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Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 07, 2012
Many Gujarat Youth Congress leaders have raised the banner of revolt against the party over its decision to field the son of a former BJP minister, who was among the 62 people named by Zakia Jafri in a 2002 anti-Muslim riots case.

Rajendrasinh Chavda, the party candidate from Himmatnagar constituency in Sabarkantha district, is the son of Ranjitsinh Chavda.

Chavda was the minister of state for cottage industries in the Narendra Modi government in 2002.

Ranjitsinh, who represented the Himmatnagar assembly constituency back then, was among the 62 people named by Zakia, widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri.

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The MP was murdered along with 68 others in Gulberg society on February 28, 2002, soon after the riots broke out.

The Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team (SIT) had, however, concluded that there was insufficient evidence to proceed against those named by Zakia. The apex court then referred the matter to a trial court in Ahmedabad.

In their communication to the central leadership, the Youth Congress leaders claimed that Rajendrasinh alias Raju was still not a primary member of the Congress party.

"Ranjitsinh Chavda and his son actively participated in the 2002 riots against the minority community. He misused his powers as a minister and blindly supported Narendra Modi's intentions and beliefs," said a Gujarat Youth Congress leader.

Ever since the Congress announced its first list of 52 candidates, the party has been grappling with rebellion and largescale exodus to the BJP.

The party leadership is struggling to keep its flock together in the run up to the two-phased elections - December 13 and 17 - to the assembly. The party was forced to withdraw its second list of 46 candidates within hours of its release, fearing rebellion by its cadre.