With the campaigning for the first phase of the Assembly elections entering the home stretch, Union Minister Parsottam Rupala Sunday alleged that Opposition leaders wanted to create mass casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic by “spreading misinformation” about the vaccine and thereby, defame the BJP governments—both at the Centre and state.
The Minister warned that “such people” could go to any extent to seek votes during an election.
“Aa badhi mayaoye to deshni jantane gum karvani clipu ferviti ne evu bolta ke rasi leho to napusank thai hajo. Evi clipu ferviti. Evi…evi pravrutiyo aa deshni andar karo chho ane atyare mat mangva avo chho? (They had circulated (video) clips misleading people of the country saying if you got a shot of the vaccine, you would turn impotent. You have the gumption to come and seek votes after indulging in such kind of activities?” Rupala, the Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, said without naming anyone in particular.
He was addressing a BJP meeting as part of the party’s campaign at Bhatiya in Kalyanpur of Devbhumi Dwarka.
However, he claimed these leaders tried to get themselves jabbed ahead of others. “But then they realised that if they didn’t take the vaccine, (they’ll die and) their names would be struck off ration cards. So, they stood in the first row by waking up earlier than us and demanded that they and their uncles also be given shots of the vaccine,” the minister, who is a native of Amreli district, said.
He also criticised the Opposition for politicising the development of the Covid-19 vaccine and alleged that they insulted scientists. “But you failed to congratulate even the scientists who took the entire world aback by developing not one but two vaccines. Those vaccines were not developed by the BJP but by scientists of our country.”
The Dwarka Assembly seat, which comprises Dwarka and Kalyanpur talukas of the coastal Devbhumi Dwarka district, has been a BJP stronghold since 2007 when Pabubha Manek, the then sitting Congress MLA, switched over to the saffron party and won.
Manek, who hails from the Vagher community, has remained undefeated on this seat from 1990, winning Assembly elections for three times as an Independent, once as a Congress nominee and thrice on a BJP ticket. The BJP has given him a ticket to contest election this time, too—eighth time from this constituency.
The Congress has fielded Mulu Kandoriya, a leader from the Ahir community, who had fought against Manek in 2012 but had lost. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has given its ticket to Lakhman Nakum, a member of the Sathvara community that holds the second largest number of votes in the seat after Ahirs. Vaghers form the third largest group of voters.
Rupala alleged that the Congress has brought in AAP as a sacrificial “camel” to break BJP’s hold on the seat. In battles, he said, elephants don’t charge at spiked gates of forts and therefore, the invading armies would park camels in front of the gates so that the spikes are invisible to the elephants and they can break open the gates by pushing the camels against the spiked doors.
“Don’t entertain their pleas to vote for them due to caste considerations,” said Rupala.
With the polling scheduled on December 1, the campaigning for the 48 seats of Saurashtra, six of Kutch and 35 seats of the south Gujarat region ends Tuesday evening.