Gujarat election: PM Modi, Cong and AAP can't campaign in this village. Why?
The BJP - which faces challenges from the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party - has unleashed a barrage of high-profile campaigners in Gujarat
A village in poll-bound Gujarat's Rajkot district has framed its own rules regarding campaigning by political parties within its boundaries - there can be none - and voting - it is compulsory and a ₹51 fine will be levied if those eligible to vote do not exercise their franchise. The village of Raj Samadhiyala is 21 km from the district headquarters and these and other rules have reportedly been followed since 1983, according to news agency ANI.
These rules gain prominence now because the state votes for a new government next month, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party eager (and widely expected) to retain control of prime minister Narendra Modi's home state for an eighth consecutive term.
The BJP - which faces challenges from the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party - has unleashed a barrage of high-profile campaigners in Gujarat, including the prime minister, union home minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
But none, at least according to the village's rule, can campaign in Raj Samadhiyala.
Meanwhile, there are rules not just for election campaigns and voting but also those the village claims are meant to ensure that all residents live in an 'ideal manner'.
'Fine to be imposed on violation of following rules' - a warning on a noticeboard. All these rules have been framed and are implemented by the village's development committee.
The rules include refraining from casteist action or thought, not polluting the air, water or ground, taking care of one's parents, and mandatory primary education for children.
Violations will invite interventions from a 'lok adalat', or 'people's court.
Other rules include a ban on throwing garbage in public places, consuming gutka (chewing tobacco) and alcohol, damaging or cutting trees, and abusing anyone in public.
Fines range from ₹51 to ₹500 depending on the rule broken.
Many have lauded the village's rules, declaring the approach resembles that of Mahatma Gandhi, who emphasised a 'bottom-up' development approach in which changes in an individual are meant to initiate systemic change.