Vadodara: BJP candidate and Vadodara corporator Shailesh Mehta ‘Sotta’ contesting for Dabhoi in Gujarat Assembly polls will be served with notice today for making provocative communal statements while addressing the campaign speech on Wednesday night.
The BJP candidate reportedly said “if someone with dadhi-topi is among the people here, forgive me but their number here has to reduce” because “there should be no population of Dubai” in Dabhoi adding that “he will not donate a single paisa to a masjid and madrasa” if elected.
He was served notice form the election committee after his communal speech went viral on social media.
A home to nearly 38 percent Muslims, Shailesh contesting from Dabhoi had boldly made the statement to reduce the Muslim Population.
While addressing his meeting, Sotta said: “If someone with dadhi-topi is among the people here, forgive me but their number here has to reduce (Koi topi dadhi vala ahiya betha hoy to maaf karjo pan e vastu ahiya gha tadvani jarur che). We have to see there should be no population of Dubai here (Dabhoi). I want to assure you that I will not donate a single paisa to a masjid and madrasa.”
He also added that people advised him not to make any communal statements during his speech but he took a firm stand of his opinions by saying he had to speak for his “own qaum” (own community). “People warned me against speaking about this as it will create a controversy, but if 90 per cent people are with me, why should I stop speaking because of the 10 per cent? I was born in this qaum and it is my right to speak about my own qaum. If I cannot do that, then what is the point of contesting polls.”
Warning people indulging into “rioting” he said, “Now those who are involved in chamakalas (rioting) must stop their activities, otherwise they will be given a befitting reply (eent no jawab patthar thi madse).”
Stating that he learned from people that anti-social elements fear him and he is contesting to “create fear” in the anti-social minds, he said, “I heard that when my name was announced as a candidate here, these anti-social elements held a meeting and said they fear me. It is good. Because I am here to create fear among anti-social elements and criminals. I am not here to be scared. They must not dare to speak or look me in the eye. They should be ready to face the consequences. I am declaring this in public.”
District Election Officer P Bharati speaking on Sotta’s communal speech said the Returning Officer was asked to serve notice to him as there was “prima facie” of violation of misconduct.
She said, “We have seen the video and it is a serious act of violation of the Model Code of Conduct.”
She added that the Election officers are in the process of preparing a report on Sotta’s public meeting and that the Returning Officer will serve notice to Sotta on Friday.
She said Soota will be charged under with Section 125 of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 which prohibits “promoting enmity between classes in connection with election”.
The Act states, “Any person who in connection with an election under this Act promotes or attempts to promote on grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language, feelings of enmity or hatred, between different classes of the citizens of India shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”
Sotta, when contacted by the Indian Express, replied he was just referring to the anti-social elements and did not address any particular community. “I was referring to anti-social elements who have been running their activities by threatening people in that area (Dabhoi). Some of these anti-social elements and criminals, who have been detained by police, commented that they face a threat because of me. I had to answer them. And I stand by what I say. Because I am a threat to anti-social elements, innocent people can live happily,” he said.