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Gujarat elections: Shailesh Mehta Sotta sticks to ‘daadhi topi’ line: Must oppress, threaten ‘anti-social elements’

With Uttar Pradesh CM and one of the party’s star campaigners, Yogi Adityanath, on the dais at a public meeting in Dabhoi, Sotta used the words “anti-social elements” to ostensibly refer to one community.

By: Express News Service | Vadodara |
Updated: December 9, 2017 4:33:11 am
gujarat elections Shailesh Sotta (right) with Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath on Friday. (Express photo by Bhupendra Rana)

Served a notice by the returning officer (RO) for his ostensibly inflammatory comments against the minority community at a campaign rally two days ago, Shailesh Mehta Sotta, the BJP candidate from Dabhoi, on Friday stuck to his stance over a video that shows him seeking to “reduce the numbers” of those in “dadhi (and) topi”, a patois for Muslim men.

With Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and one of the party’s star campaigners, Yogi Adityanath, on the dais at a public meeting in Dabhoi, Sotta on Friday used the words “anti-social elements” to ostensibly refer to one community — such elements, he said, “must be oppressed and threatened”.

Without naming the minority community, Sotta said, “For the last two days all national and international news channels have highlighted my comments on anti-social elements. They thought Shailesh Sotta will get scared of the limelight. But I maintain my stand: these anti-social elements must be oppressed and threatened.

“Those who do business with honesty and live respectfully are not a problem, but those who want to carry out trade and business by the use of force and fear must feel threatened. No one will trouble them if they stop anti-social elements present within them. But your people carry out do numbari (shady) business and harass citizens, and we should not speak against them? If we speak against them, we become communal?

“I am a Hindu by birth, Hindu by Karma, and I will remain a Hindu.” The RO’s notice gives Sotta a day’s time to “explain” his action, following which, the EC could proceed with action as per procedure.

Canvassing for Sotta, Adityanath continued his criticism of Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits. “I was surprised when I saw Rahul Gandhi visiting the Somanth temple. He is an MP from Amethi, but I have never seen him visit a temple there. His ancestors said that they were ‘accidental Hindus’ and now, this same person says he is a janeu-dhari (sacred thread-wearing) Hindu.”

Stating that going to temples or sporting a janeu does not define Hinduism. Adityanath said, “In our culture, we do not have a definition for being a Hindu. If you only respect Bhartiyata (Indianness), you are called a Hindu. No one can touch your faith. The first guarantee of Hindutva
is nationalism…”

Returning officer R R Parekh told The Indian Express that the notice was served on Sotta for his Wednesday speech, as the Election Commission is yet to view his speeches made on Thursday evening and Friday. Parekh said, “We have served him a notice with a day’s time to explain his action. Following his reply, we will decide what action should be initiated against him as per the procedure.”

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