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‘Vote for Congress in Gujarat local polls’: BJP MLA to Patels

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Ahmedabad: Continuing his attack on the Anandiben Patel government in Gujarat, ruling BJP’s legislator and Patel community leader Nalin Kotadiya on Thursday asked Patidars to vote for the opposition Congress in the coming elections to the 323 local bodies.

“I want to request every Patidar to vote for the Congress in the coming municipal elections. Congress leaders have promised to give reservation to Patidars if they are voted to power,” Kotadiya told IANS.

Polling for six municipal corporations in Gujarat would be held on November 22, whereas polling for municipalities and district/taluka panchayats would take place on November 29.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party has used the Patels to serve its political interests and is now seeking to discard them,” he said.

The MLA, a Leuva Patel, claimed the Congress would never do this and instead provide reservation to the Patel community that is 14 percent of the state’s population.

Kotadiya is an MLA from Dhari constituency in Saurashtra region with a sizeable population of Leuva and Kadwa Patels – commonly identified as Patidars though they are perennially at loggerheads.

“There are six ministers, including Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and three ministers of state, and 42 BJP MLAs who are Patels, but the ruling party is not interested in the wellbeing of the community,” said the MLA, elected on a ticket from Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) floated by former chief minister Keshubhai Patel.

State BJP president R.C. Faldu and three general secretaries too were from the Patidar community, Kotadiya added.

The GPP merged with the BJP after the 2012 assembly elections.

About any disciplinary action against him, Kotadiya said, “I am waiting for action against me (by the BJP), but surprisingly it is not forthcoming.”

“I am prepared to resign both from the BJP and as an MLA, if required, said Kotadiya, who on Wednesday – third time in two months – asserted at a public meeting in Surat that “it was time the Patidars taught a lesson to the government”.

“I believe there are leaders in the BJP who want reservation for Patels in jobs and educational institutions. This is probably the reason not even a showcause notice has been issued to me,” Kotadiya said, adding that “justice to Patels was more important for him than crumbs of power”.

“Look at the way Gujarat police are behaving with Hardik Patel (leader of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti) and others. They are deliberately harassing them by slapping sedition and other charges against youngsters. Sedition means attempt to overthrow a duly-elected government, Hardik and his supporters are not doing any of this at all. They are just being framed,” the MLA said, wondering it was happening even as Gujarat minister of state for home was a Patel.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJP sought to distance itself from Nalin Kotadiya’s views.

“The BJP has severed its association with Kotadiya. He was an import from the Gujarat Parivartan Party,” said state BJP general secretary Mansukh Mandavia.

“He is not an active member of the party,” Mandavia, also from the Patel community, said.

(IANS)

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BJP Offers Christians a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Is Religious Pilgrimage A New Playground For The Political Parties?

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community

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In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
  • The political parties (BJP and Congress ) are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage in the coming local elections of the eastern states of India
  • The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively
  • After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022

The Campaign promises during the elections times are quite bizarre nowadays, from “I’ll cut your taxes,” to “vote for me, and I’ll set you free.”

In the coming local elections in the Christian- majority state of Nagaland in India the agenda by the rival BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Congress parties are unique: “Vote for us and get either a free or a heavily subsidized pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

Yes, you read it right. The political parties are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage. The offer has been put up by the Prime Minister Modi- led BJP for the upcoming elections. Even the local partners of the Congress party are treading up the same path.

Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons
Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons

The BJP has not made it clear yet if it is offering the scheme to all of India’s Christians, or only to Christians in the northeast, or only to Christians in Nagaland. The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively. Nagaland is one of smallest states of India, with the population of just under two million people.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

As per the Tourism Ministry figures, around 58,000 Indian tourists came to Israel in 2017, a 47% increase from 2015.

The elections are scheduled for the February 27 in three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura – later this month.

The AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also tweeted on the double standard of the government and lashed out at the government for its discriminatory decision, ending Haj subsidy but allowing subsidies to continue for Hindu pilgrimages like the Mansarovar Yatra.

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community. But recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. The government cited the reason for the subsidy withdrawal as they wanted to utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls. After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022.

Also Read: Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

The scheme is a clear cut example of hypocrisy and opportunism, especially considering the cancellation of Haj subsidies. It seems quite contrary, on the one hand, the government is cutting down the benefit scheme for one section of the society and on the other hand, some other community is been offered the same thing. Such moves bring out the double standards of the political parties just for the sake of vote bank. In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented.

In 2011, Nigeria also did something same as that of India. For many years, their government financed a trip to Mecca for Muslims, leading to some 42,000 Nigerians visiting the country. But with the change in the government, subsidies have been cut considerably and now a 12-day pilgrimage costs around 2000 dollars. The change in stance has resulted in 78% decrease from 2011.