HOME   
   NEWS   
   BUSINESS   
   CRICKET   
   SPORTS   
   MOVIES   
   NET GUIDE   
   SHOPPING   
   BLOGS  
   ASTROLOGY  
   MATCHMAKER  


Search:



The Web

Rediff








Election
Headlines
Poll Archives
Newslinks
News
Dear Rediff
The States



Home > Election > PTI

Business, not Godhra, the issue in Vadodara

Amita Shah in Vadodara | December 04, 2002 11:30 IST

Amid all the hype over Godhra and talk of communal polarisation, contest in Vadodara promises to be on different issues.

The city, famous for its chemical industries and known as a cultural centre, has things other than religion on mind when it comes to how the voters will cast their franchise.

"One day of rioting costs 15 days of business," Pankaj Choksi, who runs a silver shop in the heart of the city, said.

Choksi is not a Muslim, and his house was not burnt during the riots. But he is angry with the BJP, like many around him in this industrial capital of Gujarat.

Hindutva may not sell much in this bustling city, with a population of around 1.5million of which around 1,35,000 are Muslims.

"The BJP has nothing else to sell. The Muslims have been driven to the wall. If the BJP comes to power, Gujarat can become a centre of terrorism as the minorities will feel unsafe," Jaspal Singh, Samata Party candidate from the city, said.

Singh, locked in a three-cornered contest in an election where the fight is mainly between BJP and Congress, also lashes out at the latter. "There is no difference between them. Congress whipped up a communal frenzy and the BJP is just following it."

With the Muslim voter going completely anti-BJP and several traders, irrespective of which community they belong to, disillusioned with the government, the Congress has a sure edge and is likely to give a tough fight to the BJP, which is harping on Godhra.

State minister and sitting MLA Bhupendra Lakhavala is the BJP's candidate, while Congress has fielded Chandrakant Srivastava.

"My business was affected by 30-40 per cent after the riots. Hindutva should not be an issue. In communal violence even the majority suffers," Manoj, a diamond merchant, said.

He feels the city, which is just two hours from Godhra, will give a hung verdict in the election. Choksi also feels this way and blames the politicians for the communal tension.

"Nobody paid for the losses we suffered during and after the violence. But those who got insurance built three-storeyed shops," he said angrily.

Violence had hit the city on February 27, with the worst incident taking place on March 1, when 14 people were burnt alive at Best Bakery in Hanuman Tekri.

Rajesh Sharma, who works in a teashop, said he believes in Hindutva and for him the riots after Godhra symbolise BJP's "empathy with Hindus".

Near his shop, Dhananjay Kansara, who sells articles on the footpath, wants peace. "Under the BJP, prices have gone up. The party has done no work," he said.

Mohammad Altaf, whose family has been running a shop in the city for the past 150 years, laments about unemployment and recession and the change in relations between communities since the violence.

In a Muslim-dominated area of the city, Yusuf Mohammad said he is unhappy with the Congress and the BJP and will go for the third option -- Samata Party.

Rahmat Biwi, who works as a domestic help, will vote for the "hand". She does not know the name of the candidates or the party.


The Complete CoverageAsk Our ReportersMail Us Your Response

(c) Copyright 2002 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

Share your comments



Article Tools

Email this Article

Printer-Friendly Format

Letter to the Editor




People Who Read This Also Read


'Mistrust in abundance'

VHP protests in Gujarat

Hemmed in by prejudices







HOME   
   NEWS   
   BUSINESS   
   CRICKET   
   SPORTS   
   MOVIES   
   NET GUIDE   
   SHOPPING   
   BLOGS  
   ASTROLOGY  
   MATCHMAKER  
Copyright © 2003 rediff.com India Limited. All Rights Reserved.