Amid protests by Rajput community, union minister Rupala files papers for Rajkot | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Amid protests by Rajput community, union minister Rupala files papers for Rajkot

Apr 16, 2024 07:59 PM IST

Union Minister Parshottam Rupala files nomination for Rajkot parliamentary constituency amid protests over his remarks on Kshatriyas.

Ahmedabad: Union Minister Parshottam Rupala, whose remarks on Kshatriyas sparked widespread protests by the Rajput community in Gujarat, filed his nomination papers as the BJP candidate for the Rajkot parliamentary constituency on Tuesday.

Union Minister Parshottam Rupala. (Photo credit/X)
Union Minister Parshottam Rupala. (Photo credit/X)

Former Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Kesridevsinh Jhala, and Gujarat cabinet minister Bhanuben Babariya accompanied Rupala as he submitted his nomination papers.

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Rupala held a roadshow near Race Course Ground in Rajkot following which he addressed a gathering, appealing for support. “I want to make an appeal to the Kshatriya community. Your support is also crucial in the interest of the nation. I request you to show a big heart and support BJP,” Rupala said.

Speaking at a small gathering in Rajkot on March 22, Rupala, a member of the Patidar community, made remarks that were perceived by members of the Rajput community as derogatory. Rupala suggested that former ‘maharajas’ succumbed to oppression from foreign rulers, including the British, and even went as far as to suggest that they married their daughters with the rulers.

Also Read: Rajput groups threaten to intensify agitation against Rupala’s candidature

As a result, members of the Rajput community have called on the BJP to withdraw Rupala’s candidature and launched protests in the state.

Rupala’s two apologies have not been able to sway the Kshatriya community or the descendants of former ruling families. Their demand for his removal as the party candidate, however, has been rejected by the BJP.

PT Jadeja, international president of the Akhil Gujarat Rajput Yuva Sangh, said if Rupala does not withdraw his nomination by April 19, the Rajput community will initiate the second phase of their agitation.

In a show of strength, the Rajputs on April 14 held a gathering at Ratanpar near Rajkot, expressing their opposition to Rupala’s candidature and threatening to escalate their agitation and confront the BJP; in fact, the community has threatened to intensify their protest across all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat and extend it to other regions of the country as well.

Also Read: How Rupala’s remarks triggered caste-based challenges for BJP in Gujarat

Karansinh Chavda, chairman of Rajput Sankalan Samiti which is co-ordinated the April 22 event said that their demand for removal of Rupala’s candidature was non-negotiable.

The BJP this time gave the ticket to Rupala instead of two-time MP Mohan Kundariya. The Congress has given the ticket to former MLA Paresh Dhanani for this Patidar-dominated seat, considered a stronghold of the BJP since late 1980s.

Key Rajput leaders held a meeting with Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, the state’s home minister Harsh Sanghavi and Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil at the CM’s residence in Gandhinagar on Monday night.

A BJP party official said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch his campaign for Gujarat after April 22, the last date for withdrawal of candidature. The party leaders are hopeful that an amicable solution to the issue will be found out before then. Gujarat BJP chief Patil told media persons on Monday that talks were on with the Rajput community leaders and a solution is likely to be worked out soon.

The elections for all the 26 Lok Sabha seats of Gujarat will be held on May 7.

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