At a time when controversy is raging on Muslims being asked to wear skull caps to attend BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's public rallies, an RTI query has revealed that Gujarat government had purchased skull caps worth Rs 4,800 during Modi's Sadbhavana mission.
These skull caps were purchased for the Navsari leg of Modi's Sadbhavana mission in 2011. One Kalu Odedara had filed an RTI application seeking details on whether public money was spent to buy skull caps to be distributed among those who visited the CM in the day-long Sadbhavna fast at Navsari, which has a significant Muslim population.
The information officer at the Navsari district collector's office, RR Gamit, stated in the response that Rs 4,800 was spent on buying skull caps for Modi's mission.
In 2011, Modi had observed a three-day Sadbhavna fast after he was given a clean chit in the Gulbarg society massacre case by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT. Subsequently, he had also visited each district where he held one-day fasts amid thousands of supporters and visitors.
Modi had described his Sadbhavna mission as an attempt to promote communal harmony in the state. He had also announced financial packages - worth Rs 39,769 crore - for each district. RTI replies from the districts, however, revealed that no district actually received any financial assistance as announced by the CM during the fast.
"We had sought details from each district collector regarding the special financial package the CM had announced for their respective districts. But it turned out that the announcements were only on paper," said Gordhan Zadaphia, a leader of Gujarat Parivartan Party founded by former chief minister Keshubhai Patel.