PUCL, November 2003

PUCL concerned that BJP would incite hatred against the minorities during Rajesthan elections

PUCL -Rajasthan
49, Vivek Nagar, Station Road, Jaipur-302006
phone no: 0141-2206139, 2706483; fax: 2710170, 2706493
e.mail: kavisriv@yahoo.com; pkshri20022002@yahoo.co.in

5th November, 2003

Sh. JM Lyngdoh,
Chief Election Commission,
Nirvachan Sadan, N.Delhi

Dear Sir,

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan is extremely concerned regarding the manner in which the Bharatiya Janata Party is planning to campaign in all the 36 constituencies of Southern Rajasthan. ( Udaipur, Dungarpur, Chittorgarh, Banswara, Sirohi districts ) They have made it clear in the press statements issued by them after a meeting on the 2nd of November, 2003 organised in Udaipur where the Gujarat State BJP leaders had participated, that the responsibility and the campaign strategy of the 36 constituencies of southern Rajasthan will be handed over to the Saurashtra and Kutch units of the BJP. It is clear that the campaign has been taken over completely by the BJP Gujarat units.

The PUCL has apprehensions that this campaign of the BJP would incite hatred against the minorities and disturb communal peace. Given the method employed in Gujarat of communal propoganda before and during the Gujarat elections we have apprehensions that the tension caused during the campaign may cause irreversible change of relationships between the tribals and the minorities in the region. The campaign of southern Rajasthan may have a spill over in other parts of the State too.

The meeting held in Udaipur was chaired by Senior Rajasthan BJP leader, Gulab Singh Kataria. The other Rajasthan leaders present were party executive committee member Kiran Maheshwari, former MLA Mahavir Bhagora, present MLA Chunni Lal Garasia, former speaker of the State Assembly Shanti Lal Chaplot, Udaipur rural president Hari Singh Chauhan and the BJP Yuva morcha President of Udaipur district Chandra Gupta Singh. The leaders from Gujarat who had participated included Dr. Hitesh Jani State Secretary and leaders from the BJP districts units bordering Rajasthan-Gujarat like the Sabar Kantha MP Jai Singh Chauhan, Ranjit Singh Chawra- the MLA from Himmat Nagar and former small Industries minister, MLA Parman Pathak along with Sabar Kantha, Surendra Nagar, Bhavnagar, Amreli and Rajkot district unit Presidents.

It was declared that of the 36 constituencies 19 would be handled by the Saurastra BJP units and 5 would be handled by Sabarkantha, 4 by Banaskantha, 4 by Mehsana, and 2 each by Patan and Kutch district units. The responsibility for the campaign of the 10 Udaipur constituencies are as follows: Udaipur city was taken by Rajokt city BJP unit, Lasadiya constituency was taken by Amrali, Vallabh nagar by Bhavnagar city BJP unit, Salumbar and Sarada constituencies by Bhavnagar district unit and the other five by Sabar kantha and Banas Kantha.

The detailed planning that followed consisted of the manner in which surveys will be carried out by the Gujarati BJP workers in order to identify the localities where the position of the BJP is weak. The Gujarat BJP State secretary also stated that they had formed monitoring committees of district BJP presidents and of MPs and MLAs from Gujarat for each consitutency.About 150 –200 worker from Gujarat will be campaigning in each consitutency. They also planned the public meetings of the leaders of Gujarat BJP who will be addressing the meetings. Gujarat CM Narendra Modi will be the star campaigner in Southern Gujarat apart from travelling to other parts of Rajasthan.

Another issue that got discussed was the manner in which migrant workes of Southern Rajasthan districts will be brought to their polling station for casting their votes. Five thousand workers from Rajsamand are presently working on big farms in Mehsana district of Rajasthan. It was planned how the BJP party would get its rich supporters in Gujarat to pay for the travel of these migrant workers to their home districts. Some planning was also done as to how to get workers of Sirohi, Pali and Dungarpur districts.

We demand strict monitoring by the election commission and declare the entire area as extremely sensitive. We hope that all the returning officers would play an important role in implementing the code of conduct issued by the CEC and taking bold action wherever required. Regarding parties bringing in migrant workers to the polling stations it would be clearly in contravention of the Election code of conduct.

We hope you will take cognisance of this and inform us of whatever decision that you take.

With regards,

Prem Krishan Sharma, President
Kavita Srivastava, General Secretary


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