A day after a prominent Bharatiya Janata Party worker was arrested from the central election office of the saffron party for allegedly threatening a city-based industrialist and seizing control of his property, BJP on Monday distributed audio-CDs containing an election speech purportedly made by Jayanti Kalariya and endorsing candidature of Kandhal Jadeja during the Lok Sahba elections early this year.
BJP leaders said Kalariya, who is fighting the bypoll as Congress candidate, had no right to raise the issue of goondaism as he himself had supported Kandhal, an MLA who is facing multiple criminal cases.
Minister of State for Rural Development, Jayanti Kavadiya and Rajkot BJP MP Mohan Kundariya held a press conference on Monday morning and distributed audio CDs among media persons. The CD contains excerpts from the speech Kalariya had allegedly made in a village of Gondal taluka in Rajkot district while campaigning for NCP-Congress candidate Kandhal Jadeja in April this year, Kavadiya told the press conference.
The release of the CD marks another high drama in the intensive campaigning and muck-raking for October 15 bypoll. Kalariya, who had served as a minister in the state government in 1980s, has made the alleged “goondaism of BJP” his poll plank. Curiously, an election office of Congress was allegedly torched by some unidentified men in Gandhigram area of the city on Saturday.
This was followed by BJP worker Jaipalsinh Jadeja’s arrest by Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) of Rajkot city police from the central election office of the BJP on Akshar Marg in the city on Sunday. Then known as Rajkot-II assembly seat, it was from here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had contested his first election in 2002. The bypoll was warranted after BJP veteran Vajua Vala resigned in August to become governor of Karnataka.
In the 24-second audio, Kalariya is heard saying: “Do not trust others. If you did, you will come to regret it in the future. Kandhalbhai Jadeja has come here to drive Vitthalbhai (Radadiya) away. What we wanted has now been prescribed by the doctor. Only he can do the job. And do not complain later. If he could not drive (Radadiya) away, you will always be in trouble.”
Congress and NCP had fought the Porbandar Lok Sabha seat in alliance and had fielded sitting NCP MLA from Kutiyana, Kandhal as their joint candidate. Kandhal, son of late godmother Santokben Jadeja of Porbandar, is facing nine criminal cases, majority of them relating to possessing illegal arms. But at the same time, BJP leader Radadiya, who eventually won the Porbandar seat, has also 10 police cases registered against his name.
“It was during Congress rule that thugs knew no bounds. Cities like Surat, Ahmedabad and Kutch district had become infamous for namses like gangsters Ahmed Surati, Laitf and Ibla Sheikh respectively. It was during Congress rule that its own leaders from Saurashtra, Popat Sorathiya and Vallabh Patel were murdered. Therefore, Congress has no right to say that goons have gone out of control. Kalariya himself had sought votes for Kandhal,” the minister said.
Congress MLA Sorathiya was shot dead in August 1986 in Gondal while then health minister of the state, Vallabh Patel was stabbed to death in Padadhari taluka of Rajkot district in 1989.
Kundariya conceded Radadiya was also facing cases. “But he has been working people and therefore people have elected him as Independent, as Congress candidate in the past and now as BJP candidate. When names of our MLAs cropeed up in murder cases, we had taken out rallies in protest of our own government. Therefore, we are not shielding anybody. Had we wanted to shield somebody, Jaipalsinh would not have been arrested from our office,” said the MP.
Incidentally, Kanti Amrutiya and Jayrajsinh Jadeja, BJP MLAs from Morbi and Gondal respectively, have faced trial for murders of local BJP leaders Prakash Raviya and Bhavin Shingalain in the past but both have been acquitted.
The DCB had picked up Jaipalsinh form BJP office after city-based industrialist Govind Patel filed a complaint alleging the BJP worker and his alleged boss Bali Dangar issued him death threats and took possession his property worth more than Rs 6 crore, including car, flats and land. Jaipalsinh’s wife Kirtiba is president of BJP-ruled Kotda Sangani taluka panchayat in Rajkot district.