskantha, belongs to this village.
"Jignesh's popularity has irked the BJP, hence they gave created this problem. They have needed some excuse to slurr him, hence they got someone to tamper with the EVM illegally", one of the women who squatted since 12 noon merely to cast their vote amidst the melee said. "We have come from long distance merely to exercise our franchise."
"Look at their audacity, they illegally photographed the EVM with the ink mark and posted it on WhatsApp", complained a Mevani supporter. "However ,this unruliness will certainly be overruled as it is illegal and very innocuous."
Mevani and his supporters in Vadgam are upbeat. They are confident of his victory. Habib Khan, tractor owner, said: "All the 25 villages I visited today gave Mevani the top. There are 2.60 lakh voters in 145 villages in the constituency. With 70 per cent voting we are sure to win."
Rojasana, Chhapia, Magarwada, Vadgam and several other villages had a heavy turn out. Students returned to Rojasana from Ahmedabad to vote.

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Stop harassment, release Kashmir rights defender Khurram Parvez: Global NGO

By Our Representative  Ahead of his hearing on January 21, 2022, CIVICUS , a global civil society alliance with more than 10,000 members worldwide, has called upon the Government of India to “immediately and unconditionally” release human rights defender Khurram Parvez. “The judicial harassment he is facing highlights the repressive environment for activists and critics in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir”, it said in a statement.