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BJP faces unlikely enemy in Amreli

March 23, 2004 18:15 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party is facing an unlikely enemy in Gujarat.

S P Swami of the Swaminarayan sect, which has a large following, has floated the Rashtriya Janmangal Paksh to take on the ruling BJP.

Swami is the adviser of the disputed Swaminarayan Temple at Vadtaal in Amreli district of Saurashtra region. He has expressed his intention to contest the election from the Amreli Lok Sabha seat.

"We are against the BJP's anti-religious policies," Swami told PTI in Ahmedabad.

He said the main reason for his foray into politics is to 'resolve' the controversy regarding the appointment of the head of the Swaminarayan temple at Vadtaal.

"There is a strong wave of resentment against the BJP's anti-religion policies in the state," he claimed. He expressed confidence that he would get ample support of all religious heads as also lakhs of devotees.

Even though the Election Commission has given the required recognition to float a political party, a symbol is yet to be decided, he said.

The sitting BJP Member of Parliament from Amreli Dileep Sanghani has once again been given the ticket to contest, while the main opposition Congress has fielded Virjibhai Thumar who lost to the latter in 1999 by just over 10,000 votes.

The region so far has been a BJP stronghold since 1991 Lok Sabha polls with Sanghani winning consistently for four times.

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